The 400,000 square metres large area is the key historic centre of Beijing. It was here that the former Communist Party leader, Mao Zedong, declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China on 1st October 1949. Today, thousands of visitors come here every year to see Mao’s remains in the mausoleum. Visit the Great Hall of the People that houses the country’s National People’s Congress and admire the 15th century Qianmen City Gate, which once divided Beijing’s ancient inner city and the suburban areas.
Built by Emperor Yongle in the early 15th century, the 720,000 square metres of Forbidden City was home to the imperial household. It was opened to the public in 1949. The well-preserved area boasts more than 800 buildings and 9,999 rooms. The Hall of Supreme Harmony, beautifully decorated with thousands of Dragons, was used to celebrate the Chinese emperor’s birthday. The Palace of Heavenly Purity served as the emperors’ living area and features several bedrooms.
The Summer Palace was once used by the imperial family as a retreat from the stress of Beijing city life. The grounds include a range of buildings and gardens including the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, as well as the stunning Fragrant Buddha Tower, which offers superb views of Kunming Lake.
This enormous park was built in the early 15th century, around the same time the Forbidden City was constructed. The park hosts several intriguing buildings. In the north of the park, a stone carved stairway leads up to the entrance of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests with its cylindrical blue-tiled roof and a beautifully decorated ceiling. It was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground in 1889 but was carefully reconstructed the following year. The Hall of Abstinence was used by emperors for fasting. In the south you will find the Round Altar—a three-tiered marble platform.
Originally built in 1694 as the residence of the future Yongzheng Emperor, this complex of beautifully designed buildings was transformed into a Tibetan Buddhist Temple in the mid-18th century. The Falun Dian, the temple’s teaching and assembly hall, features a large bronze statute of Tsongkapa, the founder of the Buddhist Yellow Hat sect.
This well-known art centre is based inside a defunct, 1950s concrete factory with works of artists from all over the world. It features photographic exhibitions, video installations, sculptures and other artwork. Displays change regularly. Restaurants and cafes serve fabulous food.
This street is a must for antique-hunters: be it Chinese paintings, ancient books, calligraphy brushes or ink stones you are sure to find it in Liulichang. A favourite among calligraphers and scholars in the old days, the 750 metres long street was restored and expanded in the late 1980s.
Undoubtedly one of the world’s top tourism destinations, the Great Wall is a stunning monument stretching over 5,000 kilometres, and is even visible from space. When in Beijing, the most convenient place to view the wall is from Badaling in Yanqing County, situated around 70 kilometres from the Chinese capital. Other sights open for tourists to explore the wall are Mutianyu, Huanghuacheng, Simatai and Jinshanling.
Beihai Park is one of the oldest and largest ancient imperial gardens in China which is located in the city centre, and one of its best-preserved parks. It has over 1,000 years of history, and is located just behind the Forbidden City. This is a nice quite park with a relaxing atmosphere.
For adrenaline-pumping rides, head over to this theme park which opened its doors in 2006. It consists of 6 themed zones, in total 40 rides, an IMAX theatre complex and a shopping complex. This is a very popular amusement park among tourist and locals alike, so it can get crowded on weekends.
Beijing Aquarium is the biggest inland aquarium in the world, located inside the Beijing zoo. It consists of seven exhibition halls with thousands of marine species, presenting also endangered creatures. In addition there are shows with adorable animals like dolphins and seals. This is a great attraction for both adults and children.
Take a stroll around this lake and around the narrow streets behind the lake, where you will find interesting shops with Chinese arts and crafts. There are plenty of restaurants around the lake where you can have a relaxing dinner and at the same time enjoy the beautiful scenery. You can also rent a boat or bike and explore the area in a more interesting way.
Beijing Capital Museum was formally open to public in 1981, and the Confucian Temple was its original site. In order to accommodate a larger collection, a new museum was built in December 2001. There are more than 5000 pieces of cultural relics here like porcelain ware, calligraphy works, paintings, coins, jades, seals and Buddhist statues.
