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Beijing Winter: Weather, Temperature, Things to do, Clothes, Tours and Tips

Why you should visit Beijing in winter

Strolling around the ancient leafy parks in spring, boating over the rippling lake at the royal palace in summer, hiking up to the reddish Xiangshan Hill in autumn, tourists in Beijing will be captured by its beauty all year round, and winter leaves a mysterious question mark to every brave explorer: Is Beijing cold and lifeless in winter? The regime founder, Chairman Mao has answered it with a famous poem about Beijing in winter, "the scenery of the North, thousands of miles of ice, thousands of miles of snow that drifts. Looking inside and outside the Great Wall, the boundless land stretches; Looking up and down the river, the torrent seems small. A giant silver snake winding, a waxy elephant standing, from the snow, and reaching the heavens, for the snow’s sake."

Tiananmen Square in Winter Tiananmen Square in Winter

All in all, it is beautiful, dry, snow-covered, less busy and economical. You will meet fewer crowds in the scenic areas (except for the Chinese Lunar New Year), and many hotels will offer you 50% off room and the flight price is much more adorable! Travelling expenditure will be greatly reduced in most of the winter time in Beijing and you can actually experience more, such as skating, skiing, celebrate the traditional Chinese holidays, building a snowman on the Great Wall!

Beijing Winter Temperature

Cold and Dry: Winter in Beijing is long and cold, with the highest and lowest average temperatures being 5 °C/41°F and -5°C/23°F from December to February. It is recommended to wear overcoats, sweaters, winter coat, woolen jacket, gloves, down jacket and scarfs to keep warm. If you don't mind the cold weather, we also recommend that you can visit Beijing from Christmas break to the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), namely from the late Dec to the early Feb, which is a period of time you can involve yourself in the atmosphere of the Chinese New Year. Beijing is dry nearly all year round and the rainfall is intense in summer but very rare in other seasons. Drinking more water may be helpful for your body moisturizing.>>Learn More about Beijing Temperature

Read More About Beijing Weather in December / Beijing Weather in January / Beijing Weather in February

Beijing Average Temperature in Winter

Beijing Average Temperature in Winter

Check the AQI: Beijing used to be notorious for its bad air quality. However, the sky in Beijing has become a lot cleaner since 2013. The coal burning for heating system used to contribute a lot to the PM 2.5 in Beijing , especially in winter. Since it has become one of the minor causes, the seasonal air quality might be more stable, comparing with the sharp rising in winter before 2016. Namely, Travelling in Beijing in winter is much less affected by the hazy smog, but you are still recommended to bring a mask in case of the air pollution from other regions.>>Learn More about Beijing AQI

Beijing AQI in Winter

Beijing AQI in Winter

Places to Visit in Beijing During Winter

Beijing, a world-renowned historic city, has witnessed the prosperity and decline of several dynasties, generations of Chinese emperors and left us a long-standing and profound Chinese culture. As the cultural and political center of the People's Republic of China, it has preserved many well-known cultural monuments, so where to explore in winter?

The Forbidden City: You can find the most beautiful snowscape in the Forbidden City. Located at the center of the central axis of Beijing, it is the imperial palace of Ming and Qing dynasties. It is the largest and most complete existing wooden palace building in the world, selected as the World Heritage Site. It is one of the key relics protection units in the country and is recognized as one of the top five major palaces in the world.

White snow and golden glazed tiles in the backdrop of the red walls make you feel like you are walking in the oil paintings with bright colors and royal atmosphere. As a representative of Chinese scenic spots, there is a large number of people all year round. To avoid the crowds, you may either go to the queue early (before it opens) or visit after 14:30, when most of the people have entered the back area of the palace! Winter opening time is from 08:30 to 16:30, and it will be closed on every Monday (it still opens on holidays). To enjoy the snow in winter, you may check the weather forecast in advance.

The Great Wall: Apart from the Forbidden City, the Great Wall in winter is also quite magnificent. Covered under snow, the Great Wall is like a dragon lying atop the mountains. Hiking along it, you will be amazed how wise and diligent the ancient is. Built with stones and bricks, the Great Wall endures for hundreds of years without falling down. In the era of manual labor, they made the wonder by hand. There are many great walls in different sections. The Badaling Great Wall is the most famous one and its fame also brings it a large number of tourists all year round. It is suggested to plan your travel schedule wisely, to avoid the crowded time, or choose to visit Mutianyu Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall where you can enjoy the same marvelous scenery.

