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City Guides / Guides

Traveling in Beijing: places you shouldn’t miss

By Weiwei Guan

July 6

If you want to experience both an ancient and modern China, its capital Beijing can be your first step.

If you want to experience both an ancient and modern China, its capital Beijing can be your first step.

If you want to experience both an ancient and modern China, why not make Beijing your first step? Read on to learn more about the charming destinations in the country’s capital that are sure to hook you to this multifaceted city.

1. What are the must-see attractions?

The Forbidden City [Image Credit: Sina Weibo]
Beijing, an imperial capital of China, is home to a rich variety of ancient architecture. Visiting the Forbidden City is like taking a time travel surrounded by some of the country’s best preserved relics.

Unlike the exquisite classical gardens in southern China, the Summer Palace is renowned for its magnificent structures on a breathtakingly grand scale. Sunset here is especially amazing, making it an ideal spot for photographers.

“He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man” is a popular Chinese saying. The Great Wall’s two most famous sections, Badaling and Mutianyu are hot spots for weekend excursions.

2. Where to taste local art?

798 Art Zone [Image Credit: Jiashan]
798 Art Zone is located at a former industrial site on Jiuxianqiao (酒仙桥) Street, Chaoyang District. Hosting a vigorous collection of creative art studios, it was christened “One of the Top 22 Best City Art Centers” by Time Magazine in 2003. It has since become a calling card for Beijing, attracting people from around the world.

3. Where to hunt for souvenirs?

Panjiayuan Antique Market [Image Credit: Jiashan]
Almost everyone has heard about Panjiayuan (潘家园) Antique Market, expats in Beijing included. Every weekend, antique lovers gather in the east of the city to rummage through old books, paintings, furniture, wares and photos. The chances of finding at least one thing of interest are high. Remember: be ready to bargain.

4. When is the best time to visit Beijing?

A road near Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, Xicheng District, Beijing [Image Credit: Nianlong]
If you don’t like the city’s scorching summer, autumn, a golden season for leaf watching, is the best time to visit Beijing. Ginkgo trees on a road near Diaoyutai State Guesthouse (钓鱼台国宾馆), Xicheng District is covered under a stunning golden carpet at this time. The Fragrant Hills in the city’s western suburbs is famous for its scarlet maple leaves. Prepare for the crowds during the peak season.

5. Where to have a relaxing time?

Laoshe Tea House [Image Credit: Jingwei]
After a day’s sightseeing, go for a taste of local life at a tea house, theater or bar. Lao She Tea House on Qianmen Street is named after noted writer Lao She and is worth popping into for the performance of traditional Chinese arts there.

If you fancy modern pleasures, Sanlitun Bar Street bustles with an exciting nightlife scene.

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