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When planning your itinerary for your stay in Beijing, you don't have to stick to just classic sightseeing: there are plenty of things to do and activities. Whether a culinary tour, contemporary art galleries or exciting performances: Beijing is at least as diverse as China as a country!
Maurizio MassaroBy Maurizio Massaro

8 Activities in Beijing

A selection of activities to do in China's capital
Path on the Great Wall of China | Ulmon: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
1

Take a trip to the Great Wall of China

No vacation in China can be called complete without a detour to the Great Wall of China. From Beijing, the easiest sections to reach are Mutianyu and Badaling, but it's also worth visiting some of the slightly less crowded sections. In the link below you will find more details about day trips to the Great Wall of China.
Day Trips
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Forbidden City | Pixabay
2

Spend a day in the Forbidden City

The monumental complex of the Forbidden City, which adjoins the Tian'anmen Square to the north, is so large that you can easily spend a whole day here - and so full of attractions that it is difficult to get around without a tour guide. There is no shortage of tours led by competent guides, we recommend you research in advance and book the right tour.
Marble Boat | Flickr: Daniel Case CC BY-SA 3.0
3

Visit the Summer Palace

One of the most popular highlights of Chinese garden art is certainly the New Summer Palace with all its attractions. Here you can admire buildings, pagodas, and halls in Chinese architecture, as well as lakes, canals, and bridges. Tickets for the Summer Palace can be booked online in advance.
View from the Beijing TV Tower| Flickr: Nikolaj Potanin CC BY-SA 2.0
4

Overlook Beijing from the observation deck of the central TV tower

The observation platform at 262 meters high on the CCTV Tower also features a rotating restaurant where you can dine finely with a fantastic panoramic view. A visit to the Beijing TV tower is especially worthwhile for the sunset from the observation deck.
Balancing acts in Beijing | Flickr: Michael Davis-Burchat CC BY-ND 2.0
5

Be enchanted by impressive shows

Acrobatics and Kung-Fu shows in Beijing showcase the athletic prowess of experienced athletes. You can buy tickets for these performances online, often in packages with other offers, saving time and money for other important things.
Shows
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Old Books | Flickr: Roberto Franceschini CC BY-SA 2.0
6

Stroll through the Panjiayuan Antique Market

Buddhist stone sculptures, ceramics, handicrafts and much more on an area of almost 50,000 square meters - the Panjiayuan Antique Market counts up to 70,000 visitors in a single weekend. Strolling through the market is one of the best activities for those interested in local traditions and history.
Jiaozi | Flickr: Nikolaj Potanin CC- BY-SA 2.0
7

Try the local delicacies

Peking Duck? Yes, but there is more to China's capital city from a culinary standpoint than just the well-known classics. Food tours through Beijing range from Chinese barbeque to pasta and noodles, and even locally distilled spirits: these culinary tours are an unforgettable experience for the taste buds.
Food Experiences
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Installation in Art District 798 | Flickr: Bridget Coila CC BY-SA 2.0
8

Discover contemporary art in Beijing: 798 Art Zone

Also known as the Dashanzi Art District, the simple designation District 798 hides a thriving neighborhood with studios, museums, and galleries set in the industrial backdrop of former factory facilities. Some city tours include a visit to this trendy area of Beijing, often with transfers to and from the hotel.
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Outdoor Activities
Cruises & Water Tours

The 10 most important sights in Beijing

The best attractions in China's capital
17-arch bridge, Summer Palace | Pixabay
1

(New) Summer Palace

The impressive park ensemble of the Summer Palace can be visited with a ticket and is one of the best attractions in Beijing. In addition to the bridges, waters, and buildings, the highlights include the restaurant in the hall, where one listens to the orioles - an unforgettable atmosphere for a fine meal! - and the possibility to rent a boat.
Temple of Heaven
2

Temple of Heaven

The round structure of the Daoist Temple of Heaven (Tiantán) dates back to the year 1420 (Ming Dynasty) and is decorated in the typical style with colorful ornaments. Since 1998, the building has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and has long been an important part of any visit to Beijing.
Beihai Park, in the background the White Pagoda | Pixabay
3

Beihai Park

Since 1925, the Beihai Park has been open to the public: the main attractions of the complex are primarily the White Pagoda and the Nine-Dragon Wall. The picturesque scenery of the traditional Chinese gardens is perfect for a walk.
Yonghe Temple | Pixabay
4

Lama Temple

The Lama Temple, also known as Yonghe Temple, is in an excellent state of preservation and is the largest Buddhist-Lamaist temple outside of Tibet. Many tours include a visit to the Yonghe Temple - the impressive building, one of the best attractions in Beijing, should not be missed.
Confucius Temple | Wiki Commons: Leeluv CC BY-SA 3.0
5

Confucius Temple

Near the Lama Temple is also the Confucius Temple from the time of the Yuan Dynasty (built in 1302). The sacred building, expanded in later epochs, is the second largest of its kind in China. In the garden of the temple complex, there are very old trees, including a cypress that, according to legend, can distinguish between good and evil.
Old Summer Palace | Pixabay
6

Old Summer Palace

The 3 imperial gardens and palaces (Yuanming Yuan, Changchun Yuan, and Qichun Yuan) are also known as the Old Summer Palace and were partially built in the 18th century based on the model of the Western Versailles. Today, ruins bear witness to the changing history of the once magnificent complex.
Place at the Gate of Heavenly Peace | Pixabay
7

Tian'anmen Square

The nearly 40-hectare Place of Heavenly Peace in front of the Forbidden City is considered the largest of its kind worldwide. Not only are some of the most important sights of Beijing located here at the Tian'anmen Square, but it has also been the scene of tragic historical events and thus has great significance for the whole of China. Guided tours, which explain the sights, can be booked online in advance.
Chinese National Museum | Pixabay
8

Chinese National Museum

Directly on Tian'anmen Square, the most visited art museum in the world after the Louvre has been in this form since 2011: the Chinese National Museum. It mainly focuses on objects from Chinese antiquity and the so-called era of National Resurgence of China after 1840, but also sheds light on world history.
Zebras at Beijing Zoo | Pixabay
9

Beijing Zoo

In the Beijing Zoo, nearly 1000 different animal species live - the zoo is especially famous for its giant pandas, as well as tigers, lions, gorillas, hippos, kangaroos, and zebras. Time for a zoo visit should always be firmly planned in the schedule, especially for families.
The Forbidden City in Beijing | Ulmon: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
10

Forbidden City

In the Forbidden City, there is so much to see that listing all the attractions here seems almost impossible. It can be said that with the Palace Museum, which displays the art collection of the emperors, and the hundreds of palaces and halls, one could easily spend an entire week here. Tickets for guided tours of the Forbidden City can be purchased online in advance, which saves time on the day of the visit and, given the sheer size of the site, is highly recommended.
More ideas for Beijing
Maurizio Massaro
Written byMaurizio MassaroMaurizio is a cosmopolitan, a musician and comes around. In his role as a content manager at TicketLens, he is always striving to find new offers as well as writing about sights all over the world.
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