Things to do in Beijing

Visiting Beijing is an immersive experience. The city has been the political, cultural, and educational center of the country for more than 3,000 yea... Read More

Visiting Beijing is an immersive experience. The city has been the political, cultural, and educational center of the country for more than 3,000 years, with grand palaces, imperial gardens, lakes, temples, and institutions that show it.

Though a trip to Beijing is indeed incomplete without excursions to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, the beauty of the city lies in its details: peeling hutong doorways, the brilliant yellow of a royal temple, the crisp of a fresh shaobing on a November morning.

Beijing is a sprawling place. Give yourself plenty of time to get lost when you explore fun things to do, and you’ll be rewarded with a different experience at every turn.

If you’re an early riser, visit Jingshan Park first thing in the morning, where, from the pavilion at the top, there’s sweeping views of the Forbidden City and Beihai Park. A less restful but exciting Beijing activity awaits you in the Silk Market, with buzzing carts and shops. No Beijing sightseeing would be complete without the Forbidden City. Visit the grand 16th-century palace early, since it takes at least three hours to get around.

Temple of Heaven Park is a Confucian style urban landscape, equally worthy of a visit, while Tiananmen Square is the world’s largest public square, surrounded by Soviet-style buildings, and serves as a reminder of China’s turmoil and political history. It’s not a place to sit and relax, but it is certainly a site not to be missed by any Beijing visitor.

Summer Palace is a marvel of temples, gardens, bridges, and pavilions to explore. There are also riverside walkways, shops and restaurants. The 798 Arts District is a popular artist hangout with cafes lining the streets. Beijing is also the best departure point to see the Great Wall of China, easily done as a half-day trip.

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  • 798 Art District

    Though some would say 798 Art District has become too commercial, art lovers shouldn't miss this complex of former munitions factories that was... Read More

  • Beihai Park

    Once an imperial park, Beihai ("North Sea") was built to showcase the best in Chinese gardening traditions. There are pavilions, canals, temples, a... Read More

  • Black Sesame Kitchen

    This unique restaurant and culinary school offers cooking classes, tea workshops, and "communal dinners," where guests are encouraged to dine with... Read More

  • Confucius Temple and Imperial College

    The Confucius Temple and adjacent Imperial College can be visited together with a through ticket. The latter was the highest center of learning during... Read More

  • Cuandixia Village

    Founded during the Ming Dynasty by members of the Han clan from Shanxi Province, Cuandixia is a village on a hill with more than 500 beautifully... Read More

  • Donghuamen Night Market

    Wangfujing's infamous night market is worth visiting for the photo ops alone. Rows of stalls are replete with edible creepy crawlies: scorpions,... Read More

  • Forbidden City

    Beijing is synonymous with the Forbidden City – once the political, religious, cultural as well as geographical center of the city. The complex is made... Read More

  • Jingshan Park

    There's nothing like a morning or sunset visit to Jingshan, an imperial park once attached to the Forbidden City. The dominant feature is the central... Read More

  • Nanluoguxiang

    Sandwiched between Di’anmen E St. and Gulou E St., Nanluoguxiang is a reconstructed hutong famous for its many shops, bars, cafes, and street snacks.... Read More

  • Qianmen and Dashilar

    Qianmen refers to both the gate that once guarded the southern end of the imperial Inner City and the nearby pedestrian street that is now a major... Read More

  • Shichahai

    This historic scenic area encompasses three interconnected former imperial lakes: Houhai, Qianhai, and Xihai. From ice skating on the lake in winter to... Read More

  • Temple of Heaven

    This complex of religious buildings southeast of the Forbidden City received emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual harvest ceremonies. The... Read More

  • The Great Wall at Mutianyu

    Avoid the crowds at Badaling and head to Mutianyu, a restored section of the Great Wall about a mile and a half long. Its crenelated parapet and smooth,... Read More

  • Wudaoying Hutong

    This hip hutong just west of Yonghegong Lama Temple is home to trendy vintage boutiques, restaurants, cafes, bars, and music venues. Popular venues... Read More

  • Yiheyuan (Summer Palace)

    Not to be confused with the Old Summer Palace, Yiheyuan is a vast complex of lakes, gardens, and palaces centered around Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake... Read More

  • Yonghegong Lama Temple

    Yonghegong was originally a residence for eunuchs before half of the complex was converted into a Tibetan Buddhist lamasery in 1722. The centerpiece of... Read More

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