Are you planning to take a trip to Beijing, China? If so, and this is your first time, there are a lot of amazing places to see and things to do. Unless you're going with someone that has already been and has an itinerary planned, you might not know about some of the hidden treasures of China's capital city. To fully maximize your enjoyment of the experience, we've put together a guide that includes the 20 best things to do in Beijing for first timers.
20. Mitianyu Toboggan Ride
At Mutianyu Great Wall, there are plenty of fun and exciting options. You can opt to take the toboggan ride down the hill to get a full view of this portion of the Great Wall. It's more fun that doing it on foot. There are also chairlifts and cable car options available. The toboggan ride is for those who have an adventurous streak, but this ride is only available for going down the hill. You'll either have to walk back up or take the cable car or chairlift back up.
19. Visit the Forbidden City
The best way to visit the Forbidden City is to book a tour with an English speaking guide. This gives you the complete package with a tour of the Imperial Ancestral Temple as well. The knowledgeable guide tells you the history of ancient China during the tour and you can learn about the mysteries that lie behind the walls of the heritage architecture at the site. The tour is scheduled for 4 hours and it's packed with educational information and interesting attractions.
18. Eat at 1949 The Hidden City
This is a restaurant that is a must visit. It's a tourist favorite where you can enjoy the lunch bar, a Western, noodle bar, and receive fast and efficient service. You can enjoy a large variety of authentic Chinese cuisine as well as enjoying a sampling of the local beverages as you unwind and relax after your meal. This venue is located at No 4 court Gong Ti Bei Lu, Chaoyang District Beijing.
17. See the Chairman Mao Memorial
The Chairman Mao Memorial is another popular attraction in Beijing. It is also called the Mausoleum of Mae Zedong. This is the final resting place of the political leader of China's Communist Party. He served his country from 1945 until he passed away in 1976. This site is just 3 minutes by foot from Zhengyangmen.
16. Tour the National Museum
The National Museum of China is a must see for all first time visitors to the city of Beijing. It is an educational museum that is packed with informational exhibits pertaining to the history of China and the arts. This ranks among the world's largest museums so you'll want to allow plenty of time for walking through it so you won't miss anything. It's near Tiananmen Square and it would be very easy to make a day out of seeing just these two attractions.
15. Shop at the Panjiayuan Market
Panjiayuan is pronounced pinyin and it is translated into English as the Beijing Curio Market. This is one of the best places in the world to shop for curios and assorted souvenirs and gift items. It's a large area that features more than 4,000 shops and 10,000 dealers. There are five divided sections of the market that include an area dedicated to Buddhism Statures with sculptures of all sizes. There is an are where antique furniture is sold and you can get your hands on some real treasures here. There is also an elite antique store space that features "high rank" antiquities. There is an area strictly for books and scrolls sold in secondhand condition, and a middle are that is considered to be the main part of the Panjiayuan Market. You can find paintings, calligraphy, beads, jade work, bronze vessels, ceramics, wooden furniture, arts and rafts, trinkets, apparel, and more antiques.
14. Tour the Lama Temple
The Lama Temple is also known as the Yonghe Temple or the Yonghe Lamasery. This is a monastery for the Gelug school of the order of Tibetan Buddhists. It's situated in the Dongcheng District of Beijing. Here you will see some of the most amazing artwork in the temple and the building itself is a masterpiece of artistic design. The style is a mix of Tibetan and Han Chinese.
13. Tour the Summer Palace
The Summer Palace is another attraction that you won't want to miss. It is located in the Haidian District of Beijing. The Summer Palace is surrounded by gardens, lakes and palaces. It served as the Qing dynasty's imperial garden. The entire area is comprised of 2.9 square kilometers with much of the area consisting of lakes.
12. Visit Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square is an important landmark that is placed in the center of the city of Beijing. It named after Tiananmen which is north of the square and it separates it from the Forbidden City. Here you will find Tiananmen Tower, Chairman Mao's Memorial Hall, Great Hall of the People, and the Monument to the People's Heroes. While you're there, you'll marvel at Tiananmen Tower which was first built during the Ming Dynasty in 1417. It is a piece of China's ancient history and the square served as the entrance into the Forbidden City.This was an area that until 1911 was reserved only for aristocrats and the royal family, but upon the ending of the last feudal kingdom, this changed and it was opened to others.
