Welcome to Beijing
Constantly reimagining itself as it races towards the future, yet inextricably linked to its glorious, notorious past, Běijīng is as compelling as it is complex.
Layers of History
Few places on earth can match the extraordinary historical panorama on display in Běijīng. There are six Unesco World Heritage Sites in this city alone (just one less than the whole of Egypt). At its heart is the magnificent Forbidden City, a royal palace on a scale like no other. Běijīng is also home to sublime temples that aspire to cosmological perfection, while the city centre is criss-crossed by enchanting hútòng: ancient alleyways that teem with life today, as they did hundreds of years ago. And, to cap it all, the awe-inspiring Great Wall snakes its way across the hills north of town.
Have You Eaten?
Food is an obsession for the Chinese and the dazzling array of different dishes you’ll encounter in Běijīng reflects the sheer joy locals take in eating. Dining out is the main social activity; it’s in restaurants that Běijīngers party with friends, romance each other, hold family reunions and do business, and the sheer variety of places to eat here is mind-boggling. Menus will have you salivating over succulent Peking duck, delicious dumplings and chewy noodles, but there’s food from every corner of China (and beyond) to be sampled too. From fiery Sìchuānese to Turkic-inspired Uyghur cuisine, Běijīng's 60,000-plus restaurants cover every base.
State of the Arts
It's not just the ancient architecture that wows tourists. Běijīng is also home to some of the world's most innovative modern buildings. The world's leading architects clamber for the chance to make their mark on this global powerhouse, and jaw-dropping structures such as the CCTV Building, Galaxy Soho, the NCPA concert hall and the Olympic Stadium are clear signs that Běijīng is not shy about proclaiming its status as China’s capital. Like the temples and palaces of the ancient past, and the imposing socialist realist monuments of the 1950s, these latest additions are built on a scale that screams, ‘Look at me!’.
Běijīng isn’t just the political centre of China – it’s the cultural heart of the country too. The nation’s top artists, writers, movie-makers and musicians converge here, making this the place to take the pulse of China’s ever-evolving cultural scene. With top-class museums, galleries galore, and an increasing number of music venues, there’s enough to keep you busy day and night. Běijīng is also the centre for the traditional Chinese performing arts. Whether it’s the mystique of Peking opera, tumbling acrobats or the graceful lines of Chinese classical dance that entrances you, the capital has it and more.
Top experiences in Beijing
Food and drink
Crescent Moon Muslim Restaurant in Forbidden City & Dongcheng CentralXinjiang
Zhāng Māma in Drum Tower & Dongcheng NorthSichuan
Taste of Dàdǒng in Sanlitun & ChaoyangBeijing
Lost Heaven in Forbidden City & Dongcheng CentralYunnan
Jingzun Peking Duck in Sanlitun & ChaoyangPeking Duck
Little Yúnnán in Forbidden City & Dongcheng CentralYunnan
Běijīng Dàdǒng Roast Duck Restaurant in Forbidden City & Dongcheng CentralPeking Duck
In & Out in Sanlitun & ChaoyangYunnan
Shéng Yǒng Xìng in Sanlitun & ChaoyangPeking Duck
4corners in Beihai Park & Xicheng NorthInternational