Beijing is a modern and sprawling city in north China. Having served as the capital of the country for more than 800 years, Beijing is home to some of the finest remnants of China's imperial past. The interest of visiting Beijing is on one side to explore its glorious past, and on another side to feel its modernity as well as an odd combination of the two. Looking to travel more broadly than Beijing? Check out top things to do when traveling in China.
The Forbidden City, which housed 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911), is the best preserved imperial palace in China and the largest ancient palatial structure in the world. The design and the layout of the 870 buildings in the palace represent the essence of traditional Chinese architecture.
Tian'anmen Square is the largest public square, and can accommodate a million people. It is where the ceremony for the founding of the People’s Republic was held.
The Summer Palace is the best-preserved imperial garden in the world, and the largest of its kind still in existence in modern China. It is a representative of traditional Chinese garden and a charming place to appreciate the artificial landscape first created hundreds of years ago.
The Beijing hutongs are mazes of narrow alleyways linking old single-story traditional courtyard houses. Hutongs give a wonderful glimpse into the world of yesterday in Beijing. Visiting a hutong family living in a traditional quadrangle dwelling is a nice way to discover traditional Beijing life.
Yonghe Temple is used to be the mansion of the third emperor of the Qing Dynasty. It is an active Tibetan Buddhist temple containing a massive statue of Buddha carved from sandalwood (26 meters high, with 8 meters buried underground). It is highly recommended unless you are totally "templed out".
Jingshan Park is situated to the north of Forbidden City. On the top of the hill in the park you can enjoy a view of the whole of the Forbidden City. At sunrise or sunset you can take fine photos of the sunrise and sunset over the imperial palace.
Watching kungfu shows is an exciting way to spend a free night. The Legend of Kungfu Show is the best one. It is visually stunning with a fast-paced plot and impressive martial art skills. Children might like it.
The acrobatic show in Chaoyang Theatre is a breathtaking routine of flexibility involving ballet, bikes, human strength, jumping hoops, rotating plates, chairs, and umbrellas. The complicated and exciting performances will give you an exciting free night.