Beijing is home to one of the largest IKEA furniture stores in the world–the size of a small nation actually. But for Beijingers, it's much more than a furniture store. It's a destination, especially on a hot summer weekend. The Los Angeles Times just ran a great article about the fun and activities:
Welcome to IKEA Beijing, where the atmosphere is more theme park than store. When the Swedish furniture giant first opened here in 1999, it hoped
locals would embrace its European brand of minimalism. A decade later,
Beijingers have done just that. Perhaps too much. Every weekend, thousands of looky-loos pour into the massive showroom
to use the displays. Some hop into bed, slide under the covers and
sneak a nap; others bring cameras and pose with the decor. Families
while away the afternoon in the store for no other reason than to enjoy
the air conditioning. Visitors can't seem to resist novelties most Americans take for
granted, such as free soda refills and ample seating. They also like
the laid-back staffers who don't mind when a child jumps on a couch. Purchasing anything at Yi Jia, as the store is called here, can seem like an afterthought.
It's really quite a sight. I had my own IKEA adventure last year and wrote about in a post titled "Rats in a Maze."