Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)

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

Key Info

19 Xinjiangongmen Rd.

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 – is home to 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. 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. Many advise visiting early in the day to avoid crowds, but regardless, most call the palace amazing. Reviewers suggested setting aside at least half a day to wander the grounds. Visitors also recommended seeing the site with the help of a guide, who can help you understand its vast history.  

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 not open until two hours after the gates open. General admission costs 20 yuan (about $3) in the low season and 30 yuan (about $4.30) in the high season, but several "scenic spots," like the Garden of Virtue and Harmony, require an additional fee. A "through ticket," which includes these sites, costs 50 yuan (about $7.30) in low season or 60 yuan (about $9) in high season. A variety of amenities and vendors are available on-site (though some reviewers said the toilets were less than desirable). For more information, check out the Summer Palace's official website.

See all Hotels in Beijing »

More Best Things To Do in Beijing

The Great Wall of China
Forbidden City (Imperial Palace)
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 15
#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.

Read more
Image Source/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Beijing »

Explore More of Beijing

Recommended

The World's 30 Best Places to Visit in 2019-20

Using reader input and expert analysis, U.S. News identified the latest can't-miss vacations.

Tilly PeckerJune 25, 2019

The 16 Best San Diego Tours

Take advantage of the adventures this coastal city has to offer with a guided trip.

Lyn MettlerJune 24, 2019

12 Top Napa Valley Wineries to Visit

Set your sights on these can't-miss wineries during your next visit to California's wine country.

Lyn MettlerJune 24, 2019

The 6 Best Denver Brewery Tours

Discover the buzz about Denver's craft beer scene with these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 21, 2019

The 10 Best Charleston Walking Tours

Experience true southern hospitality as you explore Charleston on one of these strolls.

Claire LawtonJune 20, 2019

The 15 Best Charleston Tours

See everything this historic South Carolina city has to offer on one of these guided excursions.

John RodwanJune 19, 2019

The 5 Best Kauai Helicopter Tours

See the Garden Island's far-reaching beauty from the air.

Holly JohnsonJune 14, 2019

The 6 Best Las Vegas Helicopter Tours

Get a thrilling look at the lights and sights of Sin City and its surroundings with one of these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation

These road trip must-haves can help you save money, travel more comfortably and ensure you stay safe on the open road.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

13 Top Charlottesville Wineries to Visit

Sip a glass of Virginia's signature viognier as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Gwen PratesiJune 12, 2019