Top 6 Places to Visit in Beijing for First-Timers 2023/2024

With a history of over 3000 years and as the capital of China, Beijing is a city with both ancient charm and modern vitality. Beijing is home to seven world heritage sites and is the world's first capital city with Global Geo-parks. At present in Beijing, there are more than 200 tourist attractions open to the public. So which ones should we visit? Here we have selected 6 must-see sights for travelers who come to Beijing for the first time to make a worthwhile trip.

Top 6 Places to Visit in Beijing

Top 6 Places to Visit in Beijing (Click to Enlarge)

Places to Visit in Beijing

No. 1: Tiananmen Square - Largest Center Plaza in the World

Tiananmen Square is in the Heart of Beijing. As a site of many important events, Tiananmen Square enjoys a great political, historical and cultural significance. On 1st October 1949, Chairman Mao proclaimed the establishment of People’s Republic of China in Tiananmen Gate. Without any doubt, Tiananmen Square becomes a symbol of national cohesion and prosperity of China.

Opening Hours: 5:00 ~ 22:00

Tickets: Free for Square

Recommended Visiting Time: 1 - 2 hours

Address: Chang’an Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100009, China

Places to Visit in Beijing

No. 2: Forbidden City – Most Grandiose Imperial Palace in the World

Once forbidden and now permitted. Forbidden City (紫禁城), officially called Gugong (故宫), was the imperial palace for 24 Emperors of Ming (A.D. 1368 - 1644) and Qing (A.D. 1644 - 1911) Dynasties. The cultural richness of China is truly reflected at this 72-hectare historical palace. You can have a panorama view of the Forbidden City from Jingshan Park.

Opening Hours: Apr – Oct: 8:30 to 17:00 / Nov – Mar: 8:30 to 16:30 /Closed on Monday (except for national holidays and July – August)

Tickets: Apr to Oct: ¥60 / Nov to Mar: ¥40

Recommended Visiting Time: 2~4 hours

Address: No.4 Jingshanqian Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100009, China

Places to Visit in Beijing

No. 3: The Great Wall – Most Magnificent Man-Made Wonder

The 21196.18km Great Wall is the landmark of China, one of the most famous man-made wonder in the world. It was constructed by million of ancient people, like a dragon lying atop the steep ridges and mountains, stretching from the desert in the north to the eastern estuary of China's Bohai Sea. >>Which Section of Great Wall to Visit

Opening Hours: Vary from different sections

Tickets: Usually from CNY 20 - 60

Recommended Visiting Time: Half day

Address: Beijing surburb, about 3 hours' drive from downtown

Places to Visit in Beijing

No. 4: Temple of Heaven – Masterpiece of Architecture and Landscape Design

The Temple of Heaven is the best place in Beijing to explore the traditional royal sacrificial culture of ancient China. It served as the holy place for emperors to pay homage to Heaven and to pray for rich harvest. At the same time, it is a pleasant place for leisure stay of walking or sightseeing, and for exploration of local culture.

Opening Hours: Apr to Oct: 06:00 ~ 20:00 / Nov to Mar: 06:30 ~ 21:00

Tickets: Apr to Oct:¥15 / Nov to Mar: ¥10

Recommended Visiting Time: 1 - 2 hours

Address: Tiantan Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100050, China

Places to Visit in Beijing

No. 5: Summer Palace – Best Royal Garden in China

Summer Palace is now a public park, but used to be the private garden for Royal families of Qing Dynasty to decamp during the hot summer days. Constructed around the Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, Summer Palace is a vast complex of gardens, palaces, lakes and hills. It has assembled almost the best design, skill and classic features of traditional gardening architecture of ancient China.

