Top Things to Do in Beijing

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

Hall of Supreme Harmony

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 (FREE)

Tiananmen Square

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 Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China extends 4,000 miles. Construction of the wall began over 2,000 years ago and lasted for over 1,000 years. There are several Great Wall sections around Beijing, including restored sections and rugged sections.

The Summer Palace

Long Corridor in Summer Palace

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 Hutongs

Beijing Hutongs

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.

The Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven, the royal altar where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties worshipped heaven, is seen as the most holy of Beijing's imperial temples. It has been described as "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design".

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Located to the west of the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park, Beihai Park is the oldest existing imperial garden in China. First built in the Liao Dynasty (907—1125), you will see how Chinese garden were built based on fairy stories.

Yonghe Lama Temple

Yonghe Temple

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

A View of the Forbidden City from Jingshan Park

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.

Tasting Beijing Roast Duck

Beijing Roast Duck

Beijing roast duck is the epitome of Beijing cuisine and also one of the eight most popular Chinese dishes. The dish is mostly prized for the thin, crispy skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat.

Watching Beijing Opera

Beijing Opera

Beijing Opera is regarded as Chinese cultural treasure. The make up, the face masks, the gorgeous costumes, the unique vocal style, and the demanding actions make Beijing opera a high-class performance entertainment.

Visiting Souvenir Markets

Panjiayuan Market

Beijing's outdoor markets sell a great variety of souvenirs and old arts and crafts. They are living museums of folk artworks, old articles for daily use, and antiques (though some of them are fake).

Watching a Kungfu Show

The Kongfu Show: The Legend of Kungfu

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.

Watching an Acrobatics Show

Acrobatic Show in Chaoyang Theatre

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.

Top Beijing Tours

    The Temple of Heaven
  • Classic Beijing Tour
  • Explore numerous historic wonders and treasures, and modern man-made marvels in four days.
    The Great Wall at Jinshanling
  • Hiking on the Great Wall
  • Explore three  three Great Wall sections, including restored section, rugged sections and historically important sections.

Questions and Answers About Top Things to Do in Beijing

ankita 2014-03-24
Show Answer
Hello. I am planning to visit beijing this weekend from Hangzhou.Maybe reach saturday afternoon an leave on sunday or Monday.I want to see great wall,tiananmen square,forbidden city and the summer palace. What do you suggest?I am on a very tight schedule
Dear Ankita, The is the itinerary for your reference. Day 1 The Great Wall and Temple of Heaven Tour (need to spend a full day) Day 2 The Forbidden City,Tiananmen Square and the Summer palace Tour(need to spend a full day) If you would like to visit these spots, I suggest you leave Beijing after 17:00pm on Monday. Lussie Lu replied on 2014-03-25
Gary Linville 2013-11-16
Show Answer
Do you Virtual Tours of The Forbidden City and the Summer Palace? Also, we will be traveling with our 14 yr. old Son, are there things that will be of particular interest to a teenager?

Hi Gary,

 

we are online travel agency for more than 12 years. If you need some tours in Beijing, we can also customzie a private tour for you. Are there 3 of you? Do you need us to book hotel as well? When are you planning to visit Beijing?

 

About activities, he can learn to play Yoyo or bike in Hutong area. You can also ride a boat in Summer Palace together. For some theme park and safri, please see here for morehttp://www.chinahighlights.com/beijing/things-to-do-with-kids.htm

 

Please fee free to contact with me at christyluo@Chinahighlights.net

Christy Luo replied on 2013-11-16
Tina 2013-03-15
Show Answer
I have a very short trip to Beijing. #days and 2 nightsI won''t be able to cover all sights.What do you recommend and how much will it cost(us dollars) say for a one day tour that covers forbidden city, holy palace and great wall.Thanks you

Hi Tina, sorry, it is a bit difficult to cover the 3 places you mentioned in one day.  Can you extend half a day more? Then I will quote you the price, okay?

Whitney Liao replied on 2013-03-17
elizabeth Hackbarth 2013-01-22
Show Answer
can we take a train to see the great wall, or what is the best transportation? how far is the ritz carlton from the great wall?
Dear Sir or Madam, There is no train to get to the Great Wall. You could rent a van or take a taxi to get there. It is about 75 km from Badaling Great Wall to down town and 95 km from Mutianyu Great Wall to down town. If you need, we can arrange a one-day private tour for you. Please click here to realize the details: http://www.chinahighlights.com/beijing/1-day-tour.htm Lussie Lu replied on 2013-01-23
Crook 2012-12-18
Show Answer
Need Transportation from the Airport to the "Great Wall" Marriott. What do you recommend? March 27, 2013

Hi Crook, you can take a taxi to get there.

Whitney Liao replied on 2012-12-19
April Offer $25 Coupon
  1. Send your inquiry before Apr. 30, 2014, and we will email you a $25 coupon.
  2. The coupon is valid till Dec. 31, 2014, for paying tour packages worth $250 or up.
  3. The coupon cannot be used for paying flight tickets, train tickets, hotel rooms and day trips.
Travel Advice or Question? Ask us here
Do you want to book a tour/hotel/Wi-Fi. etc.
Your Name Your Email
Hi, I'm Lynn Ye
I updated this article on April 11, 2014
See all my travel articles
follow this pageChina Highlights