I've come to the conclusion that I really like Beijing. The people are hard-working and earnest. Most academic types are very friendly to speaking to English-speakers and like to practice. No one is boorish or abrasive, and somehow I haven't met anyone who seems stuck up. People are not very outgoing, but they just go about their business and don't get in each other's way. They is nothing embarrasing about singing to yourself while walking or biking, and no one is going to ostracize you if you wear the same shirt for a week. They'll probably even call you practical.
The food is awesome (apart from the lack of cheese) and cheap. Lots of fresh vegetable and noodle and plenty of dumplings. The city is currently an intriguing mix of ancient and modern (though that will change. alas)