Set up more than 90 years ago by royal chefs, the Fangshan serves Chinese dishes such as Beijing Duck and other specialities of the Chinese Imperial cuisine. It is based inside a grand mansion in a beautiful location next to Lake Beihai. The traditional royal style of decoration features a bright yellow theme and exquisite pieces of china.
China Grill serves international cuisine with the best meat, fish and seafood. Here you will find Beijing-style breakfast dishes including lunch and dinner as well as a great wine selection and 360 degree views of Beijing. The restaurant is located inside the hotel Park Hyatt Beijing.
Have some authentic Chaozhou and Cantonese cuisine on a floating fishing boat. The Old Dock Restaurant has won the “Chinese Tourism Industry’s Landmark Gold Prize” for its rustic design and romantic atmosphere. The pleasant environment ensures you have a relaxing evening while water flows gently underneath.
Gonin Byakusho Japanese Restaurant is a dining room in a five-star hotel serving kaiseki ryori (a traditional dish of Japanese cuisine), teppanyaki (a cooking style with an iron griddle, where dishes are prepared by the chef before diners' eyes), sushi, sashimi, teriyaki, and all manner of Japanese food.
A vegetarian restaurant opened in 1922. This well-known and historic place offers Chinese vegetarian food at a reasonable price: steam buns with veggies, Chinese lamb skewers (fake meat), and Buddha's delight are the common dishes. The staff are kind and helpful.
Yu restaurant has seven private dining chambers and a tea bar attended to by a tea master as a complement to a delicious dinner. If you cannot decide what to have, ask the staff and they will be more than happy to recommend you a delectable Chinese dish based on your preferences.
This popular small restaurant is located in an alley that may be difficult to find, but definitely worth seeking out. It features an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs cook good Chinese food. Be sure to come here with an empty stomach, they serve a 10 course menu. Due to the high demand and its popularity it is advised to book in advance.
Enjoy the finest slices of Wagyu beef at this award-winning steakhouse. On the menu you will find the finest organic steaks and seafood dishes which are carefully prepared by the highly skilled chefs. This restaurant stands out and offers high quality food in an elegant atmosphere and comes with outstanding customer service.
There are 30 Haidilao Hot Pot restaurants in Beijing. This restaurant is known for its good service and tasty food, and is a great place to have hotpot. The atmosphere can be described as lively and warm. There are plenty of choices from the meat, fish and vegetable sections. Very popular place so it might be crowded.
The restaurant is very beautifully decorated with a genuine "hutong" feeling and is located at the bottom of the Peninsula Hotel. The professional staff serve high-class Cantonese food like dim sum and other classical regional dishes such as Szechuan chilli prawns and the famous Beijing duck. The price is a bit higher than the other restaurants in the area but well worth the money.
At this chain restaurant you can eat tasty Italian food. One of the restaurants is located in the heart of the busy CBD. The menu is rather varied, from classical Italian pasta and risotto to soup, salad, seafood and meat. In addition, children can even make their own mini pizza. Annie's Cafe is open for both lunch and dinner and serves food at reasonable prices.
Tea has played a great role in Chinese history: the first references to tea leaves go back 5,000 years in Chinese literature. The hot beverage had originally been an herbal medicine, used, among other purposes, to aid digestion. At certain points in time it was also used as currency for trading goods. Make sure to experience a traditional Chinese tea ceremony while you are in town.
A casual dining place inside the hotel The Opposite House, Village Cafe serves international favourites with a modern twist. The menu offers a great variety of salads, sandwiches, soups and poke bowls and it is all prepared with fresh ingredients. If you are craving for something sweet, then do not worry they have desserts too such as dark chocolate hot-pot, ice cream, mango with coconut sticky rice and more.
Wagas is a popular cafe chain from Shanghai and with over 65 stores across ten major cities, you will find several locations in Beijing. Specialising in quality food such as sandwiches, salads, wraps and pastas including freshly baked bread and pastries. A cafe that offers a great variety and fresh food to appeal to a wide audience.
This pub may not have a name, but it’s nevertheless popular and people come here for the splendid views of the Qianhai Lake. Specialising in Yunnan cuisine, the bar greets you with friendly staff service and a great atmosphere. Locals sometimes refer to the bar by its owner’s name, Bai Feng.
