Forbidden City (Imperial Palace)

#4 in Best Things To Do in Beijing
Forbidden City (Imperial Palace)
Waitforlight/Getty Images

Key Info

Square on Chang'an Jie

Details

Castles/Palaces, Museums, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.6scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

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 of Tiananmen Square at the epicenter of Beijing. Beyond its towering fortifications, you'll find an intricate labyrinth of squares, halls, gates, pavilions, sleeping quarters, and temples. In some of the structures, curated art and historic relics have been placed; however, the greatest achievement is the compound itself. Not-to-be-missed highlights include the Meridian Gate, the Turret, the Antiquarium, and the Imperial Garden.

One TripAdvisor user advises, "This place is pretty big, so allow enough time to have a good look around. Make sure you have a guide so they can share the sordid history with you."

You must enter the Forbidden City through the Meridian Gate, which is easily reached via the Tian'an men East or Tian'an men West subway stops. The palace welcomes visitors every day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April to October and until 4:30 p.m. from November to March. Admission costs 60 CNY (about $9.50 USD) in the high season and 40 CNY (about $6.50 USD) in the low season.

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More Best Things To Do in Beijing

Tiananmen Square
The Great Wall of China
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1 of 11
#1 Tiananmen Square

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.

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