Beijing is an exciting metropolis that successfully combines modern life with ancient ways and architecture. It’s definitely a city where you could spend weeks discovering new things to see and do, but sometimes you just don’t have that much time. We’re going to give you a list of things to see and do in just 3 days. You’ll be able to see the highlights, soak in the city’s atmosphere in its urban and green spaces and experience the city’s liveliness.
To start your first day in the city, you should head to the third largest square in the world, Tiananmen Square. Built in 1415 during the Ming Dynasty, it is located to the north and separated from the Forbidden City. Its name means Gate of Heavenly Peace, but it is best known as the site for parades and rallies, including the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. In 1949, Chairman Mao also issued the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China here.
Then head over to the Forbidden City, which was the Chinese Imperial Palace between the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Built between 1406 and 1420, it is now a World Heritage and UNESCO site, and also houses the Palace Museum. Then take a stroll through one or more of the following areas. At Jingshan Park, north of the Forbidden City, you might observe older Chinese singing or dancing. Beihei Park, in the northwest of the Forbidden City, was once an imperial home but now one of the largest Chinese gardens over 69 hectares and features a lake. The Houhai is a lake area where you’ll find the former residence of Soong Ching-ling and the Prince Gong Mansion.
The Great Wall is, of course, a must for any visitor to Beijing. If you want to avoid the crowds at Badaling, head over to Mutianyu. Then go to the Lama Temple located in the northeast of the city. Built in 1694, this mansion with yellow tiles and red walls was turned into a Buddhist temple in 1744. You won’t want to overlook the Buddhist relics in the temple. If you still have time and energy, check out Nanluoguxiang, one of the city’s oldest shopping areas, known as hutong in Chinese.
On your third day, you’ll be hitting the pavement again to go see the Temple of Heaven, a complex of religious buildings in the southwestern part of Beijing. Once a year the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties visited here to pray to Heaven for a good harvest.
Afterwards, check out the emperors’ Summer Palace, which is still a nice retreat for tourists. Here you can take a stroll around what UNESCO has called a “masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design” and enjoy a cup of tea. To finish your tour, head over to Qianmen Street to shop for souvenirs and have some dinner along this famous pedestrian street.
This ends our quick tour of Beijing in three days. This overview will give you a good feeling for the city but will leave many things for you to discover and rediscover on your return someday.
With an itinerary like this, you’ll be glad you rented an apartment in Beijing where you can relax and enjoy all the comforts of home.