Things To Do
Beijing is filled with hidden treasures to explore. Take some time prior to arrival to research the main attractions and jot down a bucket list—otherwise it is easy to get overwhelmed. Then take some time to wander around different neighborhoods, even getting a little lost. Duck into the tiny shops and bakeries lining the alleyways for some exposure to authentic Beijing life.
Cinemas: Movie theatres throughout the city will usually have at least one Western movie playing in English with Chinese subtitles. You can always count on blockbuster releases, although their release may be a little delayed.
Beijing Opera: Watch the colorful performances of Beijing’s unique performance art, which is unlike any opera you will ever see elsewhere!
Top Sights in Beijing
Tiananmen Square: Tiananmen refers to the gate and square just outside the Forbidden City, but becamse famous for two historically significant moments: the founding of the PRC in 1949 and the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations. Mao’s large portrait dominates the entrance of the square and the public plaza sees crowds of tourists from all over the world on a daily basis.
The Forbidden City: This large palace complex was given its name because at one time only members of the imperial court were allowed inside its walls. The palace was completed in 1410 and was home to the imperial family until the last emperor, Puyi, abdicated in the early 1900s.
The Summer Palace: A beautiful scenic park on the edge of the city, the Summer Palace was the favorite vacation spot of one of Chinese history’s most powerful women, Empress Cixi.
The Great Wall: China’s grandest monument, stretching for thousands of miles across China, begins about 40 miles outside of Beijing. Four main locations on the wall are accessible from Beijing: Badaling, Mutianyu, Huanghua Cheng, and Simatai.
The Silk Market: With the fastest-growing luxury market in the world comes one of the largest markets for counterfeit goods. Spend an afternoon haggling for the latest designer knock-offs at the Silk Market, right above the YongAnLi subway stop on the 1 line.
798 Art District: After an abandoned factory was converted into a contemporary artist’s workshop, numerous studios and galleries popped up in what is now a world-famous center for contemporary Chinese art.