This is the place where you can party hard! Even though Mix is not as big as other venues it is one of the main clubs to go to. It is about their fashionable decor and experiencing the high-quality sound system. They mainly play hip-hop and you are guaranteed to have a good night out. This is a vibrant club and popular among the party people.
Modo Ultra Club is quite a new addition to the nightclub scene here in Beijing, but it has quickly made a lasting impression. Feel the dazzling bloom of Korean outfits designed by the top Korean designer team Urbantainer. Cool, hip and sexy are just a few words used to describe this nightclub.
With its blue-and-white walls and well-crafted cocktails, Sirena Bar transports you straight to the seashore. Do not be misled by the cafe's mermaid-alluding name, however - this is essentially a cat cafe, with as many as a dozen furry resident cats ready to mingle with visitors on an average day.
Nuoyan Rice Wine House believes that good things take time, just like their home-brewed glutinous rice wine. There are at least five types to choose from: the original, rose, sweet olive, vanilla, and Chinese bayberry. You will have a sip of each to try before ordering.
With an intimate yet a fun underground vibe, Aurora Club attracts to more discerning patrons who likes to spend a quality night out. The decor is minimalistic and stripped down with splashes of red lighting here and there. The club host several DJ acts with a focus on tech house, deep house, disco and old-school hip-hop.
A cocktail bar located in the basement of the Soho's southeast corner, Red Dog is a colourful and bold venue with flower decorations mixed with avant-garde art and from the bar they serve equally colourful cocktails. An intimate and small place that only accommodate around 50 people and during summer there is terrace where to hang-out.
Attracting the richest clientele, Club SIR.TEEN is all about the glitz and glam and with that comes a strict dress code, so put on your finest outfit. Popular among international and local people, this elegant club is not only for dancing and mingling but also hosts dance shows, DJ acts and other exciting entertainment.
Located at the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing, Equis has something for everyone. It consists of five outlets: The Lounge, Cellar, Library, Courtyard and Imperial room and each of them offers a unique dining experience and different atmosphere. The Lounge area is more of a vibrant place with live music while Library is more quiet and elegant. From the menu you can pick everything from colourfully crafted cocktails to wines and beers.
Beijing’s top shopping centre boasts 120,000 square metres of shops and a modern ambience. It consist of shopping areas with different themes and the biggest music fountain in the city centre. It is home to well-known Western and Asian brands, and houses a Sony Science Museum and a cinema.
This is a premier choice for the city’s well-off, with all the famous designer brands from Christian Dior to Gucci represented. With an excellent array of choice in both luxury and affordable brand departments, as well as appliance boutiques and home decor shops, this is where you can fulfil all your (higher-end) shopping needs.
This chain sells high-quality tea from across the region. The friendly staff brews small cups of tea for customers to sample. The brand has promoted more than 1800 types of products, and this is where you can try the impressive traditional Chinese tea, as well as purchase tea products, tea sets, tea supplies, etc.
HongQiao Market, also known as the Pearl Market, has 3 floors of pearls and jewellery to shop for. Here you can also find electronic equipment, clothes and traditional Chinese artefacts. Browse around the shops and compare the prices, since price disparity from one shop to the next is rather common.
Qianmen Street is one of oldest and well known shopping streets of its kind in Beijing. Here you can shop for longstanding and newer brands across a large variety of stores. It is home to many old shops selling traditional Chinese goods such as fine teas, soft silk and cotton fabrics, and shoes.
Liulichang Street is great for antiquities and has been a long-time favourite among scholars and calligraphers. Shops here sell ink sticks, ink paste and other cultural goods, as well as some jewellery. If you think about taking up calligraphy, the sophisticated Chinese writing art, pay a visit to one of the stores on Liulichang to choose the most suitable equipment.
Xiushui Street literally meaning "the beautiful water Street" in Chinese, and is another popular option for clothes. It is where both tourists and locals hunt for bargain fabrics of all textures and colours, as well as other traditionally Chinese products such as silk, accessories, crafts, etc.
