There is so much to see and do in Beijing that if you are visiting this city for the first time or the even the tenth time, it can feel overwhelming (and we mean that in the best of ways). The city is a constant whirl of motion, and it is in the midst of an intense period of growth.
Prepare to have your tastebuds delighted with the most delicious food you have ever tasted (don’t be afraid to try something new!). Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for amazing architecture, both old and new. And brace yourself for a cacophony of unfamiliar sounds and smells that fill this bustling, hustling city that will make you realize, happily, that you are truly halfway around the world.
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Last Updated: Jan 16, 2019
The Ultimate Beijing Bucket List - 101 Things to do in Beijing China
Tourist Attractions + Local Attractions
Bathe at Shuang Xing Tang
The last remaining traditional bath in the city.
Experience a tui na massage
Rigorous massage technique with over 5,000 years of history.
Beijing National Stadium
Aka the Bird’ Nest from the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Watch the Beijing Tigers
The most successful team in the Chinese Baseball League.
Historic village from the Ming dynasty about 2-3 hours outside of the city.
Dance in Sanlitun
Best nightlife district in Beijing.
Pick Grapes at Beijing’s Vineyard
Best time to go: September to late October.
798 Arts district
Former military factories turned into creative spaces, showcasing Chinese artists.
Learn about ancient and modern Chinese medicine. You can also try acupunture here.
Beijing Ocean Park
Six huge halls with various marine life and interactive exhibits.
(Marco Polo Bridge) Well liked by the Venetian traveler, Marco Polo, when he visited in the 13th century.
See rare animals such as giant pandas, milu deer, golden monkeys, and more.
Ride in a tuk tuk
Cheap motorized rickshaw rides around town.
Trendy clothes, bags, and other gifts. Be prepared to haggle!
Cherry Lane Movies
Movies with English subtitles on Friday nights.
Beijing Jinyufengshan Spa Resort
Beautifully landscaped, affordable hot springs.
Shichahai skating rink
Rent ice bicycles.
Beijing Antique City
Don’t miss the very large crystal (4600 kg).
The National Aquatics Center at the Olympic Green. See it lit up at night.
Ranked in the top 60 in the world.
Ancient Cliff House
The largest site of an ancient cliff residence community in China.
SoReal VR Experience
Immersive VR games that you can play as a single player or in a group.
Happy Magic Water Cube
Different than the one above! A waterpark inside the Water Cube, great for kids and families.
Central Train Station
Opened in 1959, the largest train station in China at the time.
Shihuadong National Park
Check out the water-eroded cave.
Walk The Great Wall
Badaling in Shisanling National Park is the closest to Beijing.
Memorials + Museums
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall
(aka Mausoleum of Mao Zedong)
Beijing Dragon Land Superior Jade Gallery
Learn about how jade is carved and its place in Chinese culture.
Temple of Heaven
UNESCO World Heritage Site built between 1406 and 1420.
There are 13 of them.
Memorial of Jiaozhuanghu Tunnel Warfare Site
Make sure you bring your passport for free admission.
National Museum of China
Learn about the history of China.
Zhangfang Ancient Battle Tunnel
Only known underground military facility in Beijing.
Museum of West Zhou Yandu Relics
Several exhibition halls with cultural relics on display, as well as two groups of preserved Yandu graves.
The Antiquarium of The Palace Museum
See antique treasures that belonged to several emperors. We loved the clocks gallery.
The highest building in the Forbidden City.
Treasure Hall in the Forbidden City
See gold, silver, jade, special ceremonial utensils, imperial robe, and the phoenix crown from the Qing Dynasty.
See ancient stone tablets.
Poly Art Museum
We loved the 3,000 yr. old bronze pieces.
Top ten largest city squares in the world and also the site of many important events in Chinese history.
The Ancient Coins Museum
Small museum. You can probably walk through the space within an hour.
See how exmperors lived in luxury.
Museum of Chinese Medicine
Rent ice bicycles.
(Guozijian) Check out the second largest Confucius temple in all of China.
Outdoors + Parks
Bell and Drum Towers at the Forbidden City
Great panoramic views.
To get views overlooking the Forbidden City.
(Guozijian) Check out Jade Flower Island in the center of the park.
The only bird sanctuary in Beijing.
Go for a boat ride.
Hike to Silver Pagodas
Hike at Haizi village ending at Silver Pagodas.
