Beijing is unarguably one of the most visited places in the world. Every year finds millions of people come to Beijing to see the capital of China, a fast changing metropolitan city of old and new. Beijing is a sleepless city, so you can easily find something for you at any time for whatever you like.

There are in fact a great number of tourist attractions and historic sites in Beijing. Some of these interesting places are within walking distance, some are a bit further away. It takes quite some time to savvy everything that Beijing City has to provide. But if you only have a short stay in Beijing, you should make sure to get around the top ten places in Beijing City. In this way, you can say that you have been to Beijing City!

Culture & Heritage
Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is the ideal place for you to begin your exploration of Beijing by opening its mysterious face. With over 9,000 rooms and over 250 acres, this large palace building was built between 1406 and 1420. It burned down and was rebuilt, sacked and renovated for times, so most of the architecture you can see today dates back to the 18th century in the Qing Dynasty. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you have to walk a lot! There is a Starbucks in the palace in case you need some coffee to recharge you. I highly recommend you to have a guide. It is quite helpful to have a guide escort you and tell the stories behind the palace. If you are a non-group tourist, I suggest you rent a multi lingual guide recorder either at Meridian Gate (southern gate of Forbidden City) or the Gate of Divine Prowess (Northern gate of Forbidden City) and return it when you finish your Forbidden City Tour.

Since this is in the same area, Tiananmen Square is a few minute-walk away to the Forbidden City, which you can go to after a quick visit to Mao's Mausoleum.

Plan for at least two to three hours to see the whole museum. On average most visitors spend three to four hours; some even spend the whole day.

Opening Hours: 8:30-17:00

Address: 4 Jing Shan Qian Jie, Beijing

Summer Place

Another one of Beijing's many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Summer Palace is the largest and most well-preserved imperial garden in China. Situated around the picturesque Kunming Lake, the entire Palace spans over 700 acres. With stunning scenery, beautiful architecture and rich history, The Summer Palace is a must-see site in Beijing.

Best Season for Visitor: September & October

Opening Hours: 8:30-17:00

Address: 19 Xin Jian Gong Men Road Hai Dian District, Beijing

Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven, another of Beijing's UNESCO Heritage sites is an old imperial sacrificial altar, once visited by the Emperors to wish for good harvests. The main temple and altars are among the most iconic sites in Beijing, and located inside a large park (even larger than the Forbidden City), both the architecture and landscape here are recognized as masterpieces in their own right.

Opening Hours: 8:00–18:00

Address: Tiantan Park ,Tiyuguan Rd.Chongwen Distric ,Beijing

Great Wall at Mutianyu

One of the Seven Wonders of the World - the Great Wall is well worth the travel time it takes to visit. The question is - which segment of the wall do you go to? There are a variety of options around Beijing - the closest (and busiest) being Badaling, while the more remote stretches include Jiankou and Simatai, which are quieter but require more effort to get to. If you're stuck for choice, Mutianyu is a good middle ground. While this segment is fully restored, and still quite touristy (there is a ski lift bringing you up to the wall, and a luge slide to whizz back down); simply walk away from the main area for about 30 minutes and you'll have your own piece of the wall all to yourself.

Opening Hours: 07:30-17:30

The Lama Temple

This imposing Tibetan Buddhist temple served as the upper court of the “yellow hat” sect of Buddhism and housed monks from Tibet and Mongolia. Visitors, including pilgrims who come on key days of the lunar calendar, can buy incense at many shops near the entrance.

Opening Hours: 09:00-16:00

Address: 12 Yonghegong Dajie, Beijxinqiao, Dongcheng District, Beijing

Ming Tombs

Ming Dynasty emperors presided over China’s unification, connected various fortifications to form the Great Wall and launched great sea expeditions from 1368 to 1644. Thirteen of the 17 Ming emperors are buried here, and several tombs are open to the public.

Opening Hours: 8:30–17:30

Address: Ming Shisan Ling Area, Changling Town, Changping District, Beijing


Nanluoguxiang was built in the Yuan Dynasty and received its current name during the Qing Dynasty, around 1750. In recent years, the area's hutong has become a popular tourist destination with siheyuan, Chinese restaurants, ceramics, and antique shops. Nanluoguxiang Station of Beijing Subway opened in 2012 and is located near the south entrance of the hutong.

The Tanzhe Temple

The Tanzhe Temple (literally: "Temple of Pool and Zhe Tree") is a Buddhist temple situated in the Western Hills, a mountainous area in western Beijing. It is one of the most well-known temples in Beijing and also one of the oldest temples in Beijing.

The temple is located near China National Highway 108 in the Mentougou District of Beijing.

Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00

The Prince Gong Mansion

The Prince Gong Mansion or Prince Kung Mansion is a museum and tourist attraction located in Xicheng District, Beijing, just north of the Shichahai Lake. It consists of large siheyuan-style mansions and gardens. Originally constructed for Heshen, an official highly favored by the Qianlong Emperor, it was later renamed after Prince Gong, a Manchu prince and influential statesman of the late Qing dynasty, who inhabited the mansion in the late 19th century.

Opening Hours: 07:30-18:30

Address: 17, West Street, Qianhai, Shichahai, Xicheng District, Beijing

Great Wall of Badaling

Badaling Great Wall is the site of the most visited section of the Great Wall partly because it is close to Beijing city and connected with urban area by expressway. This section of wall is the first section opened to tourists (in 1957) after reconstructed. Badaling Great Wall shows the Great Wall as it would have looked originally, and it does not look too new. That is another reason of why most travelers choose Badaling Great Wall. There is a Great Wall Museum and Great Wall National Theater close to Badaling Great Wall. The theater offers you a chance to get a full view of the Great Wall of China.

