What to do and see in Beijing, China: The Best Places and Tips

March 8, 2018 Jeremy Dunfee

Welcome to a capital city whose story goes back at least 3000 years. In Beijing, you'll find a wealth of history, both ancient (the Hall of Preserving Harmony, Summer Palace, Forbidden City) and more recent (Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, Tiananmen Square). For the best market experience, choose the Dirt Market over the touristy Silk Market. A visit to the Great Wall, the longest manmade structure in the world, is absolutely essential.
Restaurants in Beijing

1. Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu Road, Huairou District, Beijing, China +86 10 6162 6022
Excellent
80%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 19 reviews

Mutianyu Great Wall

In 1368 AD, Mutianyu Great Wall was built by Xu Da who is the main general for Zhuyuanzhang in the Great Wall ruins of Northern Qi Dynasty. Linked to Gubeikou in the east and Juyongguan in the west,the section of the Great Wall is the military hub defensing of the capitalsince ancient times. There are several famous watchtowers such as Zhengguantai, Dajiaolou, Yingfeidaoyang,Jiankou and Beijingjie, which has profound historical and cultural values. Surrounded by the Mountains, the Greening rate of the Great Wall reaches 98%, and its scenery is beautiful. Known for its gorgeous scenery, Mutianyu is one of the essence in the Great Wall of Ming Dynasty. Mutianyuhas the characteristics of the fresh air, sided embrasure, peculiar guards, intensive watchtowers, the strong feeling of three-dimensional and the existing of the inside and outside branch. The Closed Tram, Speed slide, the China dream stone sity, the Great Wall hotel, Yisonglou restaurant are constructed inthe tourist area, so its facilities and function are perfect.The tourist area was added to the national 5A scenic spot list by the National Tourism Administration of China in 2011. In June 28, 2014,the Mutianyu Great Wallintegrated tourism service area put into use. The integrated tourism service area, having service functions including a visitor center, the Great Wall Culture Exhibition Center, and catering and tourism souvenirs street,covers an area of 20 acres.In this way, Mutianyu Great Wall will provide a better travel experience for visitors.

Reviewed By coolflyer - Sydney, Australia

A fantastic day thanks to a friendly well informed tour guide and a very safe driver Her car was new clean and very comfortable She tailored the tour according to personal needs Well worth the price

2. The Great Wall at Badaling

Badaling, Beijing 102112, China
Excellent
63%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 9 reviews

The Great Wall at Badaling

The Great Wall of China is considered to be the only man-made project visible from the moon. Although it was once thought to have been built entirely during the Qin Dynasty between 221 and 238 BC, it is now believed to have been started earlier.Stretching more than 6,400 kilometers in length.

Reviewed By Elizabeth H - Melbourne, Australia

Prepare yourself for the hoards, the queues and the tourist crazies thrusting selfie sticks into your face. Next time I’d try another part of the wall. I must admit it was entertaining walking as part of a huge mass of bodies up the wall.
Beware, this does require some physical effort and some parts are quite steep. I’d hate to do this on a wet or icy day or if I had a bung knee. Under no circumstances wear uncomfortable shoes. You will need the grip! Luckily you can take a cable car up and back with very little effort if you run out of puff. Id advise walking up and then taking the cable car down for the view (and the knees again!)
If you are not going on a tour bus and travelling by taxi this info might be helpful. The car park at the bottom of Badaling is full of touts trying to charge you money for taking you up to the entrance (5 mins drive). They are aggressive and not official. Ignore them. You can use the bus to connect from the car park. If you do want to try this, some of them will offer a free ride (saving you time to wait for the bus) if you eat at their restaurant. But no additional payment is needed.

3. Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)

19 Xin-jian-gong-men Rd, Haidian District, Beijing 100084, China +86 10 6288 1144
Excellent
60%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 12 reviews

Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)

Once a summer retreat for emperors, this 290-acre park is still a retreat for the crowd-weary tourist, who can relax here or stroll around ancient pavilions, mansions, temples, Bridges and huge lake, stopping occasionally at a shop or tea-house.

Reviewed By Aidin V

It is a big complex which empror has built for his mother ( mother of dragon) includes a nice lake that visitors can sheeping on it. It is full of color and ancient paintings. There visitors could see the first electric lamp in China.

4. Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park)

Tiantan Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100050, China +86 10 6702 8866
Excellent
56%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 10 reviews

Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park)

Built in 1420 with a total area of 270 acres, this is the largest building for religious worship in China, which was originally used by the Ming and Qing emperors to pay homage to Heaven and to pray for a year of rich harvest.

Reviewed By L9393NIrobertm - Exeter, New Hampshire

Originality dating from the 1400s it has been rebuilt and restored. it is well signed with explanations in Chinese and English. Several of the adjacent buildings have displays explaining the history of the buildings and the rituals involved. One has restored displays.

5. Forbidden City-The Palace Museum

No.4 Jingshanqian Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100009, China +86 10 8500 7422
Excellent
57%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 11 reviews

Forbidden City-The Palace Museum

Consisting of more than 9,000 rooms and spread over 250 acres, this huge palace complex was built in the 15th century and later extensively renovated and restored during the Qing Dynasty in the 18th century.

Reviewed By Crazychick1978 - London, United Kingdom

A must see site for Beijing. A lot larger than I had expected and lots of walking which is tiring for young children. There is a food stall/shop onsite selling a few items but suggest if going around lunch then to take own lunch in. There’s plenty of places to sit and eat within the palace.

6. The Great wall of Jiankou-The Great Wall Alternative

Beijing, China
Excellent
67%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 880 reviews

The Great wall of Jiankou-The Great Wall Alternative

Reviewed By Cityhoppa11 - Cambridge

Certainly it was cold; -10 degrees in the village and then the windchill as we reached the Wall, but the views and the walk were definitely worth the journey. The 'Wild Wall' section from the Zhengbeilou Watch Tower to the Mutianyu restored section blended into it's landscape like it had been there forever, and marked it's patch along the mountain ridges and dips. It's not the easiest walk, but sensible clothing and footwear, and some snacks and water, with a reasonable level of fitness make it accessible - rain or ice/snow would make some sections dangerously slippery though. In comparison the Mutianyu restored section made a statement, but didn't hit the heartstrings in the same way

7. Great Wall at Huanghuacheng

60 km (37 miles) N of Beijing, Beijing, China
Excellent
72%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Great Wall at Huanghuacheng

Huanghuacheng Great wall is a wild section which is located near a lake and a Reservoir, this part of the Wall is called Yellow Flower Fortress and is a good place for hiking.Huanghuacheng Section of the Great Wall is a resort with Mountains, lakes and theancient Great Wall. There are very few people to be found here, but it is becomingpopular with hikers.There is a lake and a crescent shaped Reservoir nearby. And the lake breaks this sectionof the Great Wall into three segments naturally. Part of the wall is under water and becomes submerged at high tide. So the Huanghuacheng Great Wall is nicknamed "Water Great Wall".The scenery here is unique and will surprise you.

Reviewed By Greg3987 - Vancouver BC

This was my third visit to the Great Wall and my first time to Huanghuacheng. It's quite different from the huge tourist visited sections of the wall. It combines restored and non restored sections of wall along with nature trails and lake activities. The trail around the Reservoir is a nice easy walk with scenic views of the Great Wall.
It was interesting to see in winter time as the lake and creeks were frozen over. There is a historic chestnut orchard there with alive trees dated from early Ming Dynasty. Because it was the slow season, all the shops and restaurants were closed. Give yourself about four hours to see everything. Admission was 45 RMB
I think the last review (below) is incorrect as there is no cable car at Huanghuacheng and drive time from Beijing centre is about 2 hours.

8. Simatai Great Wall

Gubeikou Town, Beijing 101508, China
Excellent
62%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 367 reviews

Simatai Great Wall

Simatai, a section of the Great Wall of China located in the north of Miyun County, 120 km northeast of Beijing, holds the access to Gubeikou, a strategic pass in the eastern part of the Great Wall. It's one of the most untouched section of the Great Wall which will surely become the highlight of your trip to China!

Reviewed By savvy8200 - Singapore, Singapore

You can visit this part of the great wall as part of your trip to Gubei Water Town. It sits at the foot of the town and is accessible by foot about 45mins or cable car. After taking the cable car, its about 280m uphill walk on rocky steps to Tower 8. If you are not afraid of heights, walk up further to Tower 9. Do take note that there are no barriers on either side of the steps so those afraid of height may have problems walking down. As it was off season in winter, there were only another 4 visitors on the wall at the same time. The view is beautiful.

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