Our epic BEIJING ITINERARY shows you all of the best things to do while you are in Beijing - no matter your budget!
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Beijing is one of the world’s great ancient capitals with a history dating back three millennia.  Located in northern China, it’s the third most populated city in the world! 

If you’re looking for a Beijing itinerary that covers all of the city’s top attractions, you’ve come to the right place! This sprawling metropolis is large and spread out, and attractions are dotted throughout the city. If you’re a first-time traveler to Beijing, this guide will help guide your trip.

Beijing is a great choice for travelers interested in history, culture, and architecture! You can witness ancient palaces and temples alongside the city’s modern skyline and Beijing’s known as much for its modern architecture as its ancient sites!

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve made sure to include the city’s top attractions as well as the best place to stay in Beijing, how to get around in the city, and great day trips. So let’s get started on the best Beijing itinerary!

 

Best Time to Visit Beijing

Beijing has four distinct seasons. The peak season for travel to Beijing is during Fall. This is when the weather will be most favorable to outdoor activities! However, Beijing is a popular tourist destination year-round. Here’s a quick rundown of the seasons to help you better decide when to visit Beijing.

The summer months (June – August) produce hot and humid temperatures. This is also Beijing’s rainy season. Heavy rainstorms can occur, even on sunny afternoons!   

When to vistit beijing
These are the best times to visit Beijing!

The Fall months (September – November) are the best times to travel to Beijing. The temperatures will be mild and pleasant, the rain will have died down, and there will still be plenty of sunshine.

During the winter months (December – February) you’re going to want to pack a warm winter jacket, as the weather will be very dry and cold!

If you’re touring Beijing in the Spring (March – May) the temperatures will be mild but windy. There will also be a sharp difference between day and night temperatures!

 Average TemperaturesChance of RainCrowdsOverall Grade
January2°C / 36°FLowCalm😐
February5°C / 42°FLowMedium🙂
March12°C / 54°FLowCalm🙂
Apriil21°C / 69°FLowBusy🙂
May27°C / 80°FAverageBusy🙂
June30°C / 87°FHighBusy😐
July31°C / 88°FHighBusy😐
August30°C / 86°FHighBusy😐
September26°C / 79°FAverageBusy🙂
October19°C / 66°FAverageBusy🙂
November10°C / 50°FLowMedium🙂
December4°C / 39°FLowCalm😐

 

Where to Stay in Beijing

Beijing is a large city with many accommodation options to choose from. Staying in a good location will give you the advantage of being closer to the cities main attractions, which means less time spent traveling! 

The best place to stay in Beijing to be close to all the action is Qianmen! This area is close to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, parks, temples, popular restaurants, and more! This popular precinct also lies at the center of Beijing, making it a great starting point to reach the other areas of the city. It’s also well serviced by public transportation!

where to stay in Beijing
These are the best places to visit in Beijing! | source: toiletroom (shutterstock)

If you want to experience Beijing’s ancient culture slightly removed from the more touristy city center, the Houhai or Nanluoguxiang areas are an excellent choice. These two districts showcase the indigenous Beijing heritage! You’ll find plenty of hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops, and bars. This area also boasts convenient public transportation.

These neighborhoods are only four or five stations from Tiananmen Square, so you’ll be close enough to easily fulfill your Beijing itinerary, but you’ll enjoy a bit more peace and less crowding.

 

beijing itinerary
365 Inn is our pick for the best hostel in Beijing!

Best Hostel in Beijing – 365 Inn

365 is the perfect base for sightseeing by day and partying at night! This hostel is ideally located in the heart of the city, with all major Beijing points of interest within walking distance.  This comfortable hostel has an on-site bar serving budget-friendly drinks and food items. They also have high-pressure showers, a backpacking luxury!

If you are looking for hostels in Beijing, check out our guide to the best hostels in Beijing.

CHECK FOR BEST PRICE

 

Entire Studio in the Heart of Beijing
Entire Studio in the Heart of Beijing is our pick for the best Airbnb in Beijing!

Best Airbnb in Beijing – Entire Studio in the Heart of Beijing

If you want to enjoy Beijing’s incredible nightlife, this is the place for you! This studio apartment is located in the middle of the best party district in Beijing. It’s also the neighborhood with some of the best restaurants and as well as a massive transport hub with easy access to the airport and the rest of the city. This is our top recommendation for the best place to stay in Beijing if you want to feel like you’re home away from home. 

Check on Airbnb

 

Beijing Prime Hotel Wangfujing is our pick for the best budget hotel in Beijing!

Best Budget Hotel in Beijing – Beijing Prime Hotel Wangfujing

The Beijing Prime Hotel Wangfujing is very accommodating. Each room is equipped with both air conditioning and heating facilities, a flat-screen TV, a minibar, coffee/tea maker, and more! Guests will enjoy 5 dining options, an indoor pool, and free parking. There is also free Wi-Fi that runs throughout the property and every room features a city view!

Check on Booking.com

 

New World Beijing Hotel is our pick for the best luxury hotel in Beijing!

Best Luxury Hotel in Beijing –  New World Beijing Hotel

The New World Beijing Hotel is a modern and well-styled accommodation. The property features an indoor swimming pool, a spa center, and a fitness center. All rooms offer city views and come with a flat-screen TV, a work desk, a seating area with a sofa, and more great features! This hotel will make your vacation in Beijing very luxurious! 

Check on Booking.com

 

Beijing Itinerary

No matter how many days in Beijing you choose to spend, you’re going to need to figure out how to get around!

Beijing has excellent public transportation with an extensive network of subways and buses. To use these forms of transportation, you must purchase a rechargeable IC card which you can use for both the subway and buses! These cards can be purchased at bigger subway stations and will take you to all the top attractions in Beijing. Look for the blue sign that says IC Card.

Keep in mind that Beijing is a very crowded city, therefore, don’t always expect an actual seat when you use public transportation. You might have to stand instead!

beijing itinerary
Welcome to our EPIC Beijing itinerary | source: Joshua Davenport (shutterstock)

Many people who live in Beijing don’t own cars, therefore taxis are a popular form of transportation. Sanlunche has a similar concept to taxi’s, but it is usually powered by a moped. Sanlunche translates to three-wheel-car and is very similar to the TukTuks found in Southeast Asia. It is important to point out that if you choose to take a Sanlunche a fee should be agreed upon upfront!

Lastly, the most common form of transportation is with your own feet. Once you arrive at a destination you’ll find that walking is a great way to truly experience the city.

 

Day 1 Itinerary in Beijing

Temple of Heaven | Tiananmen Square | Forbidden City | Lama Temple | Temple of Confucius

Start your Beijing itinerary by checking out some of the city’s most famous historic sites. Make sure to wear your walking shoes, once you arrive at these sites you’ll be able to take your own self-guided Beijing walking tour!

 

Day 1 / Stop 1 – Temple of Heaven

  • Why it’s awesome: This UNESCO World Heritage Site possesses marvelous architecture and is filled with exhibitions about China’s past emperors!
  • Cost: December – March: USD $4.00 April – November: USD $5.00
  • Food nearby: Check out Hongyuan Nanmen Meat Hot Pot for an authentic Chinese hot pot and a social setting.

The Temple of Heaven is an imperial complex of religious buildings in central Beijing. It was constructed in 1420, which was the 18th year of the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle! It is the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship and pray for a good harvest.

The complex is comprised of three main parts: the Hall of Prayer, the Imperial Vault of Heaven, and Circular Mound Altar. There is also a large park inside the complex walls!

temple in heave
Temple in Heaven, Beijing

The Hall of Prayer, also known as the Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests, is located in the northern part of the temple complex. In ancient times, this is where the emperors held ceremonies to pray for good weather and abundant harvests.

Facing south, the Imperial Vault of Heaven is a round pavilion originally built in 1530 and rebuilt 1752. This is the place used for housing the God’s tablets used at the Ceremony of Worshipping Heaven!

The Circular Mound Altar, also known as the Terrace of Worshipping Heaven, is located to the south of the Imperial Vault of Heaven. It’s an open circular stone altar where the emperors would offer sacrifices to Heaven on the day of the Winter Solstice. This ceremony was to thank heaven and pray for peace and a good harvest.

Journey back in time as you discover the history of the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty! The Temple of Heaven complex is very large and spread out. Make sure to plan enough time to explore the grounds and enjoy this stop on your Beijing itinerary!

 

Day 1 / Stop 2 – Tiananmen Square

  • Why it’s awesome: Tiananmen Square is the historic city square in the center of Beijing.
  • Cost: It’s free to visit Tiananmen Square, however, some attractions inside the Square will have entrance fees.
  • Food nearby: If you’re a meat-eater, Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant is a family-owned restaurant that is said to have the best roast duck in town!

Tiananmen Square is located in the heart of Beijing. The Square houses several important Beijing attractions.

The Tiananmen Gate is the most popular attraction. This gate is widely used as a national symbol of China and has great political and historical significance. Tiananmen, or the Gate of Heavenly Peace, was first built during the Ming Dynasty in 1420.

Tiananmen was the entrance to the Imperial City, within which the Forbidden City was located. Although the original building was first constructed in 1420, the gate has been completely destroyed and rebuilt several times.

Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square, Beijing | source: zhang kan (shutterstock)

The gate is 217-feet long, 121-feet wide, and 105-feet high. In line with other official buildings of the empire, the gate has unique imperial roof decorations, which are crouching beasts. Only official buildings of the Chinese empire are permitted to use these roof decorations.

At the entrance to the gate, there are two lions standing in front and two lions guarding the bridges. In Chinese culture, lions are believed to protect humans from evil spirits. Tiananmen Gate is featured on the National Emblem of the People’s Republic of China. It has also been featured in the designs of Chinese stamps and coins.

There are several other important attractions within Tiananmen Square. The Monument to the People’s Heroes is the largest monument in China’s history. The Great Hall of the People is the site of the China National People’s Congress meetings and an important site for political and diplomatic activities. Lastly, Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall is where Chairman Mao’s body lies in a crystal coffin.

Tiananmen Square is one of the most popular places to visit in Beijing, with thousands of people visiting the Square every day!

 

Day 1 / Stop 3 – Forbidden City

  • Why it’s awesome: The Forbidden City is China’s best-preserved imperial palace. It displays the essence and culmination of traditional Chinese architecture.
  • Cost: April – October USD $9.00 November – March USD $6.00.
  • Food nearby: Siji Minfu is a highly rated Peking duck restaurant that specializes in traditional roast duck alongside other Beijing-style dishes.

The Forbidden City, also referred to as the Palace Museum, is a palace complex that exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture. It was constructed from 1406 to 1420 and consists of 980 buildings covering over 180 acres!

Located in central Beijing, it was the former Chinese imperial palace of the Ming dynasty up until the end of the Qing dynasty. It has served as the home of emperors and has been the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government for over 500 years!

Forbidden City
Forbidden CIty, Beijing

It houses an extensive collection of artwork and artifacts from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Among this vast collection are paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, and antiquities of the imperial collections.

In ancient times, this structure was considered a divine place, which meant it was forbidden to ordinary people, hence the naming of the Forbidden City. Today, it’s one of the top Beijing attractions with an annual average of 15 million visitors!

This is the largest imperial palace in the world and you can easily spend 2-3 hours here. Take your time strolling the complex. Marvel at the traditional gardens, see the living and governing quarters, and admire Chinese architecture at its finest!   

The Forbidden City is a World Heritage Site and is listed by UNESCO as possessing the world’s largest collection of ancient preserved wooden structures. It doesn’t matter how many days in Beijing you plan to spend, this is a must-see attraction!

 

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Read our full review!

 

Day 1 / Stop 4 – Lama Temple (Yonghegong)

  • Why it’s awesome: Formerly an imperial palace, the Lama Temple was later converted into a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. It is one of Beijing’s most famous monasteries.
  • Cost: USD $4.00.
  • Food nearby: Huajia Yiyuan serves authentic Chinese dishes and has a courtyard with a relaxing ambiance

The Lama Temple, also referred to as the Yonghe Temple or the Harmony and Peace Palace Lamasery, is located at the northeast corner of Beijing. It’s considered the largest and most perfectly preserved lamasery in present-day China!

The temple was built in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty to serve as the residence of Emperor Yongzheng when he was a prince! However, in 1744 the Qing Dynasty formally changed the status of the dwelling to that of a lamasery, and so it became the national center of Lama administration.

Lama Temple (Yonghegong)
Lama Temple (Yonghegong), Beijing | source: MarinaD_37 (shutterstock)

There are five main halls which are separated by courtyards: the Gate Hall of Harmony and Peace, the Hall of Harmony and Peace, the Hall of Everlasting Protection, the Hall of the Wheel of the Law, and the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses.

The Hall of Harmony and Peace is the main hall of the temple. Inside there are three bronze Buddhas on displayed: Sakyamuni, Kasyapa-matanga, and Maitreya. There are also 18 statues of Buddha disciples positioned on both sides of the Hall. A picture Avalokitesvara is located on the west wall, who possesses thousands of hands and eyes!

