What to Do in Beijing
Collected by Lisa Gay
Xicheng, Beijing, China
The world's seventh-largest public square is best known in the West for the 1989 student protests, but this is also where, on October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong founded the People's Republic of China. The square was named for Tiananmen (which translates...
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...
1 Tiantan E Rd, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
This complex of Taoist religious buildings was constructed in the early 15th century under the Yongle Emperor, who also commissioned the Forbidden City, just to the north. The temple's central building is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a...
The Great Wall of China runs more than 21,000 kilometers (over 13,000 miles), not as one continuous wall but rather as fortified wall sections. Some of the sections date back more than 2,500 years, though only 8.2 percent of the existing wall is...
Qian Hai Bei Yan, ShiChaHai, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100009
One element of experiential travel is in the local transportation; in Beijing, the hutong pedicab tour is a great way to experience the city and learn how people lived, both past and present. Pedicabs wind through the narrow streets with open...
Yong An Tang （ Cao Chang Di Cun ）, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100096
Venture beyond the rampant commercialization of 798 Art District, and head to Caochangdi. It's only a 10-min taxi ride from 798, and the galleries you'll find here are architectural beauties to admire themselves. A handful of galleries curate...
16 E Chang'an Ave, Dongcheng Qu, China
On the east side of Tiananmen Square sits this massive museum, its dozens of halls filled with rare artifacts and antiquities. The exhibitions span Chinese history, beginning nearly two million years ago, with two teeth belonging to Yuanmou Man,...
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...
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...
51 Di'anmen W St, ShiChaHai, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100009
This scenic spot in downtown Beijing encompasses three willow-lined lakes, as well as plenty of hutongs to explore. Most visitors end up at one of the lakeside bars on Qianhai or Houhai—both of are a chaotic mess of neon lights, pulsating beats,...
1 Wenjin St, Xicheng Qu, China, 100034
The graceful lines of the White Dagoba is probably the first thing you'll notice at Beihai. Cross over the arched stone bridge or hop a boat to reach the dagoba, which is located on Jade Flower Island. You can also spend an entire morning just...
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...
9 Chongwenmen E St, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100005
Beijing's city wall lasted for centuries, only recently falling victim to “progress” during the Mao years. A few sections remain, including a portion that runs from Chongwenmen to Dongbianmen. During spring, plum trees blossom under the heavy...
3 Hufang Rd, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
While visiting Beijing on a Fulbright over the summer, we were given the opportunity to attend a traditional Peking Opera. Though the show was entirely in Mandarin, it was highly entertaining and lively. The vibrant colors of the venue, coupled...
141 Chaoyangmen Outer St, ChaoWai, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100001
Once overlooked, Dongyue Temple is getting attention for its bizarre and overtly bloody depiction of hell. Half-human, half-animal monstrosities snarl alongside blue men with ribs poking out from their stringy bodies. In another surreal scene, a...
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