Beijing Travel Guide

While the traditional boat that guests board may be called a “junk,” the experience is far from it on this staffed all-night cruise.

Located northwest of the city, this district is where many of the city’s universities are located. It’s also home to the Beijing Zoo (with its ever-popular giant pandas) and the glorious Summer Palace.

A 12-seat Japanese whiskey bar stocked with a selection of rare vanilla- and cherry-scented whiskeys.

Kite flying is a hugely popular pastime in Beijing: visit Tiananmen Square on a breezy day and you’ll see scores of people—tots, teens, old-timers—watching their colorful kites flutter and bob over Chairman Mao’s tomb.

Treasures spotted here recently: a Ming dynasty bed; pharmacy cabinets smelling of medicinal herbs. Ships internationally.

Check out the Scandinavian-Chinese designs at this Sun City shop.

A high-end restaurant, entertainment, and cultural development set within the former American Embassy compound.

It isn't often that a building defines a city, and even becomes its icon, but that seems destined to be the case of Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron's National Stadium in Beijing, the primary site of the 2008 summer Olympic games.

Pick up small comforts at this duty-free foodstuffs and sundries shop. Thirsty? Try China’s popular pu’erh tea ($10) or a bottle of fiery Moutai, a fermented sorghum liquor from Guizhou, in southwest China ($125). Peckish?

The historical and geographical heart of Beijing, this district contains the Forbidden City and is crisscrossed by scores of atmospheric hutongs. Many of Beijing’s five-star hotels are located here; so is Wangfujing, the city’s most up-market shopping zone.

If you’re new to Beijing, forgot your own guidebook, and no one is meeting you, consider picking up the best (if overpriced) guidebook in stock, Lonely Planet China ($52, but purchase in the States beforehand for $31.99). Forgo the cheap maps the store stocks for lack of details.

Big, riotous, and open around the clock, this lacquer-walled music lounge is hugely popular with the after-work crowd.

It doesn’t have a street address—which is only fitting for a place that was once considered the center of the universe.