Opening Hours: Apr to Oct: 06:30 ~ 18:00 / Nov to Mar: 07:00 ~ 17:00

Tickets: Apr to Oct: ¥30 / Nov to Mar: 20¥

Recommended Visiting Time: 3 - 4 hours

Address: 19 Xin Jian Gong Men Rd, Haidian District, Beijing 100084, China

Places to Visit in Beijing

No. 6: Hutong - The Vitality & Pulse of Beijing

Beijing Hutong connecting the quadrangle dwellings is more than a tourist attraction, but the pulse of this city. All the over 6,000 long, short, wide, narrow, straight and winding alleys link the whole Beijing from the ancient times. They tell various stories that happened here and show the historic development and cultural change of Beijing city.

Opening Hours: All day

Tickets: Free

Recommended Visiting Time: 1 - 2 hours

Address: The most popular Nanluoguxiang is at Di'anmen East Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing

How to Plan a Beijing Tour if I Have 1 Day, 2 Days, or 3 Days (Excluding Arrival Day)

1 Day Beijing Tour: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven

If you only got one day in Beijing and just want to tour around downtown area, it is recommended to get to the Tiananmen Square first and then go to the Forbidden City which is only 1.5km away. Then in the afternoon, you can head to the Temple of Heaven.

Or if you are interested in the Great Wall, you can spend this day hiking on the popular and less crowded Mutianyu section and get back in the afternoon.

>>Private and Tailor-made 1 Day Beijing Layover Tours

2 Days Beijing Tour: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall

With an extra day, you can have a not-so-tight schedule to well explore Beijing. Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and Summer Palace can be arranged on the same day. On the next day, after watching the locals take part in traditional activities, such as Tai Chi, dancing, water calligraphy, etc. at Temple of Heaven, you can take a Great Wall hiking trip at Mutianyu or other sections.

As the Great Wall consists of many sections and each of them has their own charm, you can also choose to spend the two days hiking two or more different sections such as Jinshanling, Simatai, Huanghuacheng…

>>3 Days Beijing Essential Short Stay Tour (Transit Visa Free)

>>2 Days Jinshanling and Simatai Great Wall Scenic Hiking

3 Days Beijing Tour: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall, Summer Palace, Hutong

3 days is sufficient to cover all the 6 sites mentioned above and spare you some time for other attractions such as the Olympic Park and 798 Art District. If you plan to go to Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, you can pay a visit to 798 Art District on your way back to downtown Beijing. Then go to the Olympic Park to see the beautiful Bird’s Nest and Water Cube at night.

>>4 Days Classic Beijing Tour Package

6 Most Recommended Beijing Tour Packages

No matter how many days you plan to stay in Beijing, there is always a tour suitable for you. Following are some best Beijing tour packages covering most highlights in Beijing. If you still have no idea where to start, you can design a tailor-made Beijing trip with us.

  • 2 Days Beijing Stopover Highlights

    Take cable car up to Mutianyu Great Wall and enjoy a leisure hike on the Great Wall, also roam in the imperial Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven.

  • Jinshanling Great Wall

    3 Days Beijing Essential Short Stay Tour

    Specially designed for travelers who meet the Visa-free Transit Policy in Beijing. Hike the less-crowded Mutianyu section of Great Wall with other famous Beijing attractions.

  • Forbidden City

    4 Days Classic Beijing Tour Package

    A classic Beijing tour taking you to visit the best and featured highlights of Beijing in a single trip and explore the glorious past and present of Beijing in one go.

  • Beijing Family Tour

    4 Days Beijing Family Tour with Kids Fun

    Spend a quality and enjoyable time with your children with interesting kid-friendly activities and explore the authentic Beijing life by visiting traditional Beijing Hutongs.

  • Simatai Great Wall

    4 Days Beijing Simatai Great Wall Tour

    Hike the most beautiful section of Great Wall - Jinshanling, and take in the peaceful and beautiful night view of Simatai Great Wall with round-trip cable cars included.

  • 4 Days Beijing Tour with Jinshanling

    Well explore Beijing city and take a side trip to hike Jinshanling Great Wall, one of the best preserved sections of Ming Great Wall featured in steep mountains, ornate and dense towers.

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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