11. Tour the Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven is a very important place of worship in Beijing. It's located in the southeastern portion of Beijing. This temple has a long and rich history, visited by Emperors from the Qing and Ming dynasties who attended the yearly ceremonies held there to pray for successful harvests. It consists of several religious buildings in a complex.
10. Shop at the Dashilan Commercial Street
The Dashilan Commercial Street is one of the most famous shopping areas in the city. You can easily access it by walking from the subway station at Qian'men and going south. It's in central Beijing and you can take a tour by foot. This is a huge commercial district and you'll find a variety of goods for sale at the local shops and temporary vendors that offer their wares for sale.
9. 798 Art Zone
If you appreciate diverse art then this is a walk that you'll definitely want to take while in Beijing. 798 Art Zone features a variety of exhibitions and art studios. There are lots of quirky shops, museums, galleries, and tattoo studios within this district. You should allow several hours if you want to see most of the shops and exhibits here. If you get hungry after looking around there are several restaurants and bars in the area.
8. Spend an afternoon at Olympic Park
Olympic Park in Beijing is one of the city's most popular attractions. It was created specifically for the 2008 Olympic games. There are so many great attractions and things to do here that you'll want to set aside several hours of your time. The Bird's Nest, and the Water Cube are impressive during night time hours. You'll marvel at the architectural structures. You can book a boat cruise, hire a bike, and explore the gardens located to the south and the north of the park.
7. Enjoy the nightlife in Sanlitun
Sanlitun is a part of Beijing that is known for its fashionable dining with upscale Chinese restaurants, and its hopping bar scene. There are plenty of great places to eat whether you prefer Chinese cuisine, or European. There are also tons of karaoke bars, nightclubs, dance halls and cocktail lounges in this district. There are also plenty of international chain stores available for shopping.Sanlitun is the ideal place for shopping and having an exciting night of fun and entertainment but be warned that the prices are a little higher in this part of town.
6. Visit the Wangfujing Market
Wangfujing Street is one of the best known places for finding unique and interesting snack foods. Here you'll find some of the weirdest snack foods on the face of the earth, but it's an experience that you will never forget. Some of the things that you can expect to find are seahorses and starfish on a stick, scorpions, and more unusual foods. If you're not into the novelties, there are some traditional authentic Beijing food offerings that are well worth trying here. You'll find amazing sweet and sour pork, dumplings, barbecue skewers, and more.
5. Sample the brews at Dongzhimen
You can find an authentic Irish bar in this part of Beijing. Paddy's Irish Bar offers Guinness and other beer selections. There are tons of other bars and restaurants. Check them all out because we're told that you can find some of the most unique and amazing beer in the world at Dongzhimen bars.
4. Stay at the Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel
This popular and affordable hotel is located within just 5 minutes of the lakes. It is a boutique hotel that features shadow puppet performances that will thrill the entire family. The hotel is beautifully decorated with attentive staff available all days of the week around the clock with whatever you may need. You can even take a complementary dumpling making class and enjoy free breakfast.
3. Tour the Imperial Palace, Gardens and Mausoleums
The Imperial Palace, Gardens and Mausoleums offers a look at the history of the great Emperors of China since the Yuan Dynasty. Tours are available through several different agencies. To get the most out of the visit to these important sites with more than 1,000 years of history behind them, we recommend going with a skilled guide for an enlightening learning experience. The ancient imperial gardens of China have been well preserved. The landscaping is immaculate. The tour will take you through Beihai Park among others, near the Forbidden City, which is the oldest and largest of China's imperial gardens.
2. Check out the Dragon Escalator
The Dragon Escalator is one of the most exciting escalators in the world and it is shaped like a dragon. It takes riders to the top of the largest dam in China and it is the largest outdoor escalator in the world. If you're really feeling adventurous you can go for a round of bungee jumping once you reach the top, but it's not required. The creators of this attraction built a display of fake animals who are poised in scary positions just to make it an interesting display. The display is on the top of a tall and scary peak to make the ride even more dramatic.
1. See the Ming Tombs
Another tourist attraction that you won't want to miss is the Ming Tombs. The tombs honor 13 emperors of China who ruled in the Ming era in Beijing. This is a great place to learn about the history of the emperors of the Ming Dynasty. There were 16 emperors during this period of time and 13 are buried here along with their wives. They were buries together with thirteen mausoleums.Here you'll find information about the Ming Dynasty period from 1368 to 1644.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn