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3 Days in Beijing

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Beijing is rich in history and culture - with UNESCO sites around every corner, it's full of attractions, sights and areas that are literally fit for an Emperor! Read this guide to discover some of the top places to visit on your trip to Beijing, and make the most of your 3 days here.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

15 Places

8 City Tips

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15 Places

Day 1

Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang)

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Historic Sites, Lookouts, Monuments & Statues, Architectural Buildings

The Palace Museum

History Museums, Speciality Museums

Jingshan Park (Jingshan Gongyuan)

Parks, Lookouts, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Nanluoguxiang

Speciality & Gift Shops

Day 2

Great Wall at Mutianyu

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Ancient Ruins, Hiking Trails

Olympic Park

Arenas & Stadiums, Amusement & Theme Parks

798 Art Zone

Art Galleries, Neighbourhoods

New Silk Alley Market (Xiu Shui)

Speciality & Gift Shops

Sanlitun Bar Street

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Day 3

Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)

Parks, Castles, Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings, Gardens, Biking Trails, Monuments & Statues

Bell and Drum Towers

Observation Decks & Towers, Monuments & Statues, Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Back Lakes (Hou Hai)

Bodies of Water, Neighbourhoods

Beihai Park (Beihai Gongyuan)

Parks, Bodies of Water, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park)

Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Parks

Dadong Roast Duck (Nanxincang)

