The history and culture, the bustling commercial districts, the cultural and artistic events—this is China's capital, Beijing. Walking in Beijing, you’ll find links to the capital’s past everywhere. Beijing’s Imperial City is home to many famous sites: the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and Beihai Park. As the capital of China, it serves as the political center. Tiananmen Square, the Great Hall of the People and other attractions have played witness to modern China's many changes. Beijing is also home to the world famous Great Wall—a symbol of the Chinese nation thanks to its impressive scale and architecture. Examples of urban architecture range from the “Ten Architectures” of the 1950s to the Bird’s Nest, the Water Cube, and the National Grand Theatre of the post-Olympic period. These new landmarks transformed the landscape of Beijing. The shopping districts Wangfujing, Qianmen Street and Xidan are traditional business districts; Sanlitun, China World Mall, and Oriental Xintiandi are newly emerging commercial areas. Beijing is a fertile ground for culture and art. From the traditional National Museum of China, the National Art Museum of China and the National Grand Theatre, to the fashionable 798 Art District. Hutongs are part of Beijing’s traditional culture. To truly appreciate Beijing, a hutong tour is essential. Spend a day out and ride a bicycle through the hutongs to experience the atmosphere of old Beijing.
More than a dozen subway lines cover the downtown area and some suburbs of Beijing, making travel very convenient. There are many high-end, mid, and low-end hotels in every part of Beijing. If you want to experience old Beijing, many courtyard houses and old hutongs can still be found around Houhai and Di'anmen, and some traditional-style boutique inns reconstructed from old houses can also be found here. If you want to experience the new Beijing and its international feel, try Beijing World Towers and the CBD. This is the most modern part of Beijing with plenty of high-rise buildings. The surrounding area of Zhongguancun features prestigious Chinese universities, such as Tsinghua University and Peking University. If you’re struggling to choose, try within the Second Ring Road. This is the “city center” in the traditional sense of Beijing. There are many cultural relics and historic sites in this area, including the Forbidden City, Wangfujing, and Tiananmen Square. Under the second ring road is the metro line 2, the ring line, and there also are multiple subway lines passing through the area.
Spring and autumn are the best seasons for trips in Beijing. Spring (March to May): From the Magnolia flowers outside the southern wall of Zhongnanhai to the peach and jasmine flowers beside the side of the Second Ring Road; this season is a good one for visiting the parks in Beijing. However, there is a large temperature difference between morning and evening. Remember to take a coat when going outside. Summer (June-August): Beijing is hot in the summer. However, it is rainy in July and August. If you can catch a brief thunderstorm in the evening, it will bring the temperature down and you can enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep. The temperature in the suburbs is lower, so you can consider trips to attractions in Beijing’s suburbs. Autumn (September-November): Autumn is the best season in Beijing. The days are clear and sunny and the weather is refreshing. It is very suitable for travel. Xiangshan’s is famous for its red leaves. Photography lovers flock here during this season. Winter (December-February): Beijing has a special atmosphere in winter, especially the landscape of the royal gardens after a snowfall, such as the Forbidden City. Winter is also the best season to eat hot pot in Beijing. But during this season, make sure to keep warm with a heavy coat and snow boots.