Summer Palace: It can be visited in every season. But in winter, besides the snowscape, there is a special natural wonder near a seventeen-hole bridge, and it only happens a few days in before the winter solstice. All the holes will be lighted in the rosy sunset and golden afterglow will shine through all 17 holes, which is such a spectacular view for every visitor. The construction of bridge is a perfect application for the ancient knowledge about astronomy and geography. Only when the sun is at the lowest point in the afternoon during the winter solstice, the sunlight can penetrate the intact bridge, presenting the wonder of "red light piercing holes", which is also the magic moment for the garden designers. Best time to visit: come around one week before and after the winter solstice.

Recommended Beijing Tour in Winter

>>4 Days Classic Beijing Tour with Great Wall Hiking

>>6 Days Classic Beijing Tour with In-depth Great Wall Experience

Forbidden City in Winter Forbidden City in Winter
Great Wall in Winter Great Wall in Winter
Summer Palace in Winter Summer Palace in Winter
Seventeen-hole Bridge Seventeen-hole Bridge

Things to Do in Beijing During Winter

Outdoor Activities in Beijing

Besides visiting many scenic spots in Beijing such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden city and the Summer Palace, and many other sites which can be visited without seasonal preference, you are also recommended to try some special outdoor activities that only open during the winter.

Skiing: As the host of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Beijing has a lot world-class ski resorts. If you like sport and are interested in skiing, galloping on the ski track, feeling the speed and passion. Here we recommend you some ski resorts with good facilities around Beijing: Nanshan ski resort (南山滑雪场), Huaibei ski resort (怀北滑雪场) and Shijinglong ski resort (石京龙滑雪场), and some farther luxury ski resorts: Wanlong ski resort(万龙滑雪场), Taiwu ski town (太舞滑雪小镇), Miyuan Yunding ski resort (密苑云顶滑雪场) and Fulong Four Seasons ski resort (富龙四季滑雪场).

Shichahai Skating: Located in the northwest of Beijing city, Shichahai is one of the favorite places for local Beijingers to visit in winter. It is a natural lake in summer but get frozen and turn a free public ice rink for skating enthusiasts. This is the favorite experience for Beijingers in winter. It usually will open from the end of December to the end of February next year.

Indoor Activities in Beijing

Perhaps after visiting the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Great Wall, you may sigh about the cold weather. Although the snowscape in Beijing is beautiful, it is still chilly. The followings are recommended museums and other indoor activities that you can do in Beijing.

The National Museum of China: The total building area of the National Museum of China is nearly 200,000 square meters, with more than 1 million collections and 48 exhibition halls. It is the largest museum in the world with one single building area and one of the richest collections of Chinese cultural relics. Its overall scale ranks first in the world's museums and is one of the most popular museums for tourists in the world. The Opening hours: 9:00-17:00 (closed on Monday).

The Chinese Art Museum: It collects more than 100,000 works of various kinds, mainly from the period before and after the founding of P.R. China. It also has masterpieces of artists from the late Ming Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China. The collections are mainly modern fine art, representative work of famous contemporary Chinese artists and award-winning work of major art exhibitions, as well as folk art work. Among them, there are numerous works on Beijing folk customs, which fully reflect the old Beijing culture. If you would like learn more about the local culture, it is very worth visiting. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00 (closed on Monday).

Kite Making: Beijing traditional swallow kite is a traditional craft in Beijing. You can try to make one at the local quadrangle in Beijing and have fun flying the kite.

Clay Rabbit Painting: Rabbit Master (兔儿爷 Pinyin: Tuer Ye) is a local traditional handicraft in Beijing. The rabbit master is a mythical bunny sent down from the moon to bring health to Beijing, is making a triumphant comeback as the Chinese capital gears up for the Lunar New Year. It was a popular gift for Children since centuries ago. Paint Rabbit Master of your own in Beijing Hutongs!

Recommended Beijing Tour in Winter

>>2 Days Beijing Layover Highlights Tour

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Shichahai Skating Shichahai Skating
National Museum of China National Museum of China
The Chinese Art Museum The Chinese Art Museum
Kite Making Kite Making
Forbidden City in Winter Clay Rabbit Painting

Food to Try in Beijing During Winter

Besides the royal architecture and stunning scenery, dozens of snacks and countless dishes in Beijing can always satisfy your picky tongue. Beyond each kind of delicacy lies the history. Various delicacies form this authentic Beijing flavor. The followings are some worth-trying popular cuisine in Beijing during winter.

