Top things to do

Top Choice Historic Site in Forbidden City & Dōngchéng Central

Forbidden City

Ringed by 3.5km of scarlet citadel walls at the very heart of Běijīng, the Unesco-listed Forbidden City is China’s largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings, and the largest palace complex in the wo…
Top Choice Park in Temple of Heaven Park & Dōngchéng South

Temple of Heaven Park

A tranquil oasis of peace and methodical Confucian design in one of China’s busiest urban landscapes, the 267-hectare Temple of Heaven Park is absolutely unique. It originally served as a vast stage for solemn rites…
Top Choice Historic Site in Summer Palace & Hǎidiàn

Summer Palace

As mandatory a Běijīng sight as the Great Wall or the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace was the playground for emperors fleeing the suffocating summer torpor of the old imperial city. A marvel of design, the palace …
Top Choice Gallery in Sānlǐtún & Cháoyáng

798 Art District

A formidable area of disused, Mao-era factories built with East German expertise, 798 Art District, also known as Dàshānzi (大山子), is Běijīng’s main concentration of contemporary art galleries, art bookshops and cafe…
Top Choice Square in Forbidden City & Dōngchéng Central

Tiān’ānmén Square

Flanked by triumphalist 1950s Soviet-style buildings and ringed by low-rise perimeter fences, the world’s largest public square (440,000 sq metres) is an immense flatland of paved stone at the heart of Běijīng. Earl…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Drum Tower & Dōngchéng North

Lama Temple

This exceptional temple is a glittering attraction in Běijīng’s Buddhist firmament. If you only have time for one temple (the Temple of Heaven isn’t really a temple) make it this one, where riveting roofs, fabulous …
Top Choice Historic Site in Drum Tower & Dōngchéng North

Bell Tower

The restrained, grey-stone edifice of the Bell Tower is arguably even more charming than its resplendent other half, the Drum Tower, after which this area of Běijīng is named. It also has the added advantage of bein…
Top Choice Mausoleum in Forbidden City & Dōngchéng Central

Chairman Mao Memorial Hall

No doubt one of Běijīng's more surreal spectacles is the sight of Mao Zedong's embalmed corpse on public display within his mausoleum. The Soviet-inspired memorial hall was constructed soon after Mao died in Septemb…
Top Choice Historic Site in Drum Tower & Dōngchéng North

Drum Tower

Along with the more austere Bell Tower, which stands behind it, the magnificent red-painted Drum Tower used to be the city’s official timekeeper, with drums and bells beaten and rung to mark the times of the day. Or…
Top Choice Museum in Forbidden City & Dōngchéng Central

National Museum of China

Běijīng’s premier museum is housed in an immense 1950s Soviet-style building on the eastern side of Tiān’ānmén Sq, and claims to be the largest in the world by display space. You could easily spend a couple of hours…