One of the most famous shopping streets in Beijing is located in Dongcheng District. It is 1.8 km long. Apart from some grand shopping centres like Beijing Department Store, APM, The Malls at Oriental Plaza, you can also find historic shops and curious snack vendors who sell scorpion skewers, silk worms, and deep-fried starfish. Don't forget to take a look at the traditional crafts and souvenirs.
Yandai, in English, is the Chinese smoking pipe. This 232-metre long street is the oldest shopping street in Beijing, reserving the appearance of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Shops sell different kinds of traditional crafts, such as embroidered shoes, Chinese painting, and local snacks. You can also experience taking a pulled rickshaw.
Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park comprises 19 low buildings in European architectural style with a variety of stores and a good selection of restaurants. The annual light festival in Winter fills the outdoor area with fascinating sculptures and decorative lights. Stores such as adidas, acer, Bershka, Calvin Klein, Clarks England, Gant, Gap, Lego, Levi´s and much more are all located here.
Beijing Antique City is the largest indoor antique art exchanging centre in the world, with an excellent collection of pieces. If you are an antique enthusiasts, or just want to have a look at pottery, paintings, jewellery, furniture, or carvings, this is the place for you.
The Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK/ZBAA) is located around 27 kilometres north of Beijing´s city centre. At present, the airport consists of three terminals. The cheapest way to into town is to take CAAC's comfortable airport shuttle bus. There are 18 shuttle routes. The ride takes between 40-90 minutes, depending on traffic and origin/destination. Tickets are available at the "Intracity & Inter - Provincial Shuttle Bus Ticket Vending Desk" for each terminal. The shuttles leave the airport from the 1st floor of each terminal. Buses depart every 15-30 minutes. There is also an airport express train called ABC or Airport to Beijing City. The airport express covers the 27.3 km distance between the airport and the city in 18 minutes, connecting Terminals 2 and 3, to Sanyuanxiao subway station in Line 10 and Dongzhimen subway station in Line 2. Taxi stops are located: T1: Outside Gate 1 on F1 T2: Outside Gate 5 to 9 on F1 T3: Please refer to the signs inside the terminal building
The subway is the best way to move around the city and avoid traffic jams in Beijing. Currently, there are 17 lines in operation, including the newly-opened ABC, or Airport to Beijing City airport line. Line 1 and Line 2 run through the centre of Beijing and cover most of the attractions. The subway runs from 05:00 to midnight daily. Subway stations are marked by navy blue signs with a "D" (for Ditie or subway) in a circle. Route signs are bilingual. Bus service is another option to travel around the city. With more than 900 routes, the buses take you through both the downtown and suburbs. Buses generally run from 05:00 to 23:00. You can pay with cash, coins and notes by putting the exact amount into the fare box on the bus, or pay with a transportation card. For the card, you need to tap both on and off on the bus. The transportation card in Beijing is called "Yikatong", it offers travel discounts. At the service centre in the subway stations, you can purchase and top up a Yikatong card. At major stations, you can refund the card. Keep the purchase receipt if you wish to refund later after your stay. You can also top up the card using the machines at stations.
Taxis are the default mode of transportation for most foreigners in Beijing. Have your destination written down in Chinese and hail a taxi down. Make sure there is a taximeter and it starts at its initial point. Beijing taxi drivers may speak only little English, but they are generally honest and friendly. Expect to get your change; tipping is discouraged. Taxi from the airport to the city centre takes approximately around 50 minutes, depending on the traffic. Ask for your receipt by saying "Fa-piao." The Beijing Bureau of Communications takes complaints concerning taxis, minibus or other vehicles. No operator, but an English recording that gives instructions for faxing your complaint—which of course will mitigate your anger right away. Tel No. +86 10 6835 1150.
Pharmacies are easy to locate but do mind that staff often will not speak English, so it is recommended that you bring along someone who can interpret for you, or have the name of the needed medicine written down in Chinese characters. One pharmacy staffed with English speakers is Vista Clinic, located at Kerry Centre Shopping Mall: 24hr Medical Hotline：+86（010）8529 6618