The building and artwork of the temple is a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles. If you’re spending a weekend in Beijing or backpacking through China, expect this site to be very busy. Nonetheless, it’s definitely worth including in your Beijing itinerary! 

 

Day 1 / Stop 5 – Temple of Confucius

  • Why it’s awesome: A very interesting place to see the importance of Confucius in Chinese culture.
  • Cost: USD $4.00.
  • Food nearby: Xianlaoman Restaurant is a casual Chinese restaurant with some of the best dumplings in town!

The Temple of Confucius is located just around the corner from the Lama Temple! This important temple is where people would go to pay homage to Confucius during the Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, and Qing Dynasty.

Confucius is considered the greatest thinker and educationalist in ancient China. The temple is a peaceful temple located in busy Beijing and a great place to learn about a key figure that helped shape Chinese culture!

It was initially built in 1302, with additions being made during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It covers a total area of 5.4 acres and is the second-largest temple constructed for Confucius!

Temple of Confucius
Temple of Confucius, Beijing | source: V_E (Shutterstock)

This temple consists of four courtyards. The main structures include the Gate of the First Teacher, the Gate of Great Accomplishment, the Hall of Great Accomplishment, and the Worship Hall.

In the Hall of Great Perfection, there is a large collection of ancient Chinese musical instruments, along with the central shrine to Confucius. Various carvings can be found inside the temple grounds, the most notable example is a famous carving of two flying dragons playing with a pearl among the clouds.

Take a time-out from the hustle and bustle of Beijing to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the temple complex. This Beijing temple doesn’t usually attract heavy crowds, so you’ll be able to explore the intricacies of the temple decorations in a more serene environment! 

 

Check Best Price

 
365 Inn
365 is the perfect base for sightseeing by day and partying at night! This hostel is ideally located in the heart of the city, with all major Beijing points of interest within walking distance.
 
 
  • $$
  • Free WiFi
  • Free Laundry Facilities

 

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Day 2 itinerary in Beijing

Yuanmingyuan Park | The Summer Palace | Beijing Zoo | The National Museum of China | Peking Opera Performance

If you only have 2 days in Beijing, this is the perfect way to spend your second day. Make sure to bring your camera, you’re going to be checking out even more of the city’s most picturesque locations!

 

Day 2 / Stop 1 – Yuanmingyuan Park

  • Why it’s awesome: This old park embodies the essence and craft of ancient Chinese landscape gardening.
  • Cost: USD $1.50
  • Food nearby: Tsinghua University Jiasuo Restaurant is a Chinese restaurant with tasty food, large portions, and reasonable prices.

Yuanmingyuan Park, also known as the Ruins of the Yuanmingyuan, the Garden of Perfection and Light, and the Old Summer Palace, is located to the east of the present-day Summer Palace.

The Garden was first constructed in the year 1709 during the Qing Dynasty. Over the next 150 years, this garden was expanded into a large-scale Chinese emperors’ private garden, covering a total area of over 864 acres!

Yuanmingyuan Park consists of three parts: Garden of Perfect Brightness, Garden of Eternal Spring, and Garden of Elegant Spring.

Yuanmingyuan Park
Yuanmingyuan Park, Beijing

When the garden was in its prime, there were hundreds of scenic spots made up of exotic flowers from different parts of the country, rivers and ponds, earth and rock hills, pavilions, chambers, kiosks, and halls!

Most of the Yuanmingyuan Park was destroyed by the British troops occupying Peking, China, who looted and then burned the Yuanmingyuan. Although the vast majority of these spots were destroyed, they are still visible and part of the park’s uniqueness is that you can admire the crumbling ruins and structures against the beautiful Chinese landscape! 

Several of the original structures and scenic spots have been reconstructed and offer a lovely place to relax. This is a fascinating place to visit and a must-see stop on your Beijing itinerary!

Insider Tip: You can stop by the exhibition hall to see a picture of Yuanmingyuan Park when the garden was in its ‘heyday’.

 

Day 2 / Stop 2 – The Summer Palace

  • Why it’s awesome: The Summer Palace is a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape combines with man-made features to showcase an ensemble of stunning aesthetic value.
  • Cost: April – October: USD $9.00 November – March: USD $7.00
  • Food nearby: Baijia Dayuan offers Chinese, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes. At this elegant restaurant, you’ll dine amidst rustic Chinese decor and an imperial garden setting.

The Summer Palace is located in northwest Beijing, 9 miles from the city center. It comprises a large collection of lakes, gardens, and palaces and was an imperial garden during the Qing Dynasty. It’s the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China!

The Summer Palace has been open to the public since 1914. There are many different historic buildings and temples, each possessing their own uniqueness and charm. There are also over 3,000 man-made ancient structures, including pavilions, bridges, corridors, and more! 

The Summer Palace
The Summer Palace, Beijing

The Summer Palace can be divided into four parts: the Court Area, Front and Rear Area of Longevity Hill, and Kunming Lake Area.

The Court Area was used as both a residence for guests and an area used to conduct government business. It includes a number of halls, courtyards, and displays. Longevity Hill rises beside the lake and is dotted with halls and temples, and ornately decorated gates.

Kunming Lake is at the center of the Summer Palace and is the key landscape feature. The famous Seventeen-Arch Bridge is an important attraction in the lake area. This famous 490-foot bridge spreads from the East Palace Gate to the northeast coast of Kunming Lake.

The Summer Palace complex covers 717 acres, with 75% of this area being made up of water. It is listed as a World Heritage Site and UNESCO declared the palace a masterpiece of Chinese landscape design. This is an essential stop on any Beijing itinerary!

Insider Tip: If you have the energy for it, climb the hill to the Buddhist Temple and you’ll be greeted with an enchanting view overlooking the entire area!

 

Day 2 / Stop 3 – Beijing Zoo

  • Why it’s awesome: A place to see the wild and rare animals of China!
  • Cost: The basic entrance fee is USD $2.00, other attractions inside the zoo can be added for additional fees.
  • Food nearby: Xinjiang Islam Restaurant is the place to go for authentic Xinjiang flavor and affordable prices.

The famous Beijing Zoo is located in the Xicheng District of Beijing. It is home to 450 different species with approximately 5,000 animals.

It contains a wide and diverse collection of animals, exhibition halls, and sites of historical interest. The most popular animals at the zoo are the golden monkeys, northeast tigers, milu deer, and the giant pandas! The zoo does not just contain native Asian animals, you’ll see other animals from all over the world including polar bears, American bison, kangaroos, zebras, elephants, and giraffes.

Beijing Zoo
Beijing Zoo, Beijingn | source: ChameleonsEye (shutterstock)

The zoo is comprised of 16 different exhibition areas and halls. The most popular hall is the Panda Hall. To house such large animals, the Panda Hall covers an area of roughly 2.5 acres! The inside of the hall is designed to replicate traditional Chinese gardens and it delivers a truly stunning tranquil scene!

Beijing Aquarium is also located inside the Beijing Zoo and is the largest inland aquarium in the world. It features thousands of different aquatic species. From man-eating fish to fierce sharks, to sea-elephants and everything in between! While you’re here, make sure to check out a dolphin, sea lion or whale performance inside the aquarium’s Ocean Theater!

If you’re planning a trip to Beijing with kids, this is an attraction you don’t want to skip!

 

Day 2 / Stop 4 – National Museum of China

  • Why it’s awesome: This museum provides visitors with a great introduction to Chinese culture and history.
  • Cost: Free!
  • Food nearby: Gong De Lin is a classic Chinese restaurant with a wide selection of dishes. Their menu also features vegetarian dishes.

The National Museum of China is located to the east of Tiananmen Square, opposite the Great Hall of the People. It is an inclusive museum of time-honored Chinese culture and history and ranks among the largest modern museums in the world!

The museum has a total of 48 exhibition halls and is devoted to displaying treasured collections in the form of various thematic exhibitions. Guests will see and learn about the art of bronze, porcelain, jade, Chinese calligraphy and paintings, Buddhist statues, Ming and Qing furniture, Chinese coins, and more! 

National Museum of China
National Museum of China, Beijing

Ancient China and the Road to Rejuvenation are the main exhibitions and show nearly 3,000 historic materials from Yuanmou Man. There are also revolutionary relics from the First Anglo-Chinese War in 1840.

See displays full of ancient Chinese cultural relics as well as significant archeological discoveries and ethnic folk customs! There are also temporary exhibition halls that display modern art.

Although this attraction is free, you have to book your tickets once you arrive, to do so you will need your ID or passport! This is a very large museum, so make sure to plan your time accordingly when going through this 2 day itinerary in Beijing. However, since the museum is free, you could always return during your free time on your Beijing trip itinerary.

 

Day 2 / Stop 5 – Watch a Peking Opera Performance

  • Why it’s awesome: Peking Opera Performances represent the quintessence of China.
  • Cost: Tickets start at approximately USD $55.00 and increase in price based on seat selection
  • Food nearby: If you’re seeing a Peking opera performance in Tiananmen Square, check out Beijing Da Dong. This highly-rated Chinese restaurant is located just a short walk from the Square and offers upscaling dining and high-quality ingredients.

Peking Opera, also called Beijing Opera, are shows presenting dramatic plays that infuse four artistic methods: singing, mime, dance, and acrobatics. These performances combine integrating music, literature, aria, and face-painting to tell a unique story!

Peking Opera arose during the mid-Qing dynasty and was extremely popular in the Qing court. It is regarded as one of the cultural treasures of China! The opera features four main role types, gentlemen, women, rough men, and clowns. Performers are dressed in elaborate and colorful costumes!

peking opera performance
Peking Opera Performance, Beijing | source: windmoon (shutterstock)

There are a number of locations where you can watch a Peking Opera performance in Beijing. The National Center for the Performing Arts is one option. Located immediately to the west of Tiananmen Square and near the Forbidden City, this modern venue is right in the city center, making it easy to get to!

This state of the art theater has a titanium-accented glass dome that is completely surrounded by a man-made lake. It is said to resemble an egg floating on water, or a water drop, thus giving it the nickname ‘The Giant Egg’!

If you wish to watch a Peking Opera in a Beijing venue dating from the late 17th century onwards, check out the opera stages at Prince Gong Mansion, Zhengyici-xi-lou and Huguang Guild Hall.

Watching a Peking Opera performance is a truly unique experience and a great way to end your 2 day itinerary in Beijing!

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Day 3 and Beyond

Olympic Park | Beijing Night Market | 798 Art District | Red Theater Beijing Kung Fu Show | Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution

Now that we’ve covered what to do in Beijing in 2 days, if you’re able to spend more time in the city you’re going to need more attractions to fill your time. Here are a few more options that are perfect for a 3 day itinerary in Beijing!

 

Olympic Park

  • Open every day from 6:00 am – 9:30 pm.
  • A great place to enjoy a leisurely walk or a run.
  • You can book a walking tour of the stadium and learn more information about the Olympic Park

The Beijing Olympic Park is a very impressive Olympic compound that hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics. The Park is becoming even more modernized, as it’s set to host the 2022 Winter Olympics!

After the 2008 Olympic games it was transformed into a comprehensive multifunctional activity center for the public! The park itself is immaculately clean and well maintained and the architecture is very modern. 

Olympic Park, Beijing
Olympic Park, Beijing | source: Gary Todd (flickr)

The Central Section is especially impressive. Make sure to have your camera ready to capture photos of the iconic Bird’s Nest and Water Cube buildings. These structures are even more impressive in person than they are on TV!

This attraction can be enjoyed both during the day and at night. During the day you’ll have sunlight to guide you, but at night the lights will be turned on and you’ll be able to see these unique structures lite up! This iconic Olympic Park is a great attraction to visit if you’re planning a 3 day itinerary in Beijing.

 

Visit a Beijing Night Market

  • The most popular Beijing night markets are Wangfujing Snack Street, Qianmen Snack Street, and Niu Jie Muslim Snack Street.
  • Find a large selection of food catering to different dietary needs.
  • Night markets offer a social and casual atmosphere.

Beijing night markets are the best places for tourists to taste delicious local meals and snacks. At these markets, you’ll find a dazzling array of snacks from all corners of China!

You’ll find food stalls filled with everything from fast food snacks to restaurant-style dishes to Chinese delicacies to exotic fruits and vegetables!

Beijing Night Market
Beijing Night Market, Beijing | source: Creative Lab (shutterstock)

Try out Beijing’s local snacks, like fried-pouch rolls, glutinous rice rolls with sweet bean flour, yellow pea cakes, and steamed pork dumplings! Make sure to bring an appetite, as you’ll be pleasantly overwhelmed with food options!

If you’re a night owl, you’re in luck, as many of Beijing’s night markets stay open late. Savor the taste and the aroma of freshly made Chinese dishes by adding a stop at a night market to your itinerary for Beijing!

