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Things to do in Beijing

Many of Beijing's top attractions are clustered around the city centre, where Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City loom large. Head south to Chongwen district and the Temple of Heaven. Five kilometres north, the Chaoyang district is the place to take Olympic Bike Tours of the 'Bird's Nest' Stadium. It is also home to the Dashanzi art district with hundreds of galleries, while the enormous Summer Palace is in the northwest.

Beijing by Bicycle

Join the bustling masses on a Beijing bike tour

Show themed tour
Chairman Mao's Mausoleum, Beijing. &copy Jennifer M. McGrew
1

Chairman Mao's Mausoleum

Communist leader's resting place

Visitors sometimes think that seeing 'waxy Mao', who was embalmed against his own wishes, will be a kitsch experience. Whatever your thoughts on the great helmsman, there's still an atmosphere of serious reverence surrounding Chairman Mao's Mausoleum on Tiananmen Square.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Tue-Sun 8am-12pm

Address

South end of Tiananmen Square, Beijing

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 6512 0909

Transport

Taxi; Metro Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East

National Art Museum of China, Beijing. &copy Sami Salminen
2

National Art Museum of China

Classic Chinese art

The National Art Museum of China in Dongcheng shows traditional Chinese art exhibitions and contemporary art shows. Not as edgy as the art in the Factory 798 art complex, the museum enjoys regular good collections from big-name artists.



Cost

RMB20

Opening Hours

Daily 9am-5pm (last entry 4pm)

Address

1, Wusi Dajie, Dongcheng district, Beijing 100010

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 8403 3500

Factory 798, Beijing. &copy Fred Hong
3

Factory 798

Art galleries galore

This vast collection of galleries and cafés in the Chaoyang district is well worth the long taxi ride. In a Soviet-designed former weapons factory, Factory 798 is the centre of China's modern art scene. Purchase a map when you arrive.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily 10.30am-7.30pm

Address

North of Dashanzi Huandao, Chaoyang district, Beijing

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 6437 6248

Transport

Taxi (say 'Dashanzi' to taxi drivers)

Website

Factory 798 Website

Lama Temple, Beijing. Photo by Breeze Robertson, © Whatsonwhen
4

Lama Temple

Historical and serene temple

This tranquil venue in Houhai began as an imperial lamasery for the 'yellow hat' Lama sect of Buddhism. Around 70 monks still reside at Lama Temple. The Wanfu pavilion houses the world's largest carving from a single piece of wood.



Cost

RMB25

Opening Hours

Daily 9am-4pm (4.30pm in summer)

Address

12, Yonghegong Dajie (just inside the North Second Ring Road, next to Yonghegong metro station), Dongcheng district, Beijing

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 6404 4499

Transport

Taxi; Metro to Yonghegong

Website

Lama Temple Website

Prince Gong's Mansion, Beijing. &copy Sharon Tseng
5

Prince Gong's Mansion

Beautiful Imperial mansion

Formerly occupied by Guangxu emperor's son Prince Gong, this impressive Imperial mansion in Xicheng has a fascinating history. A labyrinth of pavilions and rockeries, Prince Gong's Mansion also hosts short performances of acrobatics.



Cost

RMB40; RMB70 (including acrobatics)

Opening Hours

Daily 8am-4pm

Address

17, Qianhai Xijie, Xicheng district, Beijing

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 8328 8149

Transport

Taxi

Website

Prince Gong's Mansion Website

Temple of Heaven, Beijing. © China National Tourist Office
6

Temple of Heaven

Heavenly escape

The biggest temple in China is set in a tranquil 273 hectare park. Temple of Heaven in Chongwenmen is a gargantuan complex of interconnected buildings. Built in 1420, it was designed as somewhere for monarchs to pray for good harvests.



Cost

RMB30

Opening Hours

Daily 8am-6pm (until 5pm in winter and 5.30pm in spring)

Address

Yongdingmen Donjie, Chongwenmen district, Beijing

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 6702 8866

Transport

Taxi; Metro Chongwenmen

Website

Temple of Heaven Website

Tian'anmen, Beijing. &copy China National Tourist Office
7

Tiananmen Square

History-making square

Tiananmen, in the centre of Beijing, is an attraction in itself. The world's largest square may not be beautiful, but it is where Mao founded the People's Republic in 1949 and where hundreds were massacred 40 years later.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

Daily all day

Address

Tiananmen Square, Dongcheng district, Beijing

Transport

Taxi; Metro Tiananmen

Beijing Zoo, Beijing. &copy Jimmy Yao
8

Beijing Zoo

Pandas and golden monkeys

Beijing Zoo in Dongcheng is known for its outstanding giant panda enclosure and its collection of rare golden monkeys. The zoo has upgraded its facilities making the giant panda compound one of the best in the world.



