Home China Guide Beijing Tour Planning How to Plan a Family Tour of Beijing

How to Plan a Family Tour of Beijing

Beijing, an oriental tourist hot spot combining a long and rich history with modern life, is not only the most popular China tour destination for young and senior travelers, but also for family tours. We at China Highlights here provide some suggestions for Beijing family tour planning.

Travel Essentials

  • Duration: Usually five days to one week is enough.
  • Best time to go? Autumn (cool and comfortable weather and best fall foliage scenery from September to November)!
  • What to pack? Camera, any necessary medicine, a Beijing subway map, and a Beijing city center attractions and transport map.
  • Look after your children near roads because the traffic in Beijing is often busy.

Travel in Winter

The Forbidden City in WinterThe Forbidden City in Winter

Autumn is the best time to be in Beijing. However, if you travel in winter (December to February), bring thermal clothes, especially for children. The average temperature ranges from -5°C to 5°C, so do not stay outside for a long time.

Hazy weather occasionally occurs in late winter and early spring. Usually the light pollution has no impact on sightseeing. However, when the air pollution is particularly bad, wear a mask before going outside or opt for other alternative indoor activities, like visiting a museum.

Tourist spots will be less crowded in winter, which will give you a much better experience. Travel expenses are greatly reduced on flights, hotels, and admission fees in winter, apart from during public holidays.

Attractions That Children Love

the great wallTake a toboggan down the mountain from the Great Wall with your kids. Beijing Happy Valley

Your children may be interested in parks, museums, historical sites, shopping streets, and authentic snacks and restaurants. Beijing has all these and much more to give you an unforgettable tour.

Beijing Happy Valley

Various recreation facilities and cartoon characters are in this dreamlike and adventurous fairytale kingdom. The night performances in summer are brilliant.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest sights in the world, and it's a must-visit China attraction. You can have fun with your kids by taking the toboggan down the mountain from the Wall. Your kids can explore the Great Wall battlements and watch towers. Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Great Wall of China with your kids, which will be fun and also educational.

Beijing Zoo and Beijing Ocean Park

pandaSee giant pandas in Beijing Zoo.

Animals are many children's favorite interest. Beijing Zoo has a large number of animals, including pandas, giraffes, and some rare species. The dolphin and other ocean star performances in the ocean park are must-see shows in Beijing Zoo.

Beijing World Park

All the famous world landmarks in Beijing World Park provide you with an interesting introduction to the world. Without traveling to other countries you can get a feeling of taking a round-the-world tour.

Skiing in Winter

Since Beijing received the honor of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, more ski resorts are now open to tourists and local people alike. Most are located in suburban districts, about 1¬2 hours from Beijing’s city center. Some resorts offer shuttle buses from downtown, and can provide accommodation as well.

Taking your children to a ski resort will enrich your winter holiday in Beijing. You can go skiing with professional instruction, equipment is provided, and you can enjoy snow fights with your children.

The most popular ski resorts in Beijing are as follows:

Ski Resort Hours from the City Center Location Season
Nanshan Ski Resort 1½ hours Near the village of Miyun, about 60 kilometers northeast of Beijing December – late February
Badaling Ski Resort 1 hour About two kilometers from the Badaling Great Wall section December – March
Yuyang Ski Resort 1½ hours Pinggu District, about 70km northeast of Beijing city center December – March

Check out more top ski resorts in China.

More information about ski resorts:

  • Skiing fees on weekends or public holidays are higher than on weekdays.
  • A deposit is required for renting ski equipment.
  • The cost of accommodation in a ski resort is equivalent to the cost for a 4-star to 5-star hotel.
  • English is very limited in most ski resorts.

Some tips for skiing:

  • Try to avoid going to a ski resort on weekends or during Chinese public holidays. Try to avoid peak times, usually from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
  • Choose a ski resort with a good beginner's area, that is, wide and not very steep. This is more suitable for children.
  • Wear multiple layers of clothing and keep warm. Make sure that your ski clothes have an external waterproof layer.
  • It is recommended to obtain travel insurance that covers winter sports.

Apart from going skiing, skating on lakes or rivers is another highlight in Beijing. Beihai Park and the Summer Palace are great places for travelers and local people to have fun.

Interesting Activities for Children

Make a face mask for Peking opera.Make a face mask for Peking opera.

You can buy postcards for your kids and help them send them to classmates, or themselves. Take interesting photos with your kids at the attractions to keep them amused and make memories.

In the hutongs: learning to apply facial makeup for Beijing opera and Chinese calligraphy, and making kites, dough figurines, and dumplings

In Temple of Heaven Park: flying kites (best time: spring and autumn) and learning tai chi

Touring around the city by insider-car: you can take a inside-car (at most two people and a professional driver of the car rent agency) to travel around Beijing city, or some famous attractions (like the Great Wall).

Child-Friendly Restaurants

beiijng duckPeking duck is the most representative food in Beijing.

What if your children don't like Chinese food? Don't worry. There are plenty of children-oriented foreign restaurants and Western restaurants with good English service, such as KFC and McDonald's, which can be easily found on the streets, especially near the attractions and shopping malls. We have listed several recommended Western restaurants in Beijing for you.

The most representative food in Beijing is Beijing duck, and most children and grownups like that! Local snacks can be found in the ancient snack streets.

Please see best food and restaurants in Beijing Hutongs, and top 10 snacks shops in Beijing for more choices.

Best Family Hotels

Some traditional hotels, such as courtyard residences (siheyuans) in the hutongs, have unique characteristics. The Chinese old-style houses retain a quiet charm. If you want to experience the idiomatic Beijing life of the past, choose a siheyuan!

Han Royal Garden Hotel and Red Wall Garden Hotel are two exquisite hotels with rich Chinese ancient-style atmosphere. They are located in Hutongs, where you can really have a great experience of the local life.

Hotel Reservation

Highly-sought-after hotels in Beijing need reservations especially in the peak season (from late spring to autumn and some important holidays, such as the Labor Day and National Day holidays).

Click here for Beijing family hotels.

Travel Suggestions for Parents


packing Let your kids help pack.

Let your kids help pack: Bring one or two toys that your kids love very much to help them pass the time on the planes etc.

Bring medicine: It may be hard to find a good hospital, or the medicine you want at a pharmacy, during your trip, so bring what you think you might need.

Bring a mini telescope/binoculars: Your kids can use the mini telescope to watch animals or other interesting things, and appreciate scenery. It's also useful when you wait in line to get more out of China, adding fun to “I spy…”, rather than boredom or computer games.

When in China

Bring tissues/TP: Most public restrooms don't supply toilet paper, so bring some when you leave you hotel.

Bring snacks and drinks for your kids in case they don't like the food. There are many familiar fast food chains, like McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut, you could bring your kids to, or for you we have researched the Top Kids Restaurants in Beijing.

Buy interesting souvenirs: Your kids would probably like a China souvenir or two, such as a Chinese doll, toy, outfit, or game. We have an article on What to Buy for Children in China.

Check the weather forecast every morning and help your kids choose suitable clothing. 

Tell your children the itinerary and highlights for the next day, in addition to giving them some background information if possible.

Give your children a note showing your name, telephone number, and address (in Chinese), to be kept in their pockets, in case they get lost.

Recommended Beijing Family Tours

If you are planning a family tour to Beijing, please see our recommended tour for inspiration.

Or you can contact us for a tailor-made Beijing family tour. China Highlights will provide you with superb service.

Back to China Family Travel Guide.