As with many parks in Beijing, this is a great place to visit early in the morning to see the locals doing their thing (tai chi, dancing, singing, shuttlecock hacky-sack, etc.) This park is particularly good since the large lake helps to make it feel cool as the temperatures soar. And there is far more to see than just the locals. The nine-dragon screen is very impressive and much more accessible than the one in the Palace Museum. The temples and goldfish are also noteworthy. Look for a blue sky day (after a rain or strong wind) if you want decent photos of the White Dagoba.
If you want to circumnavigate the lake without paying twice, you will need to enter by one of the south entrances; if you come in from the north, you have to exit one of the south entrances then pay to get back in the other one (bizarre!). [Admission fee is only 10 RMB so maybe that's also viable.] Unfortunately, there is no subway station very close to the south entrances. Xisi station (line 4) works but is a fair hike.
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