As the second largest city and the capital of China, Beijing is always the first choice for many travelers to begin learning about the beauty of culture, history, and the people of China. Which destinations to explore in such a big city? So, where to go in Beijing, where to visit in Beijing, where to travel in Beijing? Let’s check out our top rated 15+ top places to visit in Beijing, best places to go in Beijing, best places to see in Beijing, best places to visit in Beijing, famous places to visit in Beijing, must go places in Beijing, must see places in Beijing and must visit places in Beijing as follows!
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Let’s find out the top 15+ prominent destinations that you must visit when traveling to Beijing.
The Palace Museum, Forbidden City (# best places to visit in beijing)
Forbidden City, also known as the Imperial Palace, is located in the center of Beijing. This was the palace of the royal dynasties from the middle period of the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty in China. In 1961, it was recognized as one of the first national cultural relics. This place was recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage in 1987. Housed in the Forbidden City is the Palace Museum.
The Forbidden City is considered a symbol of ancient Chinese imperial power. The Forbidden City was built during the Yongle period, Ming Dynasty (1406–1420 AD). Covering an area of about 720,000 square meters, this is also the largest and most intact wooden building complex in the world.
To get to the Imperial Palace, you will need to pass through Tiananmen Square, which is located behind Jingsan Mountain with Wangfujing Market to the East and Zhongnanhai Market to the West. According to Chinese feng shui and astrology, the Ziwei Temple dating back to the Middle Ages is the home of the Jade Emperor, corresponding to heaven and earth. The third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Xi, decided to move the capital to Beijing and built this palace.
In its more than 500-year history, a total of 24 emperors lived here. Surrounding the Imperial Palace is a 10-meter-high wall and a 52-meter-wide moat. Today, the Forbidden City is widely open to tourists for sightseeing activities, and this is also the top place to visit when traveling to Beijing.
- Address: 4 Jingshan Front St, Dong Cheng Qu, Bei Jing Shi, China, 100009
- Ticket price:
Normally RMB 40 per person and RMB 60 per person during peak season
Treasure display palace: RMB 10 per person
Clock display palace: RMB 10 per person
- Hours: 8:30 AM – 5 PM (April – October) / 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (November – March)
- Bus routes: No. 1, 4, 20, 52, 57; Tram 101, 103, 109; or subway
Summer Palace (# best places to see in beijing)
This palace was built during the Qing Dynasty, located 15 kilometers west of central Beijing. This place is famous for its typical Chinese garden architecture. It is also the most intact royal palace in China to date. This place has one of the four most famous flower gardens in China. The area of Summer Palace is about 290 hectares. Summer Palace’s design is inspired by Kunming Lake, Wanshou Mountain, Hangzhou’s West Lake, and so on.
It was constructed between 1750 and 1764, and three-quarters of the area is water. Summer Palace is known as Yiheyuan with a history of more than 800 years. The name Yiheyuan also means a garden that nurtures peace. In the past, this was the place where the royal family enjoyed visiting for pleasure and entertainment. In 1998, Summer Palace was honored to be recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage.
This place has been open to welcome visitors continuously since 1924. To visit the entire area would take you all day because there are many different attractions for you to explore and admire within the grounds of Summer Palace. The Eastern Palace Gate is where the Qing emperor discussed government affairs, hosted ministers, organized activities, and enjoyed music with large stages. The Hall of Joy and Longevity and Kunming Lake offer natural sceneries with blooming flower gardens where the emperor came to rest and admire the beautiful views. In addition, there are other locations such as Suzhou Street, Tower of Buddhist Incense, and so on.
- Address: 19 Xinjiangongmen Rd, Haidian District, China, 100091
- Ticket price: RMB 20 per person and RMB 40-50 per person during peak season
- Hours: 6 AM – 8 PM (April – October) / 6:30 AM – 7 PM (November – March)
- Bus routes: No. 301, 303, 330, 332, 333, 346, 362, 375, 384, 394, 716, 718, 801, 817, 904
Great Wall of China (# best places to go in beijing)
The Great Wall of China or the Great Wall is the common name for many ramparts that stretch about 8,851 kilometers from East to West. It passes through provinces and cities such as Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Gansu, and so on.
The Great Wall has an average height of 7 meters above the ground. The wall is 5-6 meters wide and was built from earth and stone during the 5th century BC and the 16th century to protect ancient China from attacks by the Huns, Mongols, Tujue, and other nomadic tribes from the regions that are now part of Mongolia and Manchuria.
In 1987, the Great Wall became a world heritage site recognized by UNESCO. In addition, it is also on the list of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.” People believe that the Great Wall is China’s greatest man-made wonder, which also plays an important role throughout the country’s more than 5,000-year history.
Note: There are many opinions that the Great Wall can be seen from space but some American experts and astronauts have proven the opposite. They assert that there is no artificial structure that can be seen from outer space without supporting equipment. This has been agreed upon by China, and the country has corrected information in its publications and textbooks.
- Address: Yanqing District, China, 102112
- Ticket price: RMB 35 per person (low season October – December), RMB 40 per person (peak season March – June)
- Hours: 9 AM – 4:30 PM
- Bus routes: No. 1, 4, 5
Great Wall of Badaling
The Great Wall is one of the greatest architectural works in the entire world with the longest history, the most cultural significance, the most magnificent buildings, and the most beautiful landscapes. Badaling Ancient is one of the highlights of the Great Wall. Every year, thousands of tourists from all over the world come to visit this pass. Currently, the length of the Great Wall at Badaling is 3,741 kilometers. You can visit the attraction in all four seasons of the year. This place was officially open for visitors to explore in 1958 and soon became part of the Great Wall most visited by tourists.
- Address: Yanqing District, China, 102112
- Ticket price: RMB 35 (low season), RMB 40 (peak season)
- Hours: 7:30 AM – 6 PM
Temple of Heaven – Tiantan Park (# must visit places in beijing)
This is a complex of buildings in Southeast Beijing, east of Yondingmennei Road, Chongwen District. With a total area of up to 2.7 million square meters, this is one of the largest ancient locations for offerings in China. People’s Cultural Place located on the east side of Tiananmen Square was formerly a royal place to worship ancestors while Zhongshan Park on the west side was formerly agricultural land governed by Shennong.
Among the ancient temples of worship in Beijing, the Temple of Heaven is considered the largest and most extraordinary building. It was built in the 18th year of Ming Emperor Yongle (1420) and was later renovated by Emperor Qianlong and Guangxu. This is where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties in the past chose to hold rituals for worshipping heaven in Beijing and praying for a good harvest.
The Temple of Heaven consists of 3 building complexes: The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven, and The Circular Mound Altar. On the winter solstice every year, the emperor and all his courtiers come here to conduct rituals to pray for good harvests and favorable weather.
In 1998, the Temple of Heaven was recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The Temple of Heaven is a famous beautiful tourist destination in Beijing and is also the largest of the four remaining platforms: Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Earth, and Temple of the Moon.
- Address: 1 Tiantan E Rd, Dong Cheng Qu, China, 100061
- Ticket price: RMB 10 (low season), RMB 15 (peak season)
- Hours: 6 AM – 8 PM
Wangfujing Street (# must see places in beijing)
The street stretching about 3 miles from East Chang’an Road to the China Art Museum is considered the most famous commercial zone in Beijing. During the Liao and Jin dynasties, Wangfujing was just a small village. Then, from the Yuan Dynasty to the Ming Dynasty, this place eventually developed with up to 10 new palaces being built. Wangfujing was renamed Shiwangfu Street.
If you want to visit the busiest place in Beijing, let’s go to Wangfujing. You can purchase many items here from clothes to jewelry. The attraction is considered a “golden land” in the true sense.
- Address: Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing, China, 100006
Tiananmen Square (# top places to visit in beijing)
Tiananmen is Beijing’s largest square named after “Tiananmen” – the city gate on the north that separates it from the Forbidden City. This square is about 880 meters long and about 500 meters wide, making a total area of 440,000 square meters. Its capacity is up to 1 million people, naming it the largest square in the world. This place once marked an important milestone in Beijing’s history with the May Fourth Movement, the December 9th Movement, and the 2020 Movement. You will find the Monument to the People’s Heroes here. The Great Hall of People is on the west side of the square, on the east is the National Museum of China and Museum of Chinese History, and on the south is the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall.
Tiananmen Square constructed in 1414 is a symbol of Beijing tourism in particular and China in general. After the 1911 Revolution, the place was rebuilt and expanded, and in 1958, it was rebuilt on a larger scale. Tiananmen Square is surrounded by red walls, located between two majestic and massive gates Qianmen to the south and Tiananmen to the north.
Along the square are architectural works of other famous historical sites in Beijing such as the Great Hall of People, the Museum of Chinese History, and Chang’an Avenue. Coming to visit Tiananmen Square, you should stop by Mao Zedong’s mausoleum and the Heroes’ mausoleum to better understand the history of the country.
- Address: Located in the city center, surrounded by other historical relics such as Qianmen, Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, and so on
- Ticket price: RMB 15 per person
- Hours: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
- Bus routes: No. 1, 4, 20, 52, 57
Peking University (# where to visit in beijing)
It is the most comprehensive university in China with many different majors from science and technology to humanities and medicine. The school was founded in 1898 as the first university established by the Central Government and is considered the beginning of modern Chinese education.
At the time of its establishment, it was the most prestigious school and the highest educational administrative body in China, a continuation of ancient Chinese higher education in modern life. This is also the earliest place to spread Marxism and Democratic Science in China.
- Address: 5 Yiheyuan Rd, Hai Dian Qu, Bei Jing Shi, China, 100871
Yunmengshan National Forest Park
Mt. Yunmengshan, meaning Little Yellow Mountain, is located at the intersection of Miyun and Huarou counties. It was formerly known as Yunmengshan Mountain, a famous tourist destination on the outskirts of Beijing. This is also the most famous national forest park in Beijing. Visitors will have the opportunity to admire the magnificence of nature with high mountain ranges covered by white clouds, deep valleys, mountain peaks with many different shapes, and beautiful waterfalls like a strand of hair with lots of rich and rare species of flora and fauna.
The total area of Yunmengshan is around 2,208 hectares with the main peak reaching 1,414 meters above sea level. The climate here is also very cool, fluctuating 6.7 degrees Celsius lower than in the delta. This is a favorite picnic spot for Beijing people in the summer with an average temperature of only 20 – 24 degrees Celsius.
- Address: HM4J+349, Miyun District, Beijing, China, 101513
Bird’s Nest Stadium – The National Stadium
It is a unique architectural work expressing the concept of “science and technology, greenery and humanity” and is also one of the top 10 stadiums with the most unique architecture in the world. The Bird’s Nest is located on the grounds of Beijing Olympic Park with a total area of 11.59 square kilometers. The stadium was built to serve the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is expected to be used again for the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics.
The main structure of the project is created by two structural systems: The main load-bearing structural system includes 24 columns (hollow steel columns) and steel truss, arranged according to strict, geometric principles. Surrounding the main load-bearing system is a system of secondary bars, whose layout looks random. This secondary grid system has a diagrid shape, tilted outward in height (at an angle of 13 degrees compared to the vertical) and gradually curved, converging inside the field to support the roof of the stands. It is the tilted and twisted structure of these secondary mesh systems that create the image of sticks and fibers woven together in bird nests.
- Address: 1 Guojiatiyuchang S Rd, Chao Yang Qu, China, 100101, at the northern end of the city center axis.
This avenue is located on the main East-West axis of Beijing City, running along from Jianguomen to the west to Fungximen, and Tiananmen Square is located to the north. This is also considered “The First Street of China.” The avenue was built during the Ming Dynasty in the period from 1406 to 1420 at the same time as the Imperial Palace.
The 8-kilometer-long axis of Chang’an Avenue was an important part of the plan for building the capital of Beijing during the Ming Dynasty. The symbol of China – Tiananmen Square – is located on Chang’an Avenue. This avenue also encompasses both sides of the Great Hall of People, Zhongnahai, and many other central offices.
Hutong Old Town
Located right in the city center with an area of over 60 square kilometers, this neighborhood is the clearest expression of Beijing’s formation and development over 800 years. To this day, many roads, alleys, or siheyuan (an ancient square-shaped architectural style, the four sides are tiled houses with a unique structural entrance gate), everything is still preserved perfectly.
Formed and constructed during the Yuan Dynasty, Hutong Old Town is a piece of the soul of the capital Beijing even though it has been through many years. The ancient, mossy roofs with remaining old features plus the location next to the Forbidden City make this place even more attractive in the eyes of tourists.
Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty are located in Changping District, about 42 kilometers north-northwest of the center of Beijing. This is a collection of mausoleums built by Ming dynasty emperors throughout Chinese history.
This tomb complex is located on the southern slope of Tianshou Mountain, based on the feng shui principles of the third Ming emperor, Ming Chengzu. After building the Imperial Palace or the Forbidden City in 1420, he chose the location and built his mausoleum. The Ming Dynasty emperors later built their tombs in the same valley area with a total of 13 emperors, 23 empresses, and many other concubines choosing to be buried there.
Currently, the Ming Tombs are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Ming-Qing Royal Tombs.
- Address: 764F+3C3, Changchi Rd, Chang Ping Qu, China, 102200
- Ticket price:
Changling Tomb: RMB 30-45
Dingling Tomb: RMB 40-60
- Hours: 8 AM – 5:30 PM
China Central Television Tower (CCTV)
With an overall height reaching 405 meters, CCTV is one of the tallest towers in the world and if you are not afraid of heights, let’s go to the observatory at 238 meters where you can see the entire landscape of Beijing. It will be an interesting experience. You can also use binoculars to observe the Forbidden City and Summer Palace in the distance.
China Central Television Tower is located in the Haidian District, near Gongzhufen Railway Station. This is not only the headquarters of China Central Television (CCTV) but also a tourist destination you cannot miss when traveling to Beijing. A small note is that to visit the tower, you must buy a ticket to go to the top floors. However, visitors will receive free admission tickets when dining at the restaurant.
- Address: 32 E 3rd Ring Middle Rd, 呼家楼 Chaoyang, China, 100020
- Ticket price: RMB 90
- Hours: 8:30 AM – 10 PM
In addition to the list of the top 15+ most famous landmarks in Beijing that we have compiled above, there are still many other interesting places for you to explore such as Jiu Men Snack Street, China National Opera House, Beijing National Aquatics Center, and so on. We hope you have a great experience in Beijing!
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Read more Bejing guide: Beijing travel blog — The fullest Beijing travel guide for first-timers