A large fold-out map of the city is vital. There is a wide variety available at all transport connections and from street vendors, hotels and bookshops. The best map to look out for, labelled in English and Chinese, and with bus routes, sights and hotels marked, is the Beijing Tour Map . In general, the tourist maps, available in large hotels and printed inside tourist magazines, don't go into enough detail. The free map handed out by CITS offices also isn't much use, but it does have good magnified sections showing the shopping areas, with many of the individual shops marked. Fully comprehensive A-Z map books are available from bookshops and street vendors outside Beijing Zhan subway stop, but only in Chinese.
Here, as elsewhere in China, there are no actual tourist information offices but there are a number of English-language publications which will help you get the best out of the city. The China Daily (￥0.8), available from the Friendship Store, the Foreign Language Bookstore or the bigger hotels, has a listings section detailing cultural events. The rest of the paper is news and propaganda written in turgid prose, though the headlines occasionally have an unintentional deadpan humour to them. Beijing This Month covers the same ground, with light features aimed at tourists. You can also pick up glossy broadsheets at the expensive hotels, and some also have copies of the annual pocketbook, Beijing: The Official Guide lying around (try the New Otani), which contains a comprehensive listings section. You'll also find it in the Friendship Store, but you'll have to pay for it here (￥40).
Much more useful, though, are the free magazines aimed at the large expat community, which contain up-to-date and fairly comprehensive entertainment and restaurant listings. City Edition and Metro are monthlies aimed at the more upmarket sections of the foreign community, but by far the most useful publication, definitely worth looking out for, is the irreverent and informative weekly Beijing Scene . The giant listings section includes club nights, art happenings and the more underground gigs, with addresses written in pinyin and Chinese. The classifieds have ads for housing and jobs, as well as a cross-cultural personals column and great astrology and language sections. You can pick up copies of all three magazines in most bars and other expat hang-outs. Anyone coming here to live should get hold of the fat Beijing Guidebook by Middle Kingdom Press, which includes information on finding housing and doing business.
The telephone code for Beijing is tel 010.