I've been there before and posted more dramatic pictures, but given its an iconic landmark in the city, there's usually something to see.
At one end is Mao's mausoleum and you can see him lying like a waxwork from 8-noon every weekday,(I've never been). At the other end is his giant portrait staring out over the square at the entrance to the Forbidden City.
The place has a strong army and police presence with access guarded by metal detectors and security guards.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the "liberation" of Tibet. The TV and papers were full of stories of happy Tibetans reflecting on the glorious achievements of the past 5 decades.
Not a mention of the Dali Lama.
There was a clue however that not everyone bought into this harmonious view of history.
Tibetan monks have taken to setting themselves on fire in protest of Chinese occupation. Soldiers and security guys are clearly determined to ensure Mao's gaze isn't sullied by such acts.
A sobering sign that all is not always as it seems.
OK, enough politics.
On my last evening I came across something completely unexpected.
In the Sanlitun district there was a Salsa bar packed with Chinese dancing to a Cuban band. Some of them were as good as you could see anywhere.