From the majestic Great Wall of China to rustic olden streets, here’s a list of Beijing’s top historic attractions for the ultimate Old Beijing experience!
Part #1: Beijing Food Guide – Which Best Restaurants to Eat?
Part #2: Beijing Area Guide – Which Area to Stay in Beijing?
Part #3: Beijing Travel Guide – Which Historic Sites to Visit?
Part #4: Beijing Itinerary Guide – 4D3N in Beijing
Part #5: Beijing Hotel Promotions List
Holding the longest continuous history in the world of over 3,500 years, China definitely has no lack of ancient stories and historical attractions – especially in the capital city of Beijing.
While Beijing is a bustling metropolis with state-of-the-art modernity and infrastructures, it has also preserved its ancient roots and historical sites, which are now some of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.
Filled with tales and relics from thousands of years ago, here are the top 6 historical attractions in Beijing that you must visit:
1. The Great Wall of China at Badaling
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, The Great Wall of China is undoubtedly one of Beijing’s most iconic historic sites. While you can’t possibly cover the entire colossal length of 21,196 kilometres (and most of it has been closed off for safety reasons), you can still have a taste of climbing it at Badaling, the most popular portion of The Great Wall of China in Beijing.
Built during the Ming Dynasty in 1504, The Great Wall of China at Badaling boasts magnificent views overlooking vistas of robust greenery as it sits over 900 metres atop the mountains. A moderate hike at the Badaling Great Wall takes 3 to 4 hours, so be sure to come in comfortable sneakers or boots.
At the foot of the Badaling Great Wall, there are also shops selling souvenirs like personalised medals engraved with your name to commemorate your visit to The Great Wall of China!
Address: Yanqing, China
How to get there: Take the Beijing Subway to Jishuitan Subway Station and walk 15 minutes to Deshengmen bus station to purchase bus tickets to The Great Wall at Badaling.
2. Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square, one of the largest city square in the world spanning over 440,000 square metres, holds a strong cultural significance to the Chinese capital city.
Most popularly characterised by the portrait of Mao Zedong, founding father of the People’s Republic of China, Tiananmen Square is also a gateway to another popular historic site in Beijing – Forbidden City.
Address: Dongcheng, China
How to get there: Take the Beijing Subway Line 1 to Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East Subway Station.
3. Forbidden City
Right behind Tiananmen Square sits the world’s largest palace and one of Beijing’s most treasured historic attractions – the Forbidden City – that measures a jaw-dropping 180 acres that’s close to 136 football fields.
The imperial palace was home to 24 of China’s former emperors since 1406, and average citizens were forbidden to enter. Just how big is the Forbidden City really? 90 palaces and courtyards, close to 1,000 buildings and over 9,000 rooms – go figure!
Costume rentals are also available at the Forbidden City, so go ahead and don some of the Qing and Ming dynasty’s intricate imperial robes for a personal photoshoot against the awe-inspiring architecture and majesty. Among all popular historic sites in Beijing, the Forbidden City is definitely a must-visit in your Beijing itinerary.
Address: 4 Jingshan Front St, Dongcheng, Beijing, China, 10088
How to get there: Take the Beijing Subway Line 1 to Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East Subway Station. As you reach Tiananmen Square, walk through the iconic Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace) and then to the Meridian Gate into the Forbidden City.
4. Summer Palace
Shroud yourself in serenity at the Summer Palace, an UNESCO World Heritage Site in Beijing. Don’t be fooled by its description of an “imperial garden” though – the 733-acres Summer Palace is a whopping ensemble of gardens, lakes, palaces, and temples. Talk about imperial indeed!
Embark on a boat ride along the picturesque Summer Palace, or simply settle down and appreciate the elegance of traditional Chinese music performances at the Grand Theatre. Nothing beats a journey back in time at this truly stunning attraction teeming with stories and splendour.
Address: 19 Xinjiangongmen Rd, Haidian, China, 100091
How to get there: Take the Beijing Subway Line 4 to Beigongmen Subway Station.
5. Temple of Heaven
Dating as far back as 1420, Temple of Heaven is a must-visit historic cultural site in Beijing. During the dynasty eras, emperors used to visit these shrines and temples at the Temple of Heaven to pray for good harvest during the winter solstice.
Nearly four times the size of the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven consists of three buildings: The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven, and the Circular Mound Altar.
While you’re exploring these fascinating religious infrastructures, don’t miss the Echo Wall at the Imperial Vault of Heaven, which can transmit even the smallest of sounds!
Address: 1 Tiantan E Rd, Dongcheng, China, 100061
How to get there: Take the Beijing Subway Line 5 to Tiantan East Gate Subway Station.
6. Beijing Hutongs (Houhai)
Hutongs are narrow streets or alleys formed by the surrounding siheyuans – a traditional courtyard residence in northern China that’s especially prominent in Beijing. In the past, siheyuans were mostly occupied by large, wealthy families of the Beijing natives.
One of the best places to experience hutongs in Beijing is the Houhai area, where traditional lakefront hutongs sit alongside cafes, bars, and stores for the perfect look into the local Beijing life. For the full Beijing experience, don’t miss this list of best restaurants and delicacies in Beijing too. From crispy Peking duck to savoury dumplings and tantalising hotpots, we’ve got you covered.
Also, the Houhai area transforms into one of Beijing’s hottest nightlife spots after dusk, so be sure to stay into the night and experience its bustling bar street and night market!
Address: Shichahai, Beijing
How to get there: Take Beijing Subway Line 8 to Shichahai Subway Station.
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