Restaurants

Lincoln C's City Tips

  • Give yourself a lot of time to get to attractions that are outside of the city like the Great Wall and Summer Palace. These attractions are quite far apart.
  • The subway system is a cheap and convenient way to get yourself around the city. Buy a prepaid IC Card for convenience when using public transport.
  • If you feel adventurous, bicycles are a great way to explore the neighborhoods and hutongs (courtyard homes) dotted around the city.
  • There's no need to tip for restaurants or services, unless you feel that the service has been great. High-end restaurants may automatically include service, so check your bill.
  • When shopping in tourist areas, be wary of higher prices and don't be afraid to bargain. Starting prices are typically anywhere from 2-4 times the market price of the item.
  • Make sure you look at the menu price of a dish before ordering!
  • If you speak Mandarin, add the local "er" sound when speaking to impress the locals!
  • Purchase a trendy pollution mask to fit in with the locals, and protect your lungs!
    Day 1
  • Save
    Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang)
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Historic Sites, Lookouts, Monuments & Statues, Architectural Buildings
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    Located right in the center of the city, Tiananmen Square is the infamous site of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. While there isn't much to 'do' here, it is one of the iconic places in Beijing, with much historical significance.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Great for taking the "classic Beijing photo" with the entrance of the Forbidden Palace and Mao's portrait in the background.
    • There is a flag-raising ceremony in the middle of the square every morning at sunrise. Although early, the ceremony is still buzzing with tourists and tour buses.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    • Definitely worth a visit, but very busy. 28/08/2015
    • Huge happening square! 28/08/2015
    • Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang)
    Address:
    West Changan Street, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100006
    China
    Phone:
    0678745798
  • Save
    The Palace Museum
    History Museums, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    The Palace Museum, or the Forbidden Palace is the historical home of the Emperor of China, having been the center of Chinese government for over 500 years. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is one of the largest and most well preserved palace complexes in the world, and no visit to Beijing is complete without a stop-off here.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking to do here.
    • There are some areas and exhibits within the complex that require additional tickets to access.
    • The complex can get quite busy at times, but it's large enough to avoid the large crowds. Go early in the morning to beat the rush.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Historical splendour of the emperors of China 28/08/2015
    • Must go 28/08/2015
    • The Palace Museum
    Address:
    No.4 Jingshanqian Street, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100009
    China
    Phone:
    010-85007422, 85007421
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    8:30 - 1:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Jingshan Park (Jingshan Gongyuan)
    Parks, Lookouts, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    Once the Emperor's private imperial gardens, 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.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Entrance fee is very reasonable!
    • Great for observing local life - you'll see people practicing tai chi, calligraphy, dancing and other hobbies.
    • Hike up to the highest point of the park (10-15 minutes' walk) at sunset for great views of the Forbidden Palace.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fabulous Views 28/08/2015
    • beautiful park with nice views 27/08/2015
    • Jingshan Park (Jingshan Gongyuan)
    Address:
    No.44 Jingshanxi Street, Xicheng District
    Beijing 100009
    China
    Phone:
    010-64038098
    Other:
  • Save
    Nanluoguxiang
    Speciality & Gift Shops
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    Once off-the beaten path, this trendy area has slowly turned into a more mainstream attraction in recent years, full of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. Although it can get busy at times, it's still a cute area to walk around and explore. The shops here offer a more unique selection of items than the traditional markets (albeit probably at higher prices), and the hip bars and cafes dotted along the alleyways, are always buzzing in the evenings.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Lots of bars have rooftop patios that are great for escaping from street level.
    • Many popular hostels are located in this area.
    • Leave the main NanLuoGuXiang strip and explore the side streets to find some hidden gems.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 290 Shopping in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great atmosphere, beautiful shops 19/08/2015
    • Top Hutong 18/08/2015
    • Nanluoguxiang
    Address:
    Nanluoguo Xiang, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100009
    China
  • Day 2
  • Save
    Great Wall at Mutianyu
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Ancient Ruins, Hiking Trails
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • There are public buses that can take you to Mutianyu as well - a quick google search will help find clear directions.
    • The easiest way to get here is to book a car or a taxi, and ask the driver to wait for you while you visit. It's best to pay 50% up front, and 50% after your return journey.
    • The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu is a cozy, well known Western style restaurant/cafe. Though a little pricey, it has a nice environment to relax in.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good, but super touristic 29/08/2015
    • Tips on visiting Mutianyu 29/08/2015
    • Great Wall at Mutianyu
    Address:
    Mutianyu Road, Huairou District
    Beijing
    China
    Other:
  • Save
    Olympic Park
    Arenas & Stadiums, Amusement & Theme Parks
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Ask your driver to drop by on the way back from the Great Wall for a quick visit and photo session.
    • There is a convenient Metro station nearby.
    • To see inside the Water Cube or Bird's Nest Stadium, there are additional entrance fees.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #71 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    • Bird Nest and Water Cube 28/08/2015
    • Impressive structural building 27/08/2015
    • Olympic Park
    Address:
    North of Beisihuanzhong road, Chaoyang District
    Beijing 100101
    China
    Phone:
    010-96105
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 - 6:30
    Other:
  • Save
    798 Art Zone
    Art Galleries, Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    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!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Do some research to see if there are any specific exhibitions or galleries that you would like to visit.
    • Most galleries are closed on Mondays.
    • It's a bit difficult to find as many taxi drivers don't know where the location is. Print out the name/map in Chinese to be safe.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Interesting and creative 27/08/2015
    • Interesting visit if you have enough time. Takes a while to get there. 26/08/2015
    • 798 Art Zone
    Address:
    No.4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
    Beijing 100015
    China
    Phone:
    010-59789798
    Other:
  • Save
    New Silk Alley Market (Xiu Shui)
    Speciality & Gift Shops
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    There are many markets around Beijing but Xiu Shui Jie 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!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Thrifty Traveller
