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?
- Attend a Chinese Acrobat performance
- Attend a concert in the National Center for the Performing Arts
- Attend a folk or jazz concert at the Sanwei Bookstore
- Attend a Peking Opera performance
- Attend a show at the Lao She Teahouse
- Attend services at one of the Catholic Churches
- Attend services at one of the Protestant Churches
- Attend the flag lowering ceremony at Tiananmen Square (sunset)
- Attend the flag raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square (sunrise)
- Climb the Great Wall at Jinshanling and hike to Simatai
- Climb the Great Wall at Mutianyu and ride the alpine slide down.
- Climb to the top of Coal Hill in Jingshan Park (just north of the Forbidden City)
- Climb up the mountain at Badachu Park and ride the alpine slide down
- Dance with locals in the park in the morning or evening
- Drink ‘bubble tea’
- Drink Shaken Iced Tea at Starbucks
- Eat a bowl of Jia Zhang Mian (special noodles)
- Eat baozi on the street for breakfast
- Eat Beijing Roast Duck
- Eat candied fruit on a stick (bingtang hulu)
- Eat at the Schoolhouse near Mutianyu
- Eat jianbing on the street for breakfast.
- Eat scorpions on a stick at the Wangfuing night market
- Eat snacks on the street in the evening
- Eat youtiao (oil sticks) on the street for breakfast
- Eat a green pea pie at MacDonalds
- Eat a Whopper at one of a handful of Burger King restaurants
- Eat at an outdoor café in the lakes area
- Eat at Element Fresh
- Eat at Hutong Pizza
- Eat at Peter’s TexMex
- Eat at the Bridge Café at Wudaokou
- Enjoy a tea ceremony at a teahouse
- Get a ‘dry hair wash’
- Get a facial.
- Get a foot massage
- Get a medicure/pedicure
- Go boating at Houhai
- Go boating at the Summer Palace
- Go to the top of the Gate of Heavenly Peace to look out over Tiananmen Square
- Go up into the tower at Deshengmen
- Hang out at The Village at Sanlitun (tons of Western restaurants; Apple Store)
- Hang out in an exercise park
- Have a suit or dress made
- Rent a bike
- Ride a subway line to the end. Get off and explore the neighborhood.
- Ride the tourist express train from Xizhimen to the Badaling Great Wall
- See the pandas at the Beijing Zoo
- Shop at Beijing Glasses City (low priced frames and lenses)
- Shop at Jenny Lou’s imported foods market
- Shop at Jingwuxing Wholesale Market
- Shop at Ladies’ Street
- Shop at Panjiayuan Antique Market
- Shop at the clothing wholesale market across from the Beijing Zoo
- Shop at the Harley Davidson store
- Shop at the Liang Ma Flower Market (across the canal from the Lufthansa Center)
- Shop at the Pearl Market (Hong Qiao)
- Shop at the Silk Market (Xiu Shui Jie)
- Shop at the wholesale fabric market at Muxiyuan
- Shop at IKEA
- Shop at the Yashow Market (Ya Xiu)
- Shop at Tianyi Wholesale Market (Christmas Central in November and December)
- Shop for antique furniture and reproductions at Gaobeidian
- Shop for computers/electronics in Zhongguancun
- Shop in the Xidan area
- Take a boat ride along the canal near the Summer Palace
- Take any bus to the end of the line. Get off and explore.
- Visit The Bookworm (restaurant and bookstore—lots of current western titles)
- Visit an art gallery
- Visit a temple fair during Spring Festival
- Visit Beihai Park
- Visit Chuan Di Xia Ming Village (2.5 hours west of town in the mountains)
- Visit Nan Lou Gu Xiang (cafés and nightclubs)
- Visit the 798 Art District (galleries and restaurants)
- Visit the ancient observatory at Jianguomen
- Visit the Art Muesum
- Visit the Bell Tower and Drum Towers
- Visit the Bird’s Nest (pay to go inside)
- Visit the Botanical Gardens
- Visit the Capital Museum
- Visit the CCTV Tower. This is best done on a very clear day.
- Visit the China Minorities Park
- Visit the Confucian Temple
- Visit the Forbidden City
- Visit the Fragrant Hills
- Visit the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao at Tiananmen Square
- Visit the Military Museum
- Visit a morning market
- Visit the Museum of Ancient Chinese Architecture
- 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
- Visit the Cishou Pagoda in the west at Xibali Zhuang
- Visit the Planetarium
- Visit the Temple of Heaven
- Visit the tomb of Matteo Ricci.
- Visit the Water Cube and Bird’s Nest Olympic venues
- Visit the Yonghegong Lama Temple
- Walk around Kunming Lake at the Summer Palace
- Walk around the lake at the Old Summer Palace
- Wander around the old Legation Quarter (near Tiananmen Square)
- 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.
I didn’t see the rickshaw ride through old Beijing! That was fun!
Aiya! How did I forget that?
if you want the real beijing experience, don’t forget to eat mediocre overpriced mexican food at Pete’s Tex Mex.
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.
Good suggestions all.
Believe me, if you live in a 3rd or 4th tier city mediocre Mexican food tastes pretty good.
Go dancing at Wudaokou, Eat a Pizza at PBD on Weigongcun Lu
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