What To See In Beijing In 1 Day? Can I Even Do It?

Beijing in a Day – Is it Possible?

What to see in Beijing in 1 day?

What to see in Beijing in 1 day
What to see in Beijing in 1 day

That’s the question we’re asking ourselves today.

We’re a Mandarin School with schools in Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Chengde and Beihai and further afield!

This puts us in a unique position to get to know a lot about these cities and advise travellers on some cