At 8am, your private guide will pick you up from your Beijing hotel. If you're near Tiananmen Square, you'll walk to your first stop; if you're further out, your guide will accompany you on the subway (own expense).
At Tiananmen Square, the world's largest city square, see landmark buildings like the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, the Great Hall of the People, and the towering Monument to the People's Heroes. Take time to capture pictures of the square with the Forbidden City in the background as your guide explains its history.
Next, you'll walk to the Forbidden City, the imperial palace complex that was the center of the Chinese government for almost 500 years. Your guide will lead you through its grand halls and the imperial garden, a wonderful introduction to the art of Chinese landscaping.
From here, it's into Jingshan Park, with its elaborate pavilions and colorful peony garden (in season): watch tourists and locals enjoying activities like the ribbon dance. On a clear day, climb to the top of the hill for spectacular views of the Forbidden City, Drum and Bell Towers, and even the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium.
It's your choice whether to ride a taxi or a tuk-tuk (own expense) to a Beijing hutong, a narrow alleyway lined by traditional courtyard residences. Take a trip back in time as you hop aboard a rickshaw (own expense) and ride through the ancient streets: your guide will explain traditional life in the hutong. Feast on a delicious home-cooked Chinese lunch at the home of a local family: your guide will be happy to translate as you ask questions about their life.
After lunch, ride a rickshaw for an hour (own expense) to the pretty Yinding (Silver Ingot) Bridge, which links two of Beijing's most scenic lakes. Stroll beside Houhai to admire the scenery, or enjoy the cool shade under the willow trees. Your guide will introduce you to two famous restaurant brands here: Kao Rou Ji, a restaurant selling roast meat, that dates back over 150 years, and Bao Du Zhang, which has sold mutton tripe for four generations. Feel free to sample the local flavors (own expense).
At the end of your tour, you'll have some free time to explore Shichahai Bar Street, before your guide escorts you to the subway at 2pm to catch a train back to your hotel.