 

798 Art District

  • Large range of art galleries, restaurants, bars and shops.
  • A complex of 50-year-old decommissioned military factory buildings!
  • This is an enchanting area of the city that every art lover should visit on their Beijing trip!

The 798 Art District, also referred to as Factory 798, is China’s most progressive artistic precinct. It is located in the Dashanzi Chaoyang District of Beijing. It’s a hotspot of modern art, culture, and design that boasts a unique architectural style and houses China’s thriving artistic community!

798 Art District
798 Art District, Beijing | source: Josh Cornish (shutterstock)

This abandoned industrial area turned modern art district is decorated in murals, wall arts, sculptures, and plenty of graffiti. Eateries and small coffee shops dot the precinct and make this area cozy yet lively!

Beijing is home to one of Asia’s most exciting craft beer scenes, and this neighborhood is a great area to enjoy a drink. Ram Brewpub is a microbrewery offering a great selection of domestic and imported beers, this is a great place to sample the selection!

From avant-garde galleries to trendy food and drink joints to modern shops, this area of the city is fun to explore and a great addition to your Beijing itinerary!

 

Red Theater Beijing Kung Fu Show

  • Located at 44, Xingfu Street, Dongcheng District.
  • Kung Fu show performances are given every night, shows last 1.5-hours.
  • Tickets at the window cost between USD $29.00 and USD $127.00. Or, book online for a discounted price.

Kung fu, also called martial arts, refers to several hundred fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China. It consists of movements that involve the use of circular techniques (wax on/wax off), especially with the hands! These movements give kung fu a visually graceful look and the techniques flow from one to the other.

Red Theater Beijing Kung Fu Show
Red Theater Beijing Kung Fu Show, Beijing | source: Melinda van den Brink (flickr)

The Red Theater’s Beijing Kung Fu Show tells the story of a young boy whose dream is to one day become a Kung Fu master. The show is performed by a group of the country’s best practitioners who tell the story through Chinese martial arts, traditional and modern dance, and Chinese acrobatics!

Admire the skill of some of China’s top Kung Fu practitioners! You’ll be provided with great entertainment and great insight into the Chinese culture. The show is truly captivating and will have you entertained from start to finish! 

This is one of the most popular attractions in the city, making this a great addition to your Beijing itinerary!

 

Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution

  • Located on the west of Tiananmen Square along Chang’an Avenue.
  • This is the first comprehensive military history museum in China!
  • The museum hours are from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, with the last tickets offered at 4:00 pm.

The main building of the Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution consists of 7 floors, with 43 exhibition halls categorized into 8 themes. The aim of the museum is to collect, research and exhibit cultural relics, objects, and documents of the achievements and history of the Chinese military.

Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution
Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution, Beijing | source: Assassin3577 (wikimedia commons)

Learn about the Revolutionary Wars Led by the Chinese Communist Party, the National Defense and Army Development of the People’s Republic of China, and more!  You’ll be able to view nearly 300 large-size weapons and more than 1,700 light weapons. Learn about military technology!

The museum is free to visit, tickets can be collected at the ticket office in the museum, or online. You must have your ID or passport to book tickets. If you’re interested in the military, this is a great stop to add to your 3 day itinerary in Beijing!

 

Don’t forget to pack a good book!

Lonely Planet Beijing (Travel Guide): This is our top recommendation for an awesome and inspiring read on this magical city.

 

Staying Safe in Beijing

Whether you’re spending one day in Beijing, or long-term traveling by teaching English, safety is an important thing to keep in mind when traveling to a big city! Overall, Beijing is a very safe place to visit. However, it is always recommended that tourists take precautions when traveling to a new destination!

As with any other large and populous city, pickpocketing can be common. To minimize the risk of being targeted, avoid isolated areas, keep your belongings with you at all times, and don’t flash your valuables. Stay especially vigilant when traveling to popular Beijing landmarks and on public transportation. 

Taxi drivers are another thing that tourists are going to want to watch out for in Beijing. They are notorious for overcharging and robbing passengers. Unlicensed and unmetered taxis should not be taken. The best solution is to use public transport which is inexpensive and available!

Scam risk is high in Beijing. Counterfeit currency is something tourists should watch out for. Travelers should check their banknotes carefully before accepting them, as banks will not accept them.

Other than crimes related to scams and theft, there is very little risk of serious criminal acts. Keep your wits about you and you’ll be able to stay safe while fulfilling your itinerary for Beijing!

