Beijing Travel Guide

China  
Credit

Courtesy of Steve Peterson Photography/Getty Images

Best Things To Do in Beijing

The close proximity of Beijing's top attractions makes touring this massive city very manageable. First, your impulse will be to head to Tiananmen Square, which hosts the Forbidden City, the National Museum of China, and several other monuments. From there, you can retreat from the busy plaza to the lush green spaces of Beihai Park or the Summer Palace. You'll also want to pay a visit to the Dashanzi Art District and Nanluoguxiang neighborhood for some urban adventures, like souvenir-hunting and gallery-hopping. When you've exhausted Beijing's offerings, make the pilgrimage to the Great Wall

How we rank Things to Do
  • #1
    Things to do in Beijing
    View all Photos
    #1 in Beijing
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Up there withTimes Square,Red Square, andSt. Peter's Square, Tiananmen Square is among the world's most famous public spaces. Almost anyone can recognize the Gate of Heavenly Peace—emblazoned with a portrait of Chairman Mao—as a symbol of Beijing. OneTripAdvisoruser comments, "It feels like you already know this place when you arrive.

    ...Read More »
  • #2
    The Great Wall of China
    View all Photos
    #2 in Beijing
    Hiking, Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Just north of Beijing, you'll find one of the most famous monuments in the world—the Great Wall of China. Although it's unlikely you'll see the whole thing (after all, it measures about 5,500 miles long), you should aim to experience a portion of it. That begs the question: Which section?

    ...Read More »
  • #3
    Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)
    View all Photos
    #3 in Beijing
    Castles/Palaces, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    When the bustle of Beijing becomes too much for you, do as the emperors would do and retreat to the Summer Palace. Located in the northwest suburbs, this oasis—literally, an oasis with serene Kunming Lake—hosts several attractions. Nearly every gate, pavilion, hall, and tower has a unique history and merits

    ...Read More »
  • #4
    Forbidden City (Imperial Palace)
    View all Photos
    #4 in Beijing
    Castles/Palaces, Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces, Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Operating under the official title of "The Palace Museum," the Forbidden City (also known as the Imperial Palace) has been a place of wonder and mystery for over 500 years. This massive complex sits on the northern edge ofTiananmen Squareat the epicenter of Beijing. Beyond its towering fortifications, you'll find

    ...Read More »
  • #5
    Beihai Park (Beihai Gongyuan)
    View all Photos
    #5 in Beijing
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    After the concrete jungles ofTiananmen Squareand theForbidden City, head to nearby Beihai Park for a breath of fresh air. Whether you're under a tree overlooking the lake or in an ancient pagoda, you'll see why this green space has been a preserved sanctuary for over a thousand years. Over time,

    ...Read More »
  • #6
    Nanluoguxiang
    View all Photos
    #6 in Beijing
    Sightseeing, Tours, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    North of theForbidden City, this neighborhood (also called a "hutong") packs so much character into its narrow streets. Nanlouguxiang continually surprises you with exciting discoveries in boutique shops and tantalizing flavors from unassuming vendors. When you need a shopping break, visit the Bell and Drum Towers that also reside here.

    ...Read More »
  • #7
    Dashanzi Art District and 798 Space
    View all Photos
    #7 in Beijing
    Cafes, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Cafes, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Fact: The arts are booming in Beijing. You only need to tour the Dashanzi Art District to witness this creative surge. The epicenter of this artistic explosion is 798 Space (also known as Factory 798), an old electronics manufacturing site and warehouse. Originally designed by East Germans in the 1950s,

    ...Read More »
  • #8
    Lama Temple (Yonghegong)
    View all Photos
    #8 in Beijing
    Churches/Religious Sites
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Originally an imperial residence, this "lamasery" (a monastery for Lamaist monks) features decadent gateways and intricate artwork. You'll immediate notice the rigid symmetry of the complex, which derives from the imperial architectural style. As the seat of Tibetan Buddhism in Beijing, you'll see this temple of prayer is still used

    ...Read More »
  • #9
    Olympic Park
    View all Photos
    #9 in Beijing
    Monuments and Memorials, Parks and Gardens, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Parks and Gardens, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Deemed China's coming-out party, the 2008 Olympic Games placed Beijing in the world spotlight, and the city put on the most remarkable Olympic-display to date. Beijing carved out huge tracts of land to construct this international stage. The excitement has since passed, and the park and some of its facilities

    ...Read More »
  • #10
    National Museum of China
    View all Photos
    #10 in Beijing
    Museums, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    For a survey of Chinese history, head to the National Museum of China. Positioned on the eastern edge ofTiananmen Square, the exhibits in this museum neatly outline the nation's past for visitors, both native and foreign. After a massive renovation, the facility reopened in the spring of 2011 with updated

    ...Read More »
  • #11
    Bell and Drum Towers (Hutong)
    View all Photos
    #11 in Beijing
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Bell and Drum Towers crown the charmingNanluoguxiangdistrict. Amid the maze of alleys, you'll appreciate having these two historical pillars to guide your exploration of the neighborhood. You'll immediately notice the 150-foot Drum Tower from its vibrant red walls, turquoise roof, and decorative symbols. The Bell Tower is the more

    ...Read More »
  • #12
    Temple of Heaven Park (Tiatan Park)
    View all Photos
    #12 in Beijing
    Churches/Religious Sites, Monuments and Memorials, Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Monuments and Memorials, Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    To reach the Temple of Heaven, you don't have to have an untimely passing. Just get off the subway at Tiantan Dongmen. As you'd expect, this green space is a peaceful asylum, immune to the urban bustle. In the Confucian spirit, the park offers respite among ancient cypress trees alongside

    ...Read More »

Explore More of Beijing

Recommended

The 21 Most Beautiful Waterfalls to See Around the World

Discover which stunning falls offer once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.

Kyle McCarthyApril 25, 2019

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019