Top 10 things to do in Beijing

Have you ever wondered about where to go or what to do when you are travelling in Beijing having limited time? No matter you are staying in Beijing for a couple of days or three months, the followings are the places or things you should never miss.

长城Great Wall
As the old saying goes, He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man. The Great Wall stretches across Beijing for about 600 kilometers. The 8 sections include Badaling, Juyongguan, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Jinshanling and Simatai. Most of the well-preserved Great Wall sections are from the Ming Dynasty. The Mutianyu Great Wall is one of the most hot spot, which includes famous scenic spots such as “Arrow nock”, “Bulls horn ridge” and “Eagle flying belly up”. That’s where the captivating part of the Great Wall lies in. Remember to bring strong footwear, sunblock, sunglasses and water.

紫禁城Forbidden City
Surrounded by thousands of hutongs, the Forbidden City was the imperial palace of many emperors in Chinese history. Occupying over 250 acres, the Forbidden City is consisted of more than 9,000 rooms. The City, built between 1406 and 1420, was once burnt down. The city that we are seeing nowadays is mainly built the 18th century. As one of the World Cultural Heritage, the Forbidden City boasts important historical values.

天安门Tiananmen Square
As the symbol of the Beijing, the Tiananmen Square is a monumental site in Chinese history as Chairman Mao formally proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The Tiananmen Square, located in the heart of Beijing, is sounded by Tiananmen, which is originally known as Chengtianmen, Great Hall of the People, National Museum of China, Monument to the People’s Heroes and Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum. The Tiananmen Square, the National Museum of China and Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum is for free.

天坛Temple of Heaven
Covering an area of 2,730 square meters, the Temple of Heaven is one of the most holy places intend Chinese history. Situated in the southern part of Beijing, the place is 4 times larger than the Forbidden City. In Ming and Qing Dynasty, the Temple of Heaven is a complex of sacrificial buildings where emperors and royal members pray to the Heaven, Earth, the Sun, the Moon and other deities. There are many century-old trees with more than 600 years of history, include Chinese cypress, Chinese juniper and scholar trees.

颐和园Summer Palace
As the largest and most well-preserved Imperial Garden in China, the Summer Palace is a true gem and well-conceived design in the Art History of Word’s Gardening. Spreading out over 10 square miles, it features a 72-meter long corridor at the foot of the hill connecting the structures, river and hill. The Summer Palace, centered on the The Tower of Buddhist Incense in Longevity Hill, possesses many masterly design and artistic architecture, exquisite halls, corridors and pavilions. The extraordinary landscapes and concentrated buildings have also gained it the title of “Imperial Garden Museum”.

王府井Wangfujing Street
With a total length of 1,800m, the Wangfujing Street is the most prosperous area in Beijing. It’s an ideal place to shop. Back in Ming dynasty, the high officials and noble lords built palaces in this area due to the construction of the Forbidden City, and later the place became the Wangfu Street. The place got its final name because of the well-known sweet and high-quality well in the west of the street.

As one of the unique features of Beijing, the hutongs, also defined as the old city alleyways, was first appeared in Yuan dynasty. The hutongs in Beijing present the lives of ordinary Beijinger. It is a historical gem of Chinese culture. You will find ancient transportation tools such as pedicab in the old Beijing hutong areas. In the narrow and twisting streets, there also exist many small restaurants, bars, cafés, stores and inns. “Pipe Tobacco Alley” near the Bell Tower and the Shichahai Area are the right place to go.

全聚德Peking Duck
Peking Duck, also known as Peking Roast Duck, is a famous duck dish originated in Yuan Dynasty. The dish has been considered as one of reputable China’s national dishes. Roasted in the charcoal fire, the duck skin is thin and crispy and the duck meat is fat but not greasy. Usually, the cook will sliced the roasted duck in front of the diners, serving mainly the duck skin and some meat. Usually, the meat, together with spring onions and cucumber, is rolled in the pancake before dipping in the hoisin sauce or sweet noodle sauce. The most well-known Peking Duck Restaurant is the Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, which has 27 branches in Beijing.

小吃Beijing Snacks
Beijing snacks are irresistible because of its delicious flavor and appealing look. Back in the days, there were over 300 types of snacks. But nowadays, only about 100 of then are still in existence. Most of the snacks are prepared by steaming, deep frying, frying in shallow oil and rapid boiling. There are mainly three types of snacks: Han, Hui and imperial snacks. You can find those traditional local snacks such as rolling donkey, mung bean milk, sweet ears, steamed rice cakes with sweet stuffing, filled sausage, fried wheaten pancake with fillings and others in many time-honored places such as Longfusi, Huguosi and Nine Gates Snacks.

京剧Peking Opera
Peking Opera is a comprehensive art form combining singing, dancing, dialogue and acrobatic fighting. Every performance tells a story by presenting different characters and their feelings such as happiness, anger, sorrow, surprise, fear and sadness. The roles of Peking opera can be simply divided into 4 kinds: sheng (male), dan (young female), jing ( painted face, male), and chou (clown). By vividly presenting the image of the characters, the Peking Opera shows the soul of Chinese traditional culture. If you want to enjoy the charm of the Peking Opera, the Liyuan Theatre in Xuanwu District and the Chang’an Grand Theatre in East Chang’an Avenue are the places to go.

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About Alessandra

Alessandra is a blogger and part-time writer. Graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University with a major in English, she adores foreign cultures and literature. Having the passion for cuisine, music and fashion, she has published many blog articles with favorable comments.

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