Sanlitun (Chinese: 三里屯; pinyin: Sānlǐtún; literally: 'three li village') is an area of the Chaoyang District, Beijing containing many bars, restaurants, and stores. It is a popular destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
The area has been under almost constant regeneration since the late 20th century as part of a citywide project of economic regrowth. It currently houses many bars and clubs popular with both locals and foreigners as well as international brand-name stores such as Uniqlo, Apple Inc. and Adidas. It is notable for housing the largest Adidas store in the world.
Prior to 1949, the Beijing Legation Quarter was the center of diplomatic activity in the capital. After the foundation of the People's Republic of China, the government wanted to move the diplomatic district outside the inner city. Sanlitun was chosen as the area where foreign legations and embassies were to be reallocated in the late 1950s. The area was called Sanlitun to designate its location from Dongzhimen gate (东直门), with tun meaning 'locality' and san li meanings 'three li' (a li is 0.5 km), so that the name means "locality 1.5 km away (from Dongzhimen Gate)".
Sanlitun began to grow when, along with the economic reforms of the late 1970s and early 1980s, bars serving expatriates and later locals began to open. International hotels introduced the first bars, but in the 1990s, standalone establishments appeared. Accounts differ over which was the first bar in Sanlitun, with one author crediting the Cat Cafe in 1995 while another names Frank's Place, which opened in 1990.
Sanlitun saw significant new construction as part of preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics. In April 2008, as part of an ongoing operation to clean up the city, a major drug bust occurred in Sanlitun and many arrests were made. A total of four bars and clubs were effectively closed, including a notorious bar known as Pure Girl for its cheap alcohol and availability of drugs, both its bartender and manager were executed for distribution of drugs. However, it has since reopened a year later with new management. The police operation was widely criticized for its violence and absence of proper due process. A number of drug dealers as well as a barman are believed to have received the death penalty as a result of this operation.
The Uniqlo in Taikoo Li Sanlitun gained international attention after it was the site of a July 2015 sex tape that was filmed inside one of the store's fitting rooms. Uniqlo denied any involvement in the video.
On 25 December 2015, following the November 2015 Paris attacks by ISIS, several foreign embassies in Beijing warned of possible threats against Westerners in the Sanlitun shopping district on or around Christmas Day, urging their citizens to "exercise heightened vigilance."
- Taikoo Li Sanlitun (Chinese: 三里屯太古里)
- Sanlitun SOHO (Chinese: 三里屯 SOHO)
- Topwin Center (Chinese: 通盈中心)
- Pacific Century Place (Chinese: 盈科中心)
- Hongjie Mansion (Chinese: 中国红街)
- Nali Patio (Chinese: 那里花园) is a multistory Mediterranean-style building built around the 2008 Olympics. It houses many bars and restaurants.
- Sanlitun Bar Street (Chinese: 三里屯酒吧街) houses over 80 bars and tea bars on the side of Sanlitun Rd.
- 3.3 Mansion (Chinese: 3.3大厦)
- Sanlian Taofen Bookstore is a 24-hour bookstore opened in 2018. It not only sells books and souvenirs but also provides drinks for people to stay and to work.
- Shiba Inu café is a café famous for having dogs that people can play and take picture with.
- The Bookworm is a café-bookstore offering titles in English. It also provides meals and holds reading-related events.
- Take No.3, No.110, No.113, No.115, No.117, No.118, No.120 to Workers' Stadium Station
- Take No.113, No.115, No.431, No.701, No.16, No.34 to Sanlitun Station
- Take No.113, No.115, No.117, No.431, No.701, No.16 to Changhongqiao West Station
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