Things to see and do in Beijing
Beijing is China‘s capital city with a rich cultural and historical heritage that dates back over 3,000 years. The city is famous for its ancient landmarks, such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These landmarks testify to the city’s glorious past and the power and influence of the emperors who once ruled the country.
Apart from the historical sites, Beijing is known for its vibrant atmosphere and bustling city vibe. The city is a fascinating mix of ancient traditions and modern development, with towering skyscrapers, shopping malls, and a thriving nightlife scene. So, if you’re planning a trip to Beijing, add these must-see attractions to your itinerary.
Hike the Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is one of the most iconic structures in the world, and hiking along this UNESCO World Heritage Site should be on everyone’s bucket list. This incredible feat of engineering stretches over 13,000 miles and is an awe-inspiring sight. Visitors can choose from several sections of the wall that are open to the public, including the popular Badaling section and the less-crowded Mutianyu section. Hiking along the wall provides visitors with stunning views of the surrounding countryside, and it’s a great way to experience the history and culture of China.
Visit Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square is the world’s largest public square and symbolizes China’s political power and history. The square has several landmarks, including the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, and the National Museum of China. Visitors can also see the famous Tiananmen Gate and the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. The square is an important site for Chinese people and tourists alike, and it’s a great place to learn about China’s past and present.
Explore Forbidden City
The Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see attraction in Beijing. The palace was the residence of the Chinese emperors from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty, and it offers a glimpse into China’s imperial past. Visitors can explore the palace’s courtyards, halls, and gardens and learn about the history of the emperors and their court.
The Forbidden City is a vast complex, so visitors should plan to spend several hours there. Some must-see areas include the Meridian Gate, the Gate of Supreme Harmony, and the Hall of Supreme Harmony. The palace also houses an extensive collection of artifacts and artworks, including porcelain, jade, and paintings.
To avoid crowds, it’s best to visit the Forbidden City early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Visitors can also purchase tickets in advance to skip the long lines at the entrance. Audio guides and guided tours are available for visitors who want to learn more about the palace’s history and architecture.
Visit the Summer Palace
The Summer Palace is a stunning imperial garden and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the northwest suburbs of Beijing. It was originally built as a retreat for the emperors of the Qing Dynasty and featured beautiful gardens, pavilions, and lakes. Visitors can take a boat ride on the lake, stroll through the gardens, and admire the architecture of the many buildings throughout the palace grounds. It’s a peaceful escape from the city and a great place to experience the beauty of traditional Chinese gardens.
Overall, Beijing is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. With so many things to see and do, visitors will surely have an unforgettable experience in this vibrant city. From hiking the Great Wall to exploring the Hutongs, there’s something for everyone in Beijing. Don’t forget to try the Beijing Duck and visit the Summer Palace, two must-see attractions that shouldn’t be missed.
Walk through the Hutongs
The Hutongs are traditional alleyways that offer visitors a glimpse into old Beijing and its way of life. These narrow streets are lined with traditional courtyard homes and are a great place to explore and learn about Beijing’s history and culture. Visitors can take a rickshaw ride through the Hutongs and visit a courtyard home or stroll through the Shichahai lakes area. The Hutongs are a fascinating part of Beijing and offer visitors a unique perspective on the city.
Explore the 798 Art District
The 798 Art District is a popular contemporary art area and home to many galleries and artists’ studios. The district is located in a former factory complex, and its unique architecture makes it so special. Visitors can explore the galleries and enjoy the many works of art on display. The district is a must-visit for anyone interested in art and culture.
Take a walk or bike ride through the Olympic Park
The Olympic Park was built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and offered visitors a chance to see the iconic “Bird’s Nest” stadium and “Water Cube” aquatics center. It’s also a great place to walk or bike ride, with beautiful parklands and plenty of space for outdoor activities. Visitors can have a picnic or go for a run and enjoy the natural beauty of the park.
Visit the Beijing Zoo
The Beijing Zoo is home to over 450 different species of animals, including giant pandas, red pandas, and golden monkeys. Visitors can also see other animals, such as the Asian elephant, Siberian tiger, and black bear. The zoo is a great place to learn about China’s diverse wildlife and is a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
Visit the Beihai Park
Beihai Park is a beautiful park located in the heart of Beijing. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the park’s natural beauty, with its lakes, gardens, and pagodas. Visitors can take a boat ride on the lake and enjoy the views of the White Dagoba, a famous Buddhist temple on an island. The park is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and is a must-visit for nature lovers.
Eat Beijing Duck
Beijing Duck is a must-try dish when visiting Beijing. This delicious meal has been prepared since the imperial era and is one of China’s most popular dishes. The slow-roasted meat and thin, crisp skin make for a mouth-watering experience. Several restaurants throughout the city specialize in Beijing Duck, including the famous Quanjude and Da Dong restaurants. It’s a culinary experience that visitors shouldn’t miss when in Beijing.
Sip traditional tea
Another must-try experience in Beijing is sipping traditional tea. Tea culture is an essential part of Chinese culture, and Beijing has many teahouses where visitors can experience the art of tea-making and taste different tea varieties. Some famous tea houses in Beijing include Lao She Teahouse, Maliandao Tea Street, and Daoxiangcun Tea House. Drinking tea in Beijing is not just about the taste but also the ambiance. Many teahouses are in beautiful old buildings and offer a tranquil escape from the bustling city. It’s an excellent way to experience China’s ancient customs and enjoy a moment of calm in a busy city.
Watch a traditional theatre performance
Watching a traditional Chinese theatre performance is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Chinese culture and experience the country’s rich history and art forms. Many types of Chinese theatre exist, including Peking Opera, Kunqu Opera, and Sichuan Opera. These performances feature elaborate costumes, makeup, and music and are often performed in historic theatres or outdoor venues. Some popular theatres to visit in Beijing include the National Centre for the Performing Arts, the China National Theatre for Children, and the Beijing People’s Art Theatre. Attending a performance at one of these venues is an unforgettable experience and a great way to appreciate Chinese culture.
These are just a few of the many things to do in Beijing. You may also want to visit the Silk Market, the Lama Temple, and many other places, depending on your interests. Beijing is a city steeped in culture, heritage, and natural beauty. From the ancient landmarks and religious buildings to the bustling city vibe and thriving art scene, there is something for everyone to enjoy. A trip to Beijing is an opportunity to experience the richness and diversity of Chinese culture and history, and it is a destination that should not be missed.
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