Hike The Great Wall at Jinkou
Part of the Wild Great Wall because of its location and steepness.
One of the best places to see flowers in Beijing.
Go on a weekday. It gets super crowded on the weekends.
Pavilion of Gathering Fragrance
(Jingshan) Play chess at the Jifang pavilion.
Yuan Dadu Park
See statues of Kublai Khan, Emperor Shizu, and more.
Ride a gondola to the Great Wall
See ancient stone tablets.
Prince Gong’s Mansion
Beijing’s largest and the best preserved princely mansion from the Qing Dynasty.
Silver Mountain at Yinshan Pagoda Forest Scenic Area
Sort of hard to find this place, but well worth it.
Yellow Sea or Inner Mongolia
Take a trip with the Beijing Hiking Club to the Yellow Sea or Inner Mongolia.
Visit after 5pm for good photos.
Shilingxia Scenic Area
Walk on an all glass platform that hangs over 100 ft. out from the cliff with amazing scenic views.
Wu Dao Ying Courtyard
Boutiques, cafes, and other shopping.
Slide Down The Great Wall at Mutianyu
Less crowded than Badaling.
Guo Zi Jian Street
Locals call the prettiest street in Beijing.
Large outdoor exercise gym/calisthenics park located at the Temple of Heaven Park.
Yuan Dynasty City Wall Relics Park
Largest linear park in Beijing.
Zhou Kou Dian
(Peking Man Site) One of the first specimens of Homo Erectus, named the Peking Man, was discovered here.
Shows + Venues
Attend a live performance, theater, or audio/visual project.
A cultural treasure of China.
Legend of Kung Fu
You can watch their performance at the Red Theatre.
Tianqiao Acrobatics Theatre
Amazing and unique acrobatics.
Red Moon Bar
Listen to traditional Chinese music.
China Puppet Theater
Watch a Chinese puppet play.
Shengxifu Hatter Shop
One of Beijing’s most famous shops.
Taikoo Li Sanlitun
(Guanyuan Shichang) Formerly Sanlitun Village, this shopping center carries several world known brands.
Panjiayuan Antique Market
Flea market with gifts of all sorts.
Shop in Wangfujing
Popular shopping district with streets full of trendy and modern fashion as well as local snacks.
Shop on Nanluoguxiang Street
Young people love to shop here.
Sanlian Taofen Bookstore
Open 24 hours.
Qianmen Food Streets
Come here for popular street food. We liked the soybean cakes.
Window shop on Nanluogu Lane
Historic half mile stretch of specialty shops and distinctive foods.
Mega malls, tech savvy decor, trendy chain stores.
A coffee shop, library, and restaurant all in one place.
Try Chinese whiskey.
Try Bing Tang Hu Lu
You can find these candied fruit treats at various markets and street vendors.
Eat a Ji Dan Bing
Popular Chinese breakfast crepe you can find at most food stalls each morning. They’re crispy, filled with egg, herbs, and a savory sauce.
Tourists and locals alike will line up to buy their famous chestnuts.
Authentic Beijing style jiaozi/dumplings.
Regain Element Brewery
2-story brewpub that’s open late.
Lao She Teahouse
Quality teas for purchase, live performances, speciality tea tastings
Beijing Da Dong
Famous for their duck burger.
Cafe Flat White
(798 Art District) Inspired by Australian and New Zealand cafes.
Panda Beer Microbrewery
Try their popular Ginger Pale Ale.
Culture Exchange Center
Take a cooking class or a tea workshop.
Hai Di Lao Hot Pot
Hand pulled noodles and hot pot. There’s always a wait here.
Capital Spirits Baijiu Bar & Distillery
Try Baijiu, a Chinese alcoholic beverage made from grain.
Liu Xian Guan
Visit here if you’re serious about your teas.
Man fu Lou
Try Mongolian Hotpot.
Maliandao Tea Market
Try Panda Tea, the most expensive tea in the world.
Try the teriyaki beef (not Chinese but still tasty!)
Did we miss anything? What would your ideal trip to Beijing include?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
CAROLINE + ERIN
They are freelance web designers and photographers who love finding adventure, both big and small. The two make a daily practice of sharing vulnerabilities, truth telling, and side splitting laughter. They’ve honed the art of traveling fast and doing all of the things that an adventurer can do in a day or two. The couple lives in Asheville and loves spending their time in the mountains.