100 Fun Things to See and Do in Beijing

A number of years ago I put together a list of 100 fun things to see and do in Beijing for a new teacher orientation program that I was working on.

This week I’m getting ready for a group of visitors to arrive from the US and UK for a week, so I thought it would be a good time to update and re-post it. The list reflects my own interests and experiences.  I also hope that it will be useful for first-time visitors as well as folks who visit China from other parts of the country, hence the inclusion of western eateries.

What else would YOU include on the list?





  1. Attend a Chinese Acrobat performance
  2. Attend a concert in the National Center for the Performing Arts
  3. Attend a folk or jazz concert at the Sanwei Bookstore
  4. Attend a Peking Opera performance
  5. Attend a show at the Lao She Teahouse
  6. Attend services at one of the Catholic Churches
  7. Attend services at one of the Protestant Churches
  8. Attend the flag lowering ceremony at Tiananmen Square (sunset)
  9. Attend the flag raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square (sunrise)
  10. Climb the Great Wall at Jinshanling and hike to Simatai
  11. Climb the Great Wall at Mutianyu and ride the alpine slide down.
  12. Climb to the top of Coal Hill in Jingshan Park (just north of the Forbidden City)
  13. Climb up the mountain at Badachu Park and ride the alpine slide down
  14. Dance with locals in the park in the morning or evening
  15. Drink ‘bubble tea’
  16. Drink Shaken Iced Tea at Starbucks
  17. Eat a bowl of Jia Zhang Mian (special noodles)
  18. Eat baozi on the street for breakfast
  19. Eat Beijing Roast Duck
  20. Eat candied fruit on a stick (bingtang hulu)
  21. Eat at the Schoolhouse near Mutianyu
  22. Eat jianbing on the street for breakfast.
  23. Eat scorpions on a stick at the Wangfuing night market
  24. Eat snacks on the street in the evening
  25. Eat youtiao (oil sticks) on the street for breakfast
  26. Eat a green pea pie at MacDonalds
  27. Eat a Whopper at one of a handful of Burger King restaurants
  28. Eat at an outdoor café in the lakes area
  29. Eat at Element Fresh
  30. Eat at Hutong Pizza
  31. Eat at Peter’s TexMex
  32. Eat at the Bridge Café at Wudaokou
  33. Enjoy a tea ceremony at a teahouse
  34. Get a ‘dry hair wash’
  35. Get a facial.
  36. Get a foot massage
  37. Get a medicure/pedicure
  38. Go boating at Houhai
  39. Go boating at the Summer Palace
  40. Go to the top of the Gate of Heavenly Peace to look out over Tiananmen Square
  41. Go up into the tower at Deshengmen
  42. Hang out at The Village at Sanlitun (tons of Western restaurants; Apple Store)
  43. Hang out in an exercise park
  44. Have a suit or dress made
  45. Rent a bike
  46. Ride a subway line to the end. Get off and explore the neighborhood.
  47. Ride the tourist express train from Xizhimen to the Badaling Great Wall
  48. See the pandas at the Beijing Zoo
  49. Shop at Beijing Glasses City (low priced frames and lenses)
  50. Shop at Jenny Lou’s imported foods market
  51. Shop at Jingwuxing Wholesale Market
  52. Shop at Ladies’ Street
  53. Shop at Panjiayuan Antique Market
  54. Shop at the clothing wholesale market across from the Beijing Zoo
  55. Shop at the Harley Davidson store
  56. Shop at the Liang Ma Flower Market (across the canal from the Lufthansa Center)
  57. Shop at the Pearl Market (Hong Qiao)
  58. Shop at the Silk Market (Xiu Shui Jie)
  59. Shop at the wholesale fabric market at Muxiyuan
  60. Shop at IKEA
  61. Shop at the Yashow Market (Ya Xiu)
  62. Shop at Tianyi Wholesale Market (Christmas Central in November and December)
  63. Shop for antique furniture and reproductions at Gaobeidian
  64. Shop for computers/electronics in Zhongguancun
  65. Shop in the Xidan area
  66. Take a boat ride along the canal near the Summer Palace
  67. Take any bus to the end of the line.  Get off and explore.
  68. Visit The Bookworm (restaurant and bookstore—lots of current western titles)
  69. Visit an art gallery
  70. Visit a temple fair during Spring Festival
  71. Visit Beihai Park
  72. Visit Chuan Di Xia Ming Village (2.5 hours west of town in the mountains)
  73. Visit Nan Lou Gu Xiang (cafés and nightclubs)
  74. Visit the 798 Art District (galleries and restaurants)
  75. Visit the ancient observatory at Jianguomen
  76. Visit the Art Muesum
  77. Visit the Bell Tower and Drum Towers
  78. Visit the Bird’s Nest (pay to go inside)
  79. Visit the Botanical Gardens
  80. Visit the Capital Museum
  81. Visit the CCTV Tower.  This is best done on a very clear day.
  82. Visit the China Minorities Park
  83. Visit the Confucian Temple
  84. Visit the Forbidden City
  85. Visit the Fragrant Hills
  86. Visit the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao at Tiananmen Square
  87. Visit the Military Museum
  88. Visit a morning market
  89. Visit the Museum of Ancient Chinese Architecture
  90. Visit the Old City Wall at Chongwenmen—Go into the Dongbianmen Tower at the east end to visit the Red Gate Art Gallery and view photos of Old Beijing
  91. Visit the Cishou Pagoda in the west at Xibali Zhuang
  92. Visit the Planetarium
  93. Visit the Temple of Heaven
  94. Visit the tomb of Matteo Ricci.
  95. Visit the Water Cube and Bird’s Nest Olympic venues
  96. Visit the Yonghegong Lama Temple
  97. Walk around Kunming Lake at the Summer Palace
  98. Walk around the lake at the Old Summer Palace
  99. Wander around the old Legation Quarter (near Tiananmen Square)
  100. Wander the old streets of the Da Zha Lan (Da Sha Lanr) district

Leave a comment and tell me what you would add to  the list.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “100 Fun Things to See and Do in Beijing

  1. What about flying a kite, the Chinese love to do that in Tianjian. Also, visit a Chinese carpet factory and watch the women craft wool carpets? There must be some other factories to visit in Beijing. What about visiting the Bei Da campus? I didn’t see that on the list but I might have missed it.

  2. Blind man massage!
    walk through calligraphy street and view all the amazing brushes hanging on the walls and doorways
    visit the stele “garden” at the temple near the library (and zoo?)
    great list, btw