Beijing is a dynamic and amazing city, and no district is more full of life and the future of Beijing than Hai Dian. That's because this is the university district, home to a half dozen universities, museums, parks and some of the city's largest businesses.
See & Do
Haidian District has a lot to see and do, but nothing more impressive than the Summer Palace and the even more astonishing old Summer Palace. You could sneak by the Olympic Village for a peek at China's 2008 debut to the world as a modern nation. Parks like the botanical gardens and zoo also attract crowds year round, and the Ming Tombs aren't far away.
Haidian has a plethora of great restaurants that cater to students, but it's more than that too. Head to Pyro Pizza for cheap, student grub or Blu Lobster for a fancier feast. DingDing Xiang is a popular hotpot option that won't break the bank. Finally, for great authentic food from Kashgar, try Xiyu Shifu. Or else any of the amazing street food options.
Propaganda is the most popular nightclub for students in Haidian, and it comes with a reputation for cheap (possibly fake) booze and of course tons of kids screaming and dancing. But a nicer option for entertainment might be the National Center for Performing Arts. Of course, the universities put on a lot of plays and hold live musical performances on weekends.
Haidian doesn't have many major hotels, but nearby you'll find the InterContinental Beijing Financial Street, a close option that is also classy and affordable. Near the universities you'll find smaller, ma and pa motels and home-stays and of course a few Chinese-style motels near the major attractions that cater to lost tourists. Hai Dian also has an array of smaller hotels around the universities, but those are not as Western friendly.
Shopping isn't the primary activity out in Haidian, but you can find great deals on electronics at zhongguancun's The Gate Mall. The mall sells all manner of merchandise, but the entire surrounding area focuses on all things electronic, including fakes and knock offs. Buyer's beware that there are no returns on most items.