As you’d expect from the capital of China, one of the greatest countries in the world, Beijing has it all. From grand, age-old palaces and temples, to restaurants serving cuisine from nook and corner of the country, here are some of the things to do in Beijing while you are here. Things You Can’t-Miss in Beijing.
9 Things You Can’t-Miss in Beijing
One of the best things about Beijing is the food scene and the way you can tour all of China’s culinary traditions in one city. If dumplings are your addiction, then get ready to eat thick, delicious eg, steamed and fried. Then, of course, the shiny, golden Peking Duck, is a must for eating in the city. A hearty hotpot filled with meat and vegetables will also rejuvenate after a day of sightseeing. Food tours are a great way to sample the sights, smells, and tastes of Beijing.
With its dreamy, romantic name and status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Forbidden City tops most visitors’ “what to see in Beijing” lists. Built-in the 15th century, and home to generations of royal rulers, this sprawling palace complex is home to the Palace Museum and the largest collection of preserved wooden structures on earth. Just brace yourself for the inevitable rush…
What is it about a UNESCO World Heritage Site that isn’t quite as crowded as the Forbidden City? Try the Ming Tomb, the majestic mausoleum of the 13 emperors of the legendary Ming dynasty. Three of these tombs are open to the public, but there is much more to see around these parts. Take a walk along the holy path, admiring the ornate sculptures and enjoying the expansive green spaces. All this is far away from the hustle and bustle of Beijing.
Take a walk in nature with a visit to the Summer Palace. Once the playground of the rulers of the Qing dynasty, it now mesmerizes mere mortals with its scenic parks, colorful palace structures, and sun-drenched waters. Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake are just some of the fascinating wonders of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, while snapshots of ornate marble boats will soon find a place on your social media feeds.
798 Art Zone
When it comes to choosing what to do in Beijing, contemporary attractions are as fascinating as the historical lairs. For example, see 798 Arts Zone. Located within a complex of old factory buildings, it showcases bold creative works in a serene, industrial setting. Local accommodations will allow you to walk from art gallery to art gallery, browse boutiques, and relax in restaurants. Be prepared for the kind of prices you can expect from any decent neighborhood.
National Museum of China
The largest museum in China, this cultural treasure is located on the famous Tiananmen Square. One of the most visited museums in the world, it boasts ancient relics as well as major objects from the modern history of China. One minute you’ll be admiring the centuries-old jewelry and ceramics, the next you’ll see Mao, the flag president at the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
One of Beijing’s oldest and best-known Buddhist temples, Tanzhe has stood for over 1,700 years, and dates back to the Jin Dynasty. That said, there are pagodas resplendent here from a variety of eras, so it feels like you’re traveling through time. You will wander among the architecture of the Ming and Qing dynasties and see pavilions made of marble, all surrounded by the delightful western hills.
If you want to experience the real thing when you visit Beijing, away from the big tourist spots and its many hotels, hang out in the city’s atmospheric huts. These are old narrow streets and alleys that are a symbol of traditional Chinese architecture. Within the maze of a hutong, you’ll mingle with Beijing locals and discover shops selling art and Chinese calligraphy, quaint tea houses, and stalls serving steamy street food. There are also tours available that specialize in the unique culture of these ancient streets.
Temple of Heaven
More proof that Beijing has to be one of the grandest cities on the planet, the Temple of Heaven is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that anyone will reach for their cameras. Its most striking structure is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, whose circular, triple-gable design has made it a Beijing icon. Bigger than the Forbidden City, the area’s colorful buildings and rich greenery attract millions of visitors every year.