Beijing is one of the most ancient capitals of the world. It is the largest city in China after Shanghai with a population of 22 million people. Combined both historical and metropolitan aspects, Beijing is the center of China’s economy, politics, culture and technology. Beijing is a giant city with several fascinating attractions and bustling lifestyle.

What to do in Beijing?

Sightseeing in some imperial relics

A Beijing Hutong

There are many attractions in Beijing, from historical and cultural sites to delicious traditional cuisines. This dynamic capital is worth visiting for 3 days or more.

Being the capital of China for more than 850 years, it is obvious that there are a lot of historical sites in this city. Beijing attracts international tourists with several imperial highlights; six of them are listed as UNESCO Heritage sites. There are some must-visit sites in this charming city:

  • Great Wall: Originally built over 2500 years ago during Zhou Dynasty, the Great Wall is the symbol of Chinese resilience, perseverance, and engineering genius.
  • The Forbidden City: Located in the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City (also known as the Imperial Palace Museum) is the home of the kings during Ming and Qing dynasty.
  • Tiananmen Square: Tiananmen Square, which only takes 5 minutes drive from the Forbidden City, marked the declaration of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
  • Summer Palace: Summer Palace is located 15 kilometers from the northwest of Beijing. This splendid architecture was once a getaway place owned by Chinese imperial families from sultry Beijing in summers.
  • The Temple of Heaven: Built in 1420 by a Ming emperor, this place was used to pray for good harvest.
  • Beijing hutongs: Hutongs are perfect for your photo shoots with tranquil scenery and rustic architecture. You can spend your time in souvenir stores, craft-making classes and cooking classes in your Hutongs tour.

Taste Chinese food

Beijing roast duck

Beijing is considered as one of the culinary centers in China with many fascinating dishes and world-class restaurants. Beijing roast duck is obviously the must-try cuisine when you enter this city. With crispy skin and delicious sauce, you never go wrong with this dish. The sauce will vary in different places and the sauce’s recipe is kept secret in some longest-running restaurants.

Visit extraordinary modern architecture

If you want to go to some contemporary places, here are some places for you to check out

  • Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall: an urban planning museum near Tiananmen Square.
  • Beijing Olympic Park with stunning ‘Bird’s Nest’ stadium and jaw-dropping National Aquatics Centre
  • Beijing Capital Museum: showcase this city’s history as the Chinese capital
  • 798 Art District: This place contains a lot of contemporary art galleries, coffee shops and performing art spaces.

Watch an art performance

Peking Opera

Peking Opera is a classic art form that is unique with its colorful costumes and combination of singing and other performing arts such as dialogue, acrobatics, dancing or martial arts. The plot is comprehensible though you do not understand the language.

Children will be in love with Kung Fu show and Acrobatics show. The skillful performers, their elegant costumes, and exciting skills will bring you an unforgettable night in Beijing.

Enjoy nightlife and shopping

There are a lot of bars, clubs, shopping malls, night markets and theaters for you to discover. The city will be brightly lidded at night, so spend your time walking around. Silk clothing, souvenirs, and tea can be found everywhere in hutongs, buy some for your family and friends.

Best time to travel to Beijing

It is hot and humid in Beijing during summer (June to August) when the temperature can reach 26 to 30 degree Celsius. On the other hand, it will snow during winter from December to January. Don’t visit Beijing in December when the temperature may drop to -4 degree Celsius and the air is of the lowest quality. So if you have respiratory issues, avoid Beijing winter.

Autumn and spring are the best time to visit Beijing. We do not recommend you visit Beijing during Chinese Lunar New Year or Chinese National Holiday (October 1 to October 7) when all attractions are crowded with local tourists.

Beijing Travel Tips
  • The cheapest way to get around Beijing is using the subway. Taxis are affordable but slow when traveling around this bustling city. Cycling is a must-do activity when visiting small hutongs.
  • Although Beijing is the capital, fewer people can speak English than Shanghai and Hong Kong. So prepare some translation apps for your smartphone.
  • Most historical sites are open from 8:00 am until 16:00 pm, save your daytime for sightseeing.