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The 13 Best Places to Enjoy Snow in Beijing

The 13 Best Places to Enjoy Snow in Beijing

Written by Candice SongUpdated Jan. 27, 2022

Does it snow in Beijing? Yes, only 6 days a year on average in the city, but the snow lies for days or weeks because it's so cold. Beautiful snow scenes are created when snow falls on the cityscapes and nearby mountains.

Beijing city experiences its winter season of potential snow from late November till late February

Some of the things to do on a Beijing winter tour are enjoying snow scenery, skiing and other winter sports, hot spring bathing, the Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival, and the Spring Festival (late January or February). These make Beijing one of the most popular winter destinations alongside Harbin, Yunnan, and Sanya.  

Discover more about China winter tours.

Here are the top 12 places to enjoy snow scenes and snow activities in Beijing, including Longqingxia in Yanqing (a 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games venue), the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Nanshan Ski Resort:

The Great WallThe Great Wall

1. Longqing Gorge (龙庆峡) — Beijing's Ice and Snow Festival

Longqing GorgeLongqing Gorge

Featuring gorgeous mountain views and clear water, Longqing Gorge is called Beijing's Li River. It is a good vacation spot for all seasons, especially in winter for its breathtaking ice waterfall spectacle and dazzling ice and snow sculptures.

Recommended for kids, you can take a walk during the day to enjoy the snowy scenery on both sides of the valley and enjoy colorful ice lanterns during the evening. 

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Longqing Gorge is in Yanqing district, about 85 km (2 hours) from downtown Beijing. As one of the venues for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Yanqing is becoming world famous. “The essence of the Ming Great Wall” — Badaling's Great Wall section is also in Yanqing.

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2. The Great Wall — Beijing's Most Beautiful Snow Scenery

The Great Wall, founded on Beijing's high mountain ridges, offering broad and majestic panoramas, is the best place for you to enjoy spectacular snow scenery. Snow falls on the Great Wall, and frost and ice condense on the wild trees and grass on both sides, making a tranquil white world.

Gubeikou section and Jiankou section both are wild and unrestored Great Wall sections with better snow scenery. Other sections famous for skiing nearby during winter and safer access include Badaling (see 11. Badaling Ski Resort) and Mutianyu, which offers the easiest climbing in wintry conditions.

"Until you reach the Great Wall, you're no hero." — Mao Zedong 
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3. Taoyuan Xiangu (桃源仙谷) — an Ice and Snow Kingdom

Taoyuan Xian Gu (‘Taoyuan Fairy Valley') is an ecotourism scenic spot with dense forest, about 90 km (2 hours) from Beijing city center. In winter, you can see the beautiful scenery of ice waterfalls, ice flowers, and ice caves everywhere in the valley. It's like walking in an ice and snow kingdom.

At Taoyuan Fairy Valley you can enjoy interesting ice activities. It is a good place for a day trip from Beijing.

Taoyuan Xian Gu has Beijing's best-developed site for ice climbing, which is climbing up an ice wall made by a frozen waterfall. You are provided with ice-climbing clothes and equipment including ice axes and crampons, and will be protected by a belay rope throughout. Ice climbing is actually easy compared with other ice activities, but it still seems very adventurous and thrilling.

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4. The Forbidden City — the Real Royal Atmosphere

The Forbidden CityThe Forbidden City

If you do not like crowds, winter, especially an afternoon after a snowfall, is the best time to visit the Forbidden City. In the quietness, you can feel the Former Palace's vastness more, and after the snow, the palace appears more majestic. Red walls, glazed tiles, and white snow scenery make a beautiful picture from any angle.

Witness the pick of the beautiful snowy landscapes at Meridian Gate Square and the Southeast Corner Tower outside Donghuamen.

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5. Jingshan Park — for Forbidden City Snowscapes

Jingshan Park features an artificial hill with five peaks. The hill was made from soil excavated from the Forbidden City. Each of the peaks has a restored pavilion from which you can have a bird's eye view of the Forbidden City.