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

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Day Trips From Beijing

Whether you’re 3 days in Beijing or more, a day trip to the Great Wall of China is a chance you don’t want to miss! Booking tours of the Great Wall make traveling to this attraction easy and convenient.

There are tours covering several sections of the Wall, each offering something slightly different. Some of these tours also include the famous Ming Tombs, another Beijing attraction you don’t want to miss! Check out these options and decide which one works best for your Beijing itinerary!

 

Mutianyu Great Wall Bus Transfer

Mutianyu Great Wall Bus Transfer

On this 6.5-hour day tour, you’ll take a bus from Beijing directly to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, the most fully-restored section of the wall! Enjoy the convenience of easy transportation in an air-conditioned bus. You’ll depart Beijing at 8:00 and arrive at the Great Wall at 9:30 am! 

Enjoy 4 – 5 hours of free time to explore the wall and take in the scenic views. Marvel at this amazing structure as you discover a rich piece of Chinese history. No trip to Beijing, China would be complete without a stop at this iconic landmark!

Check Tour Price

 

Beijing: Mutianyu Great Wall & Underground Palace Tour

Mutianyu Great Wall & Underground Palace Tour

On this full-day tour, you’ll explore the Mutianyu section of the great wall and the Underground Palace. Start your trip by visiting the Ming Tombs. See the mausoleums of the Ming Emperors as well as the largest collection of tombs of the Ming Dynasty!

Visit a jade factory and witness the impressive manner in which jade products are made. Relax with your group and enjoy a traditional Chinese. Stretch your legs as you take a guided walking tour along this well-preserved section of the wall!

Check Tour Price

 

From Beijing: Jinshanling Great Wall Hike

From Beijing: Jinshanling Great Wall Hike

On this 8-hour day trip, you’ll explore the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall of China; the most popular section for hiking! This area is half restored and half-wild. Enjoy roundtrip air-conditioned transportation from the center of Beijing to the wall.

The Jinshanling section of the wall is located 80 miles from downtown Beijing. Enjoy 6 miles of hiking on the well-preserved ramparts. Marvel at the imposing watchtowers, each possessing their own charm and character!

Check Tour Price

 

Badaling Great Wall and Ming Tombs Coach Tour

Badaling Great Wall and Ming Tombs Coach Tour

On this 8-hour day trip from Beijing, you’ll explore the Badaling section of the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs. This section of the wall is the most popular section of the wall!

Travel to the tombs of the Ming Dynasty emperors and learn important information about the tombs from your tour guide. Visit a jade shop and discover the ancient art of jade carving. Enjoy a traditional Chinese lunch at a local restaurant! Drive to the Badaling section of the Great Wall and explore this iconic Chinese monument.

Check Tour Price

 

Simatai Great Wall and Gubei Water Town Transfer with Ticket

Simatai Great Wall and Gubei Water Town Transfer with Ticket

On this 10-hour day trip, you’ll travel to the Simatai section of the Great Wall, the only section open for night tours! Depart Beijing in an air-conditioned bus and make your way to Gubei Water Town, an ancient Chinese town surrounded by a lake. Enjoy lunch at your own cost before heading to Simatai Great Wall!

Walk around the wall at your leisure and saver the beauty of your surroundings! Experience the majestic sun setting over the Great Wall before leaving Simatai at 8:00 pm to head back to the city. Day trips from Beijing to the Great Wall offer guests an easy and convenient way to experience China’s top attractions!

Check Tour Price

 

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Conclusion of Beijing Itinerary

The Chinese culture has been molded by nature and history to become an ancient oriental realm, and Beijing is a great place to experience the true essence of the Chinese heritage!

The city is filled with elements that blend the old world with modern Beijing. Everywhere you look you’ll see a harmonious ensemble of picturesque landscapes, buildings, and attractions.

We hope this Beijing itinerary will help you to explore the popular attractions spread throughout the city, find a great place to stay, and to discover everything that Beijing has to offer!

This sprawling city has something for everyone. Find peace in Beijing’s artful landscapes, tune into your spiritual side at the city’s temples, and savor the flavors of authentic Chinese food! With this itinerary, you’ll experience the very best of Beijing! Once you’ve planned your trip, it’s time to pack your bags! Be sure not to leave any essentials behind by China packing list.

 

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Our epic BEIJING ITINERARY shows you all of the best things to do while you are in Beijing - no matter your budget!