Beijing is a fascinating place, but not everyone will feel an instant connection with its cultural heritage. Rather than rely on tech gadgets to entertain your youngest traveling companions, make the Three Stones Kite store your first family outing in the Chinese capital. This kaleidoscopic mini emporium located near the Forbidden City—15 minutes by car from the Conrad—introduces your kids to China’s history through kite-making, an art which dates to at least the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). Your light and easy-to-pack purchase will come to great use at Beijing’s all-star attractions, including the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, and the Summer Palace. Owner Liu Bin learned to hand-paint silk and paper kites on bamboo frames from his grandfather, who in turn had been taught by his father, a kite-maker to the Qing court. We always feel spoiled by the selection here, from eagles and wide-eyed owls on paper (approx RMB150) to elegant dragonflies and the goldfish locals believe bring good luck. Antsy to watch your new toy soar skyward? Tuanjiehu Park offers 20-plus car-free acres. But do avoid summer weekends when all of Beijing seems to come here to cool off and swim.
You’ll find Three Stones Kite near the corner of Di’anmen West Street and Di’anmen Inner Street. Tuanjiehu Park is a short walk from the Conrad Beijing and can be accessed by crossing East 3rd Ring Road North and heading along Tuanjiehu Nanli.
THREE STONES KITE: 25A Dianmen Xidajie Xicheng; 86-(0)10-8404-4505; cnkites.com
TUANIJEHU PARK: 16 Tuanjiehu Nanli; 86-(0)10-8597-4677