Cost

RMB10

Opening Hours

Daily 7.30am-5pm

Address

137, Xizhimenwei Dajie, Haidian district, Beijing

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 6831 5131

Transport

Taxi

Website

Beijing Zoo Website

Forbidden City (Palace Museum), Beijing. &copy www.davidclee.us
9

Forbidden City

Magnificent Chinese palace

Despite occasional scaffolding, the central Forbidden City is still China's most important, and arguably spectacular, tourist sight. It's vast and today houses the Palace Museum. Visit the artefact-filled East and West Galleries and the Treasure Gallery, often missed by tourists.



Cost

RMB40 (1 Nov-31 Mar); RMB60 (1 Apr-31 Oct)

Opening Hours

Daily 8.30am-5pm (until 4.30pm 1 Nov-31 Mar)

Address

4, Jingshan Qianjie, Beijing 100009

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 6513 2255

Transport

Taxi; Metro to Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East

Website

Palace Museum Website

Summer Palace, Beijing. &copy China National Tourist Office
10

Summer Palace

Exquisite Qing dynasty palace

This exquisite palace in Haidian is set at the foot of the Western Hills, surrounded by Kunming Lake. The Summer Palace features some of Beijing's most beautiful Qing dynasty architecture, which can also be seen by climbing nearby Longevity Hill.



Cost

RMB20-RMB30; concessions RMB10-RMB15

Opening Hours

Apr-Oct 6.30am-6pm; Nov-Mar 7am-5pm

Address

Yiheyuan Lu, Haidian district, Beijing

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 6288 1144

Transport

Taxi

Website

Summer Palace Website

Chinese Ethnic Culture Park, Beijing. &copy www.davidclee.us
11

Chinese Ethnic Culture Park

Gardens of cultural minorities

This striking north Beijing attraction features 55 village gardens designed in the folk styles of 55 Chinese ethnic groups. Performances are held nearly every day and there are regular festivals, like the Dai people's Water-Splashing Festival in July and August.



Cost

RMB90; children RMB30

Opening Hours

Daily 8.30am-4.50pm

Address

1, Minzuyuan Lu, Chaoyang district, Beijing

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 6206 3647

Hutong Tour, Beijing. © China National Tourist Office
12

Hutong Tour

Glimpse of old Beijing

Beijing's fast-disappearing hutongs - tight, labyrinth alleyways lined with courtyard houses - are a must-see. Take a Hutong Tour by pedicab from Houhai Lake in Dongcheng around some of Beijing's most beautiful remaining houses.



Cost

Approx RMB25 (negotiable)

Opening Hours

Daily all day

Address

Around Qianhai Beiyan on Houhai Lake, Dongcheng district, Beijing

Transport

Taxi to Houhai Lake

Skiing at Nanshan, Beijing. &copy Exoweb
13

Skiing at Nanshan

Ski in China

Skiing at Nanshan, the biggest ski area in north China, with 12 pistes and the country's first snowboard park, is one for winter sports enthusiasts. Under 64km from Beijing, in summer the resort offers water-skiing, grass skiing and gliding.



Cost

Mon-Fri RMB130; Sat & Sun RMB210 (one day ski pass)

Opening Hours

Daily 9am-5.30pm

Address

Nanshan, South Miyun County, Beijing

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 8909 1909

Transport

Coach from central Beijing

Olympic Bike Tours, Beijing. Courtesy of Cycle China
14

Olympic Bike Tours

Cycling Olympic Beijing

The 'Bird's Nest' Olympic Stadium is, if nothing else, a stunning piece of architecture. Cycle China does Olympic Bike Tours which also take in the old neighbourhoods and hutongs of Dongcheng.



Cost

RMB400 (does not include tickets for the Bird's Nest)

Opening Hours

Daily 9am-5pm

Address

12, Jingshan Dongjie (opposite the east gate of Jingshan Park), Dongcheng district, Beijing

Telephone

+86 (0) 10 6402 5653

Transport

Taxi

Website

Cycle China Website

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