    Tips
    • Going at non-peak hours makes it easier to bargain,
    • There are typically many stalls selling the same item, so check prices before making your purchase.
    • Easily accessible by Metro - the market sits right above the Yonganli Metro station.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 290 Shopping in Beijing
    • Not just silk! 25/08/2015
    • Good Shopping Spot, But Not The Cheapest 25/08/2015
    • New Silk Alley Market (Xiu Shui)
    Address:
    No.8 Xiushui East Street, Chaoyang District
    Beijing 100600
    China
    Phone:
    010-51699003
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:30 - 6:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Sanlitun Bar Street
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • While generally quite a safe area, use your common sense and keep your wits about you.
    • Beware that some bars here use fake hard liquor - if it's too cheap, it's probably too good to be true, and you may be in for an unpleasant hangover the next morning!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #137 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    • some good drinking venues around the area 23/08/2015
    • Cheesy bar street 10/08/2015
    • Sanlitun Bar Street
    Address:
    No.46 Jiuba Street, Chaoyang District
    Beijing 100020
    China
    Phone:
    010-64155812
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    0:00 - 9:30
  • Day 3
  • Save
    Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)
    Parks, Castles, Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings, Gardens, Biking Trails, Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Taking a boat ride across the lake to the other side is a fun way to cover more ground.
    • Buying a map is worth the investment as the palace grounds are huge.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very nice walk 29/08/2015
    • Beautiful Palace 28/08/2015
    • Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)
    Address:
    19 Xin-jian-gong-men Rd, Haidian District
    Beijing 100084
    China
    Phone:
    010-62881144
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    6:30 - 3:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Bell and Drum Towers
    Observation Decks & Towers, Monuments & Statues, Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    The Bell and Drum Towers were once used to announce time, having been the official timekeepers of the city. Now they lie in the middle of a trendy area of well preserved traditional hutongs (typical Beijing courtyard houses) - a great place to explore by foot or bicycle and get lost in. There are hidden gems around every corner, great rooftop cafes and patios to enjoy, and despite it becoming a popular tourist attraction, this neighborhood still retains its historical charm and local roots.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    Tips
    • The Drum and Bell Cafe, and several other cafes dotted around the courtyard of the Bell and Drum Towers, have great rooftop patios for soaking up the atmosphere.
    • The steps up to the towers are quite steep and narrow. Take the necessary precautions if traveling with children or the elderly.
    • You can pay admission to climb up the Bell Tower and Drum Tower (separate admissions); the vantage points are similar but there are different historical artifacts inside each.
    • The Drum Tower offers regular drum performances by their in-house troupe of drummers.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #96 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    • Time it for a performance 26/08/2015
    • If you can manage the steps the Drum solo is worth it! 24/08/2015
    • Bell and Drum Towers
    Address:
    Di'anmen Wai Main Street, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100006
    China
  • Save
    Back Lakes (Hou Hai)
    Bodies of Water, Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    These man made lakes - once part of the Emperor's gardens in imperial times - are now a picturesque tourist attraction, with many bars, cafes and restaurants dotted around their circumference. The surrounding neighborhood also contains some of the city's most famous hutongs, and makes for a great area to explore on foot or by bike.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Some parts of the lake have unfortunately been turned into noisy night club districts - stay away if you're looking for some peace and quiet!
    • Rickshaw drivers offering rickshaw tours around the lakes and the surrounding neighborhoods.
    • The lakes are actually composed of three lakes Hou Hai (Back Lake), Qian Hai (Front Lake) and Xi Hai (West Lake). Houhai is the most developed of the three.
    • The Former Residence of Soong Ching-ling and Prince Gong Mansion are in this neighborhood, and are open to visitors. Entrance fees apply.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good evening location 28/08/2015
    • here you can see everything 28/08/2015
    • Back Lakes (Hou Hai)
    Address:
    Shicha Lake Scenic Resort, Xicheng District
    Beijing 100009
    China
    Other:
  • Save
    Beihai Park (Beihai Gongyuan)
    Parks, Bodies of Water, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Admission fees apply.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #14 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Relaxing in this beautiful garden 28/08/2015
    • Nice and beautiful park, but crowded 27/08/2015
    • Beihai Park (Beihai Gongyuan)
    Address:
    No.1 Wenjin Street, Xicheng District
    Beijing 100000
    China
    Phone:
    010-64040610
    Price range:
    $0 - $0
    Other:
  • Save
    Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park)
    Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Parks
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    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.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Different admission packages grant you access to the different altars inside the park.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A Temple for the Harvest 28/08/2015
    • Magnificent building 28/08/2015
    • Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park)
    Address:
    Tiantan Road, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100050
    China
    Phone:
    86-10-67028866
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    6:00 - 5:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Dadong Roast Duck (Nanxincang)
    Restaurants (Chinese, Beijing Specialties)
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    A trip to Beijing isn't complete without some Peking Duck! The choices for where to eat this popular dish in Beijing are plentiful, but a personal favorite of mine is the Da Dong chain, and in particular, its newest branch located at Nanxincang. Nanxincang itself was once an imperial granary and warehouse, recently transformed into a fine dining area. With a lot of the original architecture incorporated into the new design, you can enjoy an authentic historic atmosphere as you enjoy equally delicious cuisine.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    Tips
    • Dining in off-peak hours will help you avoid the crowds; there are multiple other locations around the city as well.
    • Make a reservation before you go, as the restaurant is extremely popular, and always has long lines. (They do offer wine and refreshments in the waiting area however.)
    • For dessert, the candied bananas are absolutely delicious.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #16 of 4,684 restaurants in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Da-Lightful 29/08/2015
    • Excellent food and presentation 28/08/2015
    • Dadong Roast Duck (Nanxincang)
    Address:
    1-2 Nanxincang Guoji Dasha, 22A Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng district
    Beijing 100007
    China
    Phone:
    010-51690329
    Price range:
    $15 - $20
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 - 7:30
    Other:
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