National Museum of China

#10 in Best Things To Do in Beijing
National Museum of China picture
vanbeets/Getty Images

Key Info

16 E Chang'an Ave.

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Museums, Sightseeing, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

For a survey of Chinese history, head to the National Museum of China. Positioned on the eastern edge of Tiananmen 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 displays and an interior facelift. Among the many treasures (more than one million), you'll find entire rooms dedicated to jade, porcelain and bronze artifacts.

When looking at the collection, travelers are generally impressed, with many saying you need at least two to three hours to even begin to see all the treasures it holds. Visitors also appreciate it is free to visit. If you plan to visit, keep these tips from reviewers in mind: stop by the museum at the start of your trip to Beijing to better understand the city and Chinese culture overall; the museum is better suited to visitors interested in history and archaeology than art; English translation is lacking in certain areas.

The museum welcomes visitors between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day except for Monday, but the last ticket is sold at 3:30 p.m. Admission is free; however, you will need your passport in order to enter through the West Gate ticket office. For more information, check out the museum's website.

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More Best Things To Do in Beijing

The Great Wall of China
Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)
Type
Time to Spend
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#1 The Great Wall of China

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, you should aim to experience a portion of it. That begs the question: Which section?

Only an hour's drive northwest of Beijing, the Badaling section is convenient, hosts a large souvenir market, and has a gondola to whisk visitors up and down the wall. Sounds perfect, right? Well, and that's why thousands of tourists decide to venture here. This can create mob-like scenes that can spoil the trip, but it's unpredictable. Plenty of visitors rave about this section of the wall and say a visit is a must. Entrance to the Badaling section of wall (not including the gondola ride) costs 40 yuan (about $6) in the winter and spring and 45 yuan (about $6.60 ) in the summer and fall. You can start hiking the Badaling portion at 6:40 a.m., and you must be down by 6:30 p.m. every day.

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