Collected by Bryan Kinkade, AFAR Staff
Whether you have 24 hours or 24 days, Beijing offers a lifetime of twists, turns and journeys. But if you do have to squeeze it in here some of the best of the best of the great city. Enjoy!
19 Xinjiangongmen Rd, Haidian Qu, China, 100000
The present-day Summer Palace is China's largest royal park and was once called the Garden of Cultivated Harmony. It took its current name when Empress Dowager Cixi, in a controversial action, used some money earmarked for the navy and rebuilt the...
Xicheng, Beijing, China, 100006
I felt obligated to visit the Forbidden City while in Beijing as it tops every "must see" list. I sort of wish I hadn't. Even though I went early in the morning it was already mobbed with tourists. After about thirty minutes inside the compound...
Langfang, Hebei, China
"Hey man, come get the sheep penis!" My dad swung his camera around, but the vendor had already dropped out of site, sheep penis or whatever it was sizzling in a wok in front of him. My dad picked up one of the skewers and vendor returned. "Ten...
Dongcheng, Beijing, China
“Our umbrellas are a part of our culture that is disappearing,” says Cheng Dehu, the owner of Beijing’s Ruo Shui Tang Oil Paper Umbrella Workshop. As China has modernized at a breakneck pace, most traditional oil paper umbrellas have been left...
Fengtai, China, 100036
If you want to travel from Beijing to Xi'an, I recommend riding the overnight train. Although the amenities are basic, the view is spectacular: you can sip tea while watching the scenery transform from a sprawling city to a rural landscape.
2 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100096
How a complex of German-built factories became one of East Asia’s hottest art destinations is also the story of modern China. When construction on a number of electronics factories began in Dashanzi in 1956, the area was farmland. Joint...
China, Beijing Shi, Dongcheng Qu, 瓷器库胡同2 邮政编码: 100006
Li Qun Duck Restaurant is hidden in a Qianmen hutong. (To find it, follow the ducks painted on the hutong walls!) The restaurant doesn't put on airs, and feels effortlessly authentic despite the fact that pictures of statesman and ambassadors who...
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...
Zizhu Bridge, Haidian, Beijing, China
A serene encounter with a delightful old painter. Beijing's parks are incredibly beautiful. Some of my best memories include afternoons like this—watching a humble painter grind his ink onto a skillet and create a masterpiece on wrinkled rice...
3 Xinbi St, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100031
This gleaming performing arts center, sometimes called the Giant Egg, was designed by French architect Paul Andreu and inaugurated in 2007. The ellipsoid dome, made of titanium and glass and surrounded by a man-made lake, looks a bit like a...
There's a reason this is one of the wonders of the world. No, it cannot be seen from outer space, but it is truly magnificent. When visiting China, avoid the super touristy hotspots. We visited a spot that locals preferred called MuTianYu, about...
4 Jingshan Front St, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100006
Beijing's number one tourist attraction is a massive former imperial palace known as the Forbidden City. Between 1416 and 1911, it was home to 24 Ming and Qing dynasty emperors and their families and staff. In 1912, after the abdication of...
Dong An Men Da Jie, DongDan, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100006
After an aimless walk through the calm hutongs in the centre of Beijing, we suddenly came to a crowded night market. It was only one row of food stalls, but it stretched for several hundred meters! Among other things, you can find more unusual...
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