Enter the Dragon: 10 Best Attractions to See in Beijing

The sprawling capital of China is knee-deep in history and is teaming with interesting things to gawk at, explore or poke around on.

You can admire sections the magnificent Great Wall of China right from your hotel room (check in Commune by the Great Wall), or have a bite of the curious dumplings and pancakes cooked by jolly aunties right by the street. You'll witness the grandeur of the imperial palace, praying sites and necropolis that had inspired numerous Chinese emperors or the liveliness in the buzzing maze of hutong alleyways, a lifestyle that's fast disappearing in modern China.

The Great Wall of China is the most astonishing site of all attractions. The wall itself was a symbol of power and might and represents the amazing organizational skills of the emperor's architects. You can visit the Wall either at the more touristy sections (Badaling, Juyongguan, Simatai and Mutianyu), or the unrestored wild sections off the beaten path (Huanghuacheng, Gubeikou, Jiankou).

The Forbidden City is also an astonishing feat of engineering. It was home to China's last 24 emperors during Ming and Qing Dynasty as they struggled from bad times to good and back again. Although the palace has been restored, you can see the magnificence it must have inspired in ancient eras. The Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace, likewise, inspire awe and wonder and lead any tourist to ponder the future world order when gazing at the organization of the Chinese past.

Ming Tombs

Located about 50 kilometers northwest of Beijing city center, The Ming Dynasty Tombs are a must-do for history buffs. Spare at least half day touring this massive 40-square-kilometer necropolis, situated at the base of the delightfully named...  Read More

Having occupied the former premises of an electronic factory in north-east Beijing since 2001, 798 houses a large number of art studios, design firms, fashion stores and is a pioneer in China's contemporary art scene. The 600,000-square-meter...  Read More

Five year after the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the sleek and modern Olympic facilities have become the city's hottest modern attractions. The main stadiums are in Chaoyang District in northern Beijing about 30 minutes drive from Tian'anmen...  Read More

Xi Cheng District
Bei Hai Gongyuan

Beihai is one of the loveliest open spaces in Beijing and is only a relaxing retreat away from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Stroll through it, you'll see a different side of Beijing featuring taichi-practicing grandpas, red...  Read More

Temple of Heaven Park
Photo courtesy of Temple of Heaven

For about 500 years from the 15th to 19th century, the Chinese emperors would lead processions on every winter solstice to the Temple of Heaven to perform rites and make sacrifices for the God of Heaven in order to be blessed with a fortunate...  Read More

Summer Palace

Situated in northwestern Beijing, the UNESCO World Heritage site was first built in 1750 as the imperial garden of the Qing emperors. After it was destroyed by the English and French armies in 1860, Dowager Empress Cixi shelled out a fortune to...  Read More

Hutong is the traditional form of residence of Beijingers. Dating back for nearly a century, these tiny alleyways are becoming an attraction of on their own right as they are fast disappearing due to urbanization. A typical Hutong usually stands...  Read More

Qianmen District
Tiananmen Square

Every day, thousands of visitors descend on the Tian'anmen Square from all parts of China to feel the country's beating heart. And of course to snap a selfie. The largest plaza in the world, the 440,000-square-meter complex was the gateway into...  Read More

The Forbidden City

Occupying roughly 72,3600 square meters in size, the yellow-roofed and red-walled Forbidden City is the largest wooden palace in the world and was home to the last 24 emperors of China in the past 500 years. Today, the magnificent complex houses...  Read More

The formidable fortification is what makes a journey to China complete. The fortress spans a total length of 8,851.8 kilometers, snaking from the country's eastern coast deep into the Gobi Dessert, but the Wall near the capital are the most...  Read More


Meet Tracy You Xiaoying

Tracy You Xiaoying is a bilingual journalist based in the United Kingdom. She writes culture, travel and lifestyle articles about China and Britain in English and Chinese.

A born-and-bred...  More About Tracy You

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