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Beijing's Top Sights

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Beijing is home to iconic landmarks—Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City—and the Great Wall is not far away. Beyond those are less famous landmarks: centuries-old temples, atmospheric hutongs, and some of the best collections of Chinese art in the world.
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12 Yonghegong St, Dongcheng Qu, China, 100007
To understand China, it's imperative to understand the important role religion and philosophy play in the culture. Buddhism is one such influence, and this gorgeous temple tells a bit of that story. Yonghegong is in the northern part of Beijing...
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Chaoyang, Beijing, China, 100123
The name “street” is a bit misleading, as this is really an enclave of warehouses and showrooms stocked with proper antiques, imitation Ming and Qing dynasty furniture, and more-contemporary chinoiserie. Getting out here is easy enough...
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China, Beijing Shi, Shijingshan Qu, Lugu Rd, 八宝山 邮政编码: 100049
Although this bicycle company was founded in the 1930s in Tianjin by a Japanese businessman, today it’s iconically Chinese, particularly in Beijing. This is Beijing’s flagship Flying Pigeon, where you can buy 22-, 24-, and 28-inch...
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7 Fayuansi Front St, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
Fayuan Temple (Fayuan Si) doesn’t get the top billing that the Lama Temple and the Temple of Heaven do, and that’s what makes it such a treat to visit. This is Beijing’s oldest surviving temple—well, parts of it are,...
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There is a local weekend market not known by many foreigners called the Panjiayuan Weekend Market, which offers a giant assortment of Chinese antiques and other oddities through colorful, never-ending aisles. You can find jewelry, furniture,...
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62 Yangmeizhu Byway, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100051
Within the rapidly trendifying area of Dashilar is Ubi Gallery, founded by Dutch former diplomat and art enthusiast Machtelt Schelling. Ubi showcases and sells ceramics and “wearable art,” aka contemporary jewelry. The featured artists...
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61 S Luogu Alley, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100007
If you're looking for something more original than the ubiquitous "I climbed the Great Wall" T-shirt, then look no further. Plastered is an original design T-shirt shop that specializes in tongue-in-cheek treatments of Chinese and Beijing culture....
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6 Fangyuan W Rd, Chaoyang Qu, China, 100096
Paper-thin tableware made by craftsmen in Jingdezhen, the porcelain capital of China, are sold at this shop near the 789 art district. Designs are a mix of traditional and whimsical. Check out the chopstick rests shaped like crab claws and pieces...
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16 E Chang'an Ave, Dongcheng Qu, China
This sprawling museum has a collection that will take nearly the whole day to fully experience. We advise buying a guidebook (with maps!) and plotting your own route, as English signage is, at times, inconsistent. The ancient Chinese exhibits are...
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6 Maliandao Rd, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
If you're keen on buying moderately priced tea sets and a variety of Chinese teas, this massive indoor market is the place to come. Charming it's not—it can be crowded and the stalls are fluorescent-lit—but hundreds of teas from across...
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3 Xinbi St, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100051
When I first visited Beijing, I was pleasantly surprised by the many innovative works of architecture, such as this, the National Centre for the Performing Arts. Located just a few minutes from the Forbidden City, it is a beautiful building to see...
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Houhai Lake, Shichahai, Xicheng, China, 100009
If you’ve kids in a tow, hiring a boat for a float around Houhai is a great way to relax. Houhai is a man-made lake that was once the royal family’s private pool. Today, it’s a popular place for families who come here to cycle...
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Haidian, China
Not to be confused with the Summer Palace, the Old Summer Palace is east of the Summer Palace and northwest of Central Beijing, and when it was built in 1709, the surrounding area was rural. The Old Summer Palace is also known as Yuanming Yuan...
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74 Wangfujing St, DongDan, Dongcheng Qu, China, 100006
Beijing had a colonial past just as Shanghai did, but the remnants of those years are not as prevalent as they are in Shanghai. That’s why St. Joseph’s Cathedral is well worth a visit. The Romanesque Revival church was originally built...
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Xicheng, Beijing, China, 100006
The Forbidden City gets top billing in Beijing, and that's good news for visitors to Jingshan Park. The 23-hectare (57-acre) park is just north of the Forbidden City, separated by a moat. A former imperial park dating to the 11th century, this was...
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24 Shijia Hutong, DongDan, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100010
Before you lose yourself in Beijing’s wonderfully maze-like hutongs, pay a visit to the Shijia Hutong Museum. Shijia Hutong is lovely and quiet, shaded by trees and still lined in traditional courtyard houses. House number 24, the former...
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2 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100096
If you plan a trip to Beijing, make sure to allow time to visit the “798 Art Zone,” or Dashanzi Art District, where a mix of political, cultural, and economic combustion have created an edgy contemporary art scene. You could easily...
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China, Beijing Shi, Chaoyang Qu, S Sanlitun Rd, 三里屯南街4号院 邮政编码: 100001
A lending library with more than 10,000 English-language books. A weekly slate of events, from poetry readings to winetastings to quizzes to movie screenings. A full menu of food. A superb single malt collection. "Something for everyone" sounds...
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China, Beijing Shi, Xicheng Qu, ShiChaHai, 地安门西大街甲25 邮政编码: 100009

Located within walking distance from the Forbidden City, this cheerful shop is chockablock with colorful kites. The Liu family has been making kites by hand for three generations and what’s for sale here are works of art. You'll find kites...

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Dongzhimen, Dongcheng, Beijing, China
Doncheng District in Beijing used to be full of hutong neighborhoods, unfotunately many have disappeared and many more are threatened. The Government has recently realized that these neighborhoods are a vital link to the tangible history of old ...
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4 Jingshan Front St, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100006
I used to be a docile tourist—get a map and brochure at the entrance, follow the prescribed route, or make a beeline for points of my interest. But one day impatience taught me the rollicking fun of ignorance and discovery. I didn’t...
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Xicheng, Beijing, China
Young girl with parasol in Tienanmen Square.
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1 Tiantan E Rd, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
Admiring China's stunning architecture on a clear afternoon.
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19 Xinjiangongmen Rd, Haidian Qu, China, 100091
For the Chinese, calligraphy is not only a practical way of writing characters but it is also a revered art form. As art, the way the calligrapher holds the brush, how he presents and stylizes the character conveys his culture, emotional being and...
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Beijing, China

Hiking the Great Wall was an amazing experience. What made it even better was going to Simatai, which isn't as heavily visited as Badaling and other parts of the Wall. It's harder to get to and takes more effort to reach, but it's worth it. The...

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Dongcheng, China

Despite its name, within this mall are shops selling all manner of electronics, watches, clothing, handbags, suitcases and, of course, jewelry—including pearls. This is a popular spot for buying souvenirs, especially tea sets, calligraphy...

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41 Guozijian St, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100011
Gu Qigao's bright furniture shop and café is so perfectly curated you'll want to move straight in. The handsomely refurbed courtyard house near the Confucius Temple has two floors filled with furniture and home goods by Japanese and Chinese...