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[China-tours]Taking advantage of Beijing s Spring Festival exodus |Travel |[Page:1]

With millions of people leaving the city and going home during the Spring Festival, Beijing is at the beginning of an annual phenomenon - empty streets and deserted shops.
Fortunately, for those left in the capital over the holiday, this means fewer crowds and smaller queues at some of the city's most packed attractions.
Here are a few suggestions of places to take advantage of while the city takes a break.
Tian'anmen Square
During the Spring Festival though, Tian'anmen Square thins out and visitors will find photo opportunities aplenty - this is a big change from the normal push-and-pull experience.
Grab a kite or a camera and head down to the city center to appreciate the Square in a calm moment.
Sanlitun's Apple store
Notorious for quarrelsome queues that follow the entire perimeter of the shop and out the door, the Apple store in The Village rarely has a sleepy moment.
That is until now. Take your precious Ipod or an unwanted Christmas present and head down to the shopping center for a check-up.
Alternatively, for anyone not wanting to spend their holiday cash so casually, hop on the often-overcrowded demos and check your e-mail for free.
Beijing Aquarium
Nowhere in Beijing has an attraction ever felt more packed than at the Beijing Aquarium.
Normally overloaded with screaming kids, darting like sardines around adult ankles, the Spring Festival alters the entire experience. Visitors will discover a serene atmosphere, with large tanks of blue water that are filled with gliding, quiet animals.
For families staying in Beijing over the Lunar New Year, it is a perfect moment to make a group outing.
Parents should note though that while the Beijing Aquarium is closing on the actual holiday, Feb 2, it will reopen on Feb 3.
Wangfujing Street
With an average 600,000 people pounding the pavement on this busy shopping street every day, visitors are hard-pressed to find a bit of personal space when cruising one of Beijing's most notable commercial streets.
Part of the charm of the street is the busy atmosphere, so first-time tourists might not be overly taken with its quieter state.
But those of us who have been here a while will certainly appreciate the chance to float between the cultural hodgepodge of shops and take advantage of its worldly architecture.
In a city where visiting the famous Scandinavian furniture store is considered a "weekend activity" - thousands of confused souls pondering their many choices can turn the shop into something resembling an ants nest - shopping at Beijing's Ikea can put some people into hysterics.
Why not take advantage of the mass migration and deck out your home for the New Year in record-breaking time.
There is also a wide range of available showroom beds for those wanting to steal a snooze.
(China Daily 01/26/2011)
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