Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)

#3 in Best Things To Do in Beijing
Summer Palace (Yiheyuan) picture
Yaorusheng/Getty Images

Key Info

Yiheyuan Lu and Kunminghu Lu, Haidian District

Details

Castles/Palaces, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.6scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

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 a photo. Despite the palace's historic appeal, most tourists are charmed by what's outside. The Summer Palace possesses the largest imperial garden in China, so you can be sure there is a lot to see. The Seventeen-Arch Bridge stretches into Kunming Lake, providing excellent views of the east bank and South Lake Island. And at an impressive 2,388 feet in length, the Long Corridor garners lots of attention.

Travelers are rarely disappointed by the wonders of the Summer Palace. One TripAdvisor user says, "I can see why the Emperors liked this area [...] The lake is huge, and the beautiful atmosphere with the music and people just strolling around is so peaceful."

You can reach the Summer Palace by taking subway Line 4 to the Yiheyuan stop and walking from there. The gates of this UNESCO World Heritage Site are open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. between April and October and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. between November and March. However, some attractions do open until two hours after the gates open. General admission costs 20 CNY (about $3 USD) in the low seasons and 30 CNY (about $4.75 USD) in the high season, but several "scenic spots," like the Garden of Virtue and Harmony, require an additional fee. For more information, check out the Summer Palace's official website.

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More Best Things To Do in Beijing

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The Great Wall of China
Type
Time to Spend
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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