Wangfujing Street

Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central

Monolithic shopping malls face each other across this prestigious avenue thronged with mostly out-of-town tourists. The late-20th-century Chinese architecture is looking worn out these days (despite some local tour companies who rather hopefully dub Wangfujing Street 'Beijing's Champs-Elysées'), but developments such as WF Central are adding a welcome touch of glamour.

The jing in Wangfujing refers to a well or water source around which several princely mansions (wangfu) were established during the Qing dynasty. The street was renamed People's Rd (Renmin Lu) briefly during the Cultural Revolution. Several decades earlier, it was known among foreign residents as Morrison St, after George Ernest Morrison, an Australian journalist with the Times of London, who became political adviser to the president of the Chinese Republic in 1912. He had a residence and library behind the street, which was demolished in 2007.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central attractions

1. Dong'an Gate Remains

0.32 MILES

In two roadside excavations north and south of the crossroads here are the remains of the once magnificent Dong'an Men – the east gate of the Imperial…

2. St Joseph’s Church

0.35 MILES

Squeezed between shopping malls on Wangfujing Dajie is the delightfully incongruous St Joseph's, dating, in its current incarnation, from 1901. In fact,…

3. Pudu Temple

0.37 MILES

This inactive Tibetan Buddhist temple can't be entered, but the elevated square in front, which forms part of a small park, is a peaceful little escape…

4. Lao She Museum

0.46 MILES

This renovated courtyard was the home of Lao She (1899–1966), one of Beijing’s best-loved 20th-century writers. Author of Rickshaw Boy and Tea House, and…

5. East Prosperity Gate

0.56 MILES

The east gate of the Forbidden City, through which you can exit but not enter. Inside are exhibitions belonging to the Gallery of Historic Architecture.

6. Former British Legation

0.56 MILES

This historic entryway is all you can see of the palatial former British Legation, now home to China's Security Bureau. It was where most of the…

7. Sacrificial Hall

0.61 MILES

The main attraction within the Workers' Cultural Palace is the monumental Sacrificial Hall, as exquisite as any temple you'll find in Beijing. Built in…

8. Middle Hall

0.62 MILES

Known locally as the Resting Hall, this imperial building has a yellow-glazed eave-hipped roof. Closed for visitors.