Beijing Hot Pot: The authentic flavor of Beijing Hot Pot differs from the hot pot in Sichuan. The mutton will be the main dish. Fresh and tender mutton slice is so thin that can be cooked only in a few seconds. Using copper pot with charcoal burning under it, you can dip the cooked mutton into the fragrant sesame sauce, and next second your lips and teeth are ready to rejoice in the deliciousness of the meat.

Peking duck: It is a world-known dish in Beijing. It was a court food back to the olden time. The high-quality Peking duck roasted with charcoal, is dark brown and greasy, crisp outside but chewy inside.

Beijing Noodles: The original Beijing noodles are a featured local traditional food, made of fresh vegetables, fried sauce and noodles. Cut or boil cucumbers, bean sprouts, green beans, soybeans, and make them into dishes for reserve. After the noodles are cooked. They are taken out and poured with the fried meat sauce, and other reserved ingredients.

Recommended Beijing Tour in Winter

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Beijing Hot Pot Beijing Hot Pot
Peking Duck Peking Duck

Beijing Winter Travel Tips

Beijing Winter Clothes

Thick Clothes: For outdoor activities in Beijing during winter, please keep warm and wear thick clothes such as down jackets, sweaters, gloves, etc.

Anti-skid Shoes: In winter, there is ice and snow on the road, which might be slippery for walking. It's better to wear anti-skid shoes or sneakers. Otherwise, it's inconvenient to go.

Other Tips

Avoid Crowds: Please note there will be a mass migration from/to Beijing during the Chinese New Year Holiday, and the airport and railway stations and highways in Beijing will become super crowded, and the scenic areas will be super busy with tourists from all over the country.

Snow Blindness Prevention: You are suggested to wear sunglasses to protect eyes from snow blindness if you are going to ski.

Snack Supplement: Tourists should take some snacks such as chocolate and energy bars with them for the supplement calories in the cold winter.

Skiing: Winter is the golden time for doing ice and snow sports, so you are recommended to choose a ski resort with complete safety and personal protective equipment and do the warm-up exercise before you actually start.

Beijing Skiing Beijing Skiing

Travel Beijing with Harbin

Located to the north of Beijing, Harbin is another stunning city yo can visit in winter, famed as “Ice City of China”. It is a popular winter destination that famous for its gorgeous ice and snow sculptures, exotic architecture and various kinds of winter activities. During winter, from December to February of the next year, the annual International Ice and Snow Festival attract millions of visitors both home and abroad. Features snow sculptures, colorful ice lanterns, interesting local ice activities…China Snow Town, the no.1 snow town in China, is about 350 kilometers from Harbin where you can take lots of gorgeous snow photos and enjoy fun of playing with snow to the fullest.

In only 2 or 3 days, you can have a trip in Beijing which will cover the most popular attractions - You can visit the Forbidden City to witness the royal buildings of the ancient China empire, hike on the incredible Great Wall, and wander along the traditional hutongs to experience the authentic local life...All of your dreams about Beijing can be tangible in our Beijing tours. Beijing is also available for to 144 Hours Visa-free for Transit, which allows you to have a short trip in Beijing without visa. If you have more time, you can go for an in-depth Great Wall hiking or photography tour, and explore more attractions in the city. If you have more days, taking a Beijing & Harbin Trip may become one of your lifelong memorable experience in China!

Recommended Harbin & Beijing Tour

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Travel with China Discovery

China Discovery offers you customized tour packages and you don't need worry about the hotel booking, schedules arrangements and all the troublesome public transportation. Our skilled driver and knowledgeable guide will pick you up at the airport or railway station and escort you to your hotels, restaurant, the pier and other tourist destinations. You can just focus on sightseeing in Beijing.>>Contact us now

Winter Attractions in Beijing&Harbin Winter Attractions in Beijing&Harbin

Recommended Beijing Tours

Top 3 Beijing tours chosen by most customers to explore Beijing in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Fobidden City in Beijing
4 Days Classic Beijing Tour Package (Leisure Paced)


Mutianyu Great Wall Shot by Our Customer Kim
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Mutianyu Great Wall in Winter (photoed by our client Alex)
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Beijing / Harbin

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