Opening Hours: 07:00-18:00

798 Art Zone

Originally a series of 50-year old decommissioned military factories and buildings, this area has been transformed into a thriving community of contemporary artists, museums, and exhibitions. Most of the galleries are small in size, so the best thing is to explore this area on foot and get lost while exploring its side alleys, full of trendy restaurants and cafes. It's a very different vibe from the rest of Beijing.

Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00

Address: 5 Wanhong Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing

Bird’s Nest

China's National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest, as it has become known, is the world's largest steel structure and the most complex stadium ever constructed. It is "one of the key engineering marvels in the world today."

As a testament to its significance, it's on the city's north-south axis, which also includes the Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square and the Temple of Heaven, travelling south. It is on the Olympic Green about 8km from the center of Beijing.

The Bird's Nest was the main venue of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, when it had a capacity of 91,000 spectators. The stadium now has a capacity of 80,000, after temporary seating was removed.

Water Cube

The National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, is located on Olympic Green, with the Bird’s Nest Stadium, on Beijing's north-south axis. It was built as the main natatorium for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and became known as one of the Games' iconic structures. The Water Cube is 177 meters square and 30 meters high, and has a capacity of 17,000 seats (6,000 permanent and 11,000 temporary for the Olympics). During the Olympic Games, it was the main venue for swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo. It is now a multi-functional center for sports, recreation and fitness.

Shopping Area
Silk Market

There are many markets around Beijing but Silk Market is one of the most famous. The go-to place for all your typical souvenirs, clothes, knockoffs and knickknacks - this multistory modern market is a hot-spot for tourists. Buyers beware however - due to the high concentration of tourists here, stall owners have inflated their prices accordingly. Bargain hard but keep your patience, and try to have some fun!

Address: 8 Silk Street Chaoyang District, Beijing

Tel: 010-51699003

Wangfujing Pedestrian Street

Wangfujing is one of the most famous shopping streets of Beijing, China, located in Dongcheng District. The majority of the main area is pedestrianized and very popular shopping place for both tourists and residents of the capital. Since the middle of the Ming Dynasty there have been commercial activities in this place. In the Qing Dynasty, ten aristocratic estates and princess residence were built here, soon after when a well full of sweet water was discovered, thereby giving the street its name "Wang Fu" (princely residence), "Jing" (well). Many exotic foods are served on Wangfujing Snack Street.

The Place

The Place is also a place for luxury shopping and a gourmet experience. There are several open-air bars for you to relax. The Place is a blend of shopping mall, office building, space art and fashion.

Parkview Green

Address: 9 Dong Da Qiao Road Chao Yang District, Beijing


Address: 6 Chaoyang Park Road Chaoyang Distric,t Beijing

Shin Kong Place

Address: A87 Jianguo Road Chaoyang District, Beijing

China World Summit Wing

Address: 1 Jianguomenwai Avenue

Nature Life
Jingshan Park

Jingshan Park offers one of the best vantage points to see and photograph the Forbidden Palace from. A quiet park, frequented by locals, it's a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, plus it also has a significant historical context - the last Ming Emperor hung himself here, ending the Ming dynasty.

Olympic Park

The 2008 Summer Olympics were a source of National Pride for China, who invested a huge amount of resources in building beautiful facilities like the Bird's Nest Stadium, Water Cube and the surrounding Olympic Green. The views of these buildings are more beautiful at night when they're lit up.

Beihai Park

Yet another imperial-garden-turned-public-park; Beihai Park is one of the largest Chinese Gardens in Beijing. The center of the park features Jade Flower Island with its famous White Dagoba Temple, while the rest of the grounds are dotted with various other pagodas and pavilions.

Fragment Hill

Another name for Fragrance Hill is Garden of Tranquility and Pleasure. It is located in the west suburbs of Haidian District with a total area of 160 ha. and the peak of 557m high, 25km far from the central city. As a very famous garden in Beijing, it can be traced back to Jin Dynasty when the emperor built the Big Yong’an Temple, also known as Sweet Dew Temple. The emperor built his temporary dwelling palace next to this temple from one generation to another and the name Garden of Tranquility and Pleasure was given in the 10th year of Emperor Qianlong.

Beijing Botanical Garden

Beijing Botanical Garden, lying in the foot of the West Hill of Beijing, has by tradition been engaged in the conservation of the native flora, especially plants from northern, northeastern and northwestern China. Its attention is also concentrated on research, public education and recreation. 200 ha are currently opened to the public, including the living plant collections, the historic sites, and a nature reserve. Excellent displays are made monthly in the main conservatory, penjing (bonsai) garden, the arboretum and 11 outdoor gardens: tree-peony garden, peony garden, rose garden, ornamental peach garden, lilac garden, crabapple-cotoneaster garden, magnolia garden, fall color garden, perennial garden, bamboo garden and mume flower garden. There are more than 1.4 million visitors every year from domestic and oversea.

Night life
Ghost Street ( Gui Jie )

The red lanterns that line Dongzhimen Nei turn on each night about an hour before sun down, marking the rebirth of Beijing's most celebrated dining experience: Gui Jie. Although it's known as "Ghost Street" because of the ghostly spectacle of the grocery and produce night market formerly located here, Gui Jie is now one of the most alive places you can find in the city.

Back Lakes ( Hou Hai )

Houhai area bars are not downtown but are worth the trip. This area is a lot of what is left of the traditional style hutong's in Beijing. Haidian has been able to keep it's hutong's by renovating them into commercial outlets for tourists. Many small bars line the winding streets overlooking the canals that run through the area. A great place to relax and people watch. Definately worth a look.

Sanlitun Bar Street

If you're looking for a rowdy nightlife scene, this is the place. The whole street is filled with bars and nightclubs of every variety, and is always buzzing with people enjoying drinks and simply soaking up the atmosphere.