National Stadium (Bird’s Nest)
The jewel in China’s Olympic crown, the affectionately dubbed Bird’s Nest (aka National Stadium) is a favorite site for Chinese tourists. For RMB 50 you can take a gander inside and even stand on the podium imagining thousands of adoring fans. At a cost of USD 423 million, the Bird’s Nest is 258,000sqm and holds 91,000 people. It was designed by Swiss architectural firm Herzog and de Meuron in consultation with China’s iconic and contrarian artist, Ai Wei Wei. Since the Olympics the space has been hard to fill but lauded Chinese director Zhang Yimou, who created the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, recently held a lavish production of Turandot here to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.