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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 Traveler
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

15 Places

8 City Tips

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Map

15 Places

Day 1

Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang)

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

Forbidden City-The Palace Museum

Architectural Buildings, History Museums, Specialty Museums

Jingshan Park (Jingshan Gongyuan)

Parks, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Lookouts

Nanluoguxiang

Gift & Specialty Shops

Day 2

Great Wall at Mutianyu

Ancient Ruins, Hiking Trails, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Olympic Park

Theme Parks, Arenas & Stadiums

798 Art Zone

Art Galleries, Neighborhoods

New Silk Alley Market (Xiu Shui)

Gift & Specialty Shops

Sanlitun Bar Street

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Day 3

Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)

Architectural Buildings, Castles, Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Gardens

Bell and Drum Towers

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

Back Lakes (Hou Hai)

Neighborhoods, Bodies of Water

Beihai Park (Beihai Gongyuan)

Parks, Bodies of Water, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park)

Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Parks

Dadong Roast Duck (Nanxincang)

Restaurants

Lincoln C's City Tips

  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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)
    Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Lookouts
    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
    • 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.
    • Great for taking the "classic Beijing photo" with the entrance of the Forbidden Palace and Mao's portrait in the background.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #29 of 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    • It's an empty space, god damnit! 12/07/2016
    • Enormous Square Seeping with History 12/07/2016
    • Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang)
    Address:
    West Changan Street, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100006
    China
    Phone:
    0678745798
    Other:
  • Save
    Forbidden City-The Palace Museum
    Architectural Buildings, History Museums, Specialty 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 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Once is not enough 12/07/2016
    • Beijing Must See! 12/07/2016
    • Forbidden City-The Palace Museum
    Address:
    No.4 Jingshanqian Street, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100009
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 8500 7422
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    8:30 am - 3:30 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    Jingshan Park (Jingshan Gongyuan)
    Parks, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Lookouts
    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 Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • 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.
    • Entrance fee is very reasonable!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #14 of 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best view of the Forbidden City 12/07/2016
    • Little hiking to the top of mountain seeing the landscape view of Forbbidden city 12/04/2016
    • Jingshan Park (Jingshan Gongyuan)
    Address:
    No.44 Jingshanxi Street, Xicheng District
    Beijing 100009
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 6403 8098
    Other:
  • Save
    Nanluoguxiang
    Gift & Specialty 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 Traveler
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Leave the main NanLuoGuXiang strip and explore the side streets to find some hidden gems.
    • Lots of bars have rooftop patios that are great for escaping from street level.
    • Many popular hostels are located in this area.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 299 Shopping in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Under construction in November 2016 11/24/2016
    • Nanluoguxiang 11/20/2016
    • Nanluoguxiang
    Address:
    Nanluoguo Xiang, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100009
    China
  • Day 2
  • Save
    Great Wall at Mutianyu
    Ancient Ruins, Hiking Trails, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    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 Traveler
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • 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.
    • 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.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Enjoy the Great Wall View 12/07/2016
    • Amazing, mind-blowing, COLD 12/07/2016
    • Great Wall at Mutianyu
    Address:
    Mutianyu Road, Huairou District
    Beijing
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 6162 6022
    Other:
  • Save
    Olympic Park
    Theme Parks, Arenas & Stadiums
    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 Traveler
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • To see inside the Water Cube or Bird's Nest Stadium, there are additional entrance fees.
    • There is a convenient Metro station nearby.
    • Ask your driver to drop by on the way back from the Great Wall for a quick visit and photo session.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #34 of 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great achievement 12/02/2016
    • Just pass by to see where the games took place 11/30/2016
    • Olympic Park
    Address:
    North of Beisihuanzhong road, Chaoyang District
    Beijing 100101
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 96105
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    798 Art Zone
    Art Galleries, Neighborhoods
    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
    • 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.
    • Do some research to see if there are any specific exhibitions or galleries that you would like to visit.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #21 of 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Another Face of China 12/04/2016
    • Best for art lovers 11/29/2016
    • 798 Art Zone
    Address:
    No.4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
    Beijing 100015
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 5978 9798
    Other:
  • Save
    New Silk Alley Market (Xiu Shui)
    Gift & Specialty 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 Traveler
    Tips
    • Easily accessible by Metro - the market sits right above the Yonganli Metro station.
    • 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.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 299 Shopping in Beijing
    • DO NOT RECOMMEND 11/26/2016
    • shopping paradise 11/25/2016
    • New Silk Alley Market (Xiu Shui)
    Address:
    No.8 Xiushui East Street, Chaoyang District
    Beijing 100600
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 5169 9003
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:30 am - 9:00 pm
    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 Traveler
    • 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 #67 of 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    • Vibrant locale 11/15/2016
    • Great Place to Relax 11/08/2016
    • Sanlitun Bar Street
    Address:
    No.46 Jiuba Street, Chaoyang District
    Beijing 100020
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 6415 5812
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 am - 12:00 am
  • Day 3
  • Save
    Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)
    Architectural Buildings, Castles, Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Gardens
    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 #4 of 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • One of my favorite park in Beijing 12/07/2016
    • Refreshing 12/07/2016
    • Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)
    Address:
    19 Xin-jian-gong-men Rd, Haidian District
    Beijing 100084
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 6288 1144
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    6:30 am - 6:00 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    Bell and Drum Towers
    Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Observation Decks & Towers, 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 Traveler
    • 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.
    • The Drum Tower offers regular drum performances by their in-house troupe of drummers.
    • 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.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #37 of 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fascinating experience nestled in the heart of a modern Beijing 12/04/2016
    • Exciting Drumming and Great Views 11/30/2016
    • Bell and Drum Towers
    Address:
    Di'anmen Wai Main Street, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100006
    China
    Other:
  • Save
    Back Lakes (Hou Hai)
    Neighborhoods, Bodies of Water
    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
    • 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.
    • Rickshaw drivers offering rickshaw tours around the lakes and the surrounding neighborhoods.
    • 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!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #31 of 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Surprisingly pleaseant 11/22/2016
    • Hou Hai is also known as Shichahai. 11/21/2016
    • 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 Traveler
    • 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 #16 of 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely Park 11/24/2016
    • Peaceful escape in a busy city 11/24/2016
    • Beihai Park (Beihai Gongyuan)
    Address:
    No.1 Wenjin Street, Xicheng District
    Beijing 100000
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 6404 0610
    Other:
  • Save
    Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park)
    Sacred & 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 #6 of 1,600 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • One of my favorite parks in Beijing 12/07/2016
    • Recommended by our Guide and was worth it 12/07/2016
    • Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park)
    Address:
    Tiantan Road, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100050
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 6702 8866
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    6:00 am - 8:00 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    Dadong Roast Duck (Nanxincang)
    Restaurants (Chinese, Asian)
    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 Traveler
    Tips
    • For dessert, the candied bananas are absolutely delicious.
    • 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.)
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 5,412 restaurants in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fine dining with a decent price 12/07/2016
    • excellent! 12/06/2016
    • Dadong Roast Duck (Nanxincang)
    Address:
    1-2 Nanxincang Guoji Dasha, 22A Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng district
    Beijing 100007
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 5169 0329
    Price range:
    $15 - $20
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 am - 10:00 pm
    Other:
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