From the peaks of Jingshan Park, you can have a bird's eye view of the Forbidden City.

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6. The Summer Palace — the Royal Garden Museum

The Summer Palace has some of the best snow views in Beijing city. The largest traditional Chinese garden in the world is an all-year attraction, but it's particularly pretty in winter, when artificial Longevity Hill, bridges, pavilions, and the frozen waters of Kunming Lake are covered with snow.

The best place to enjoy the snow in the summer palace is West Bank (Xidi), where you can see the dim light reflected by the lazy sunshine on the icy surface of Kunming Lake, and Buddha Pavilion sitting in the snow like an old Buddha wrapped in white at the foot of Longevity Hill.

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7. The Shichahai Hutongs — a Real Taste of Old Beijing

The old hutong buildings behind Houhai (an artificial lake in central Beijing) look more special in winter when covered by snow than at any other time.

Shichahai is a Beijing historical and cultural tourism scenic area, comprising lakes Qianhai, Houhai, and Xihai, as well as Prince Gong Mansion and Garden, the Drum Tower, and the nearby hutongs. A snowfall offers a real taste of old Beijing in its oldest alleys. Riding a rickshaw or walking in the alleys is the best way to enjoy the snow and experience the culture of old Beijing.

In addition, in the winter, Houhai will be frozen, becoming a natural skating rink. It becomes a big playground for the locals. After skating, you can find a bar in the famous bar street in Houhai to warm you up.

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8. Tanzhe Temple — The Oldest Temple in Beijing

Located about 40 km (1 hour) from central Beijing, Tanzhe Temple is the oldest temple in Beijing, built in in the Western Jin Dynasty in 307 AD. It is said that the Palace Museum (the Forbidden City) was constructed by imitating the temple, and there is a saying in Beijing that "Tanzhe Temple was built first, then Beijing city".

Tanzhe Temple is embraced by the mountains and ancient trees, featuring beautiful natural views. Under the snow, the whole temple is more solemn and peaceful. It is a good place to escape from the busy city.   

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9. The Southeast Corner Watchtower — the Best of the Old City Wall

Situated near the Ming Dynasty City Wall Ruins Park, the Southeast Corner Watchtower is the only remaining part of Dongbianmen (the old east gate) and the largest original city wall corner tower in China. Built in 1436 in the Ming Dynasty, it is a medieval fortified stone structure.

The watchtower acts as a wonderful viewing platform, especially when covered with snow during winter. It is 500 meters from Beijing Ancient Observatory.

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10. Beijing Snow World Ski Resort

Beijing Ski ResortBeijing Ski Resort

Skiing is becoming increasingly popular in China's winters. In Beijing, you can find many different ski resorts. See Beijing's Top 10 Ski Resorts.

Being the nearest ski resort to the city, Snow World Ski Resort hosts motorized, dog-drawn, and horse-drawn sleighs. It is certainly a nice place to go with kids to enjoy the snow. We also suggest you visit nearby Jiuhua Spa Resort where you can bathe in a hot spring.

11. Nanshan Ski Resort

Nanshan Ski ResortNanshan Ski Resort

Nanshan Ski Resort occupies 2.67 sq km (1 square mile) and features 11 slopes. It is a good choice for beginners and advanced-level skiing lovers alike. Besides, you will see some beautiful scenery during winter.

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12. Badaling Ski Resort

Badaling Ski Resort is only 2 kilometers from Badaling's Great Wall section, and thus you can visit the two in a day.

The Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Arts Festival (see 1.) is also nearby. Skiers can rent equipment and enjoy the four ski trails even at the night. If you are not a fan of skiing, you could enjoy the dog sleighs and snow tubes among other activities.

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13. Huaibei International Ski Resort

Although Huaibei Resort is a renowned skiing destination, it triples as a nice snow views location and a place to enjoy a variety of snow activities (snowmobile rides, archery on the snow, horse-drawn sled rides...). It features beginner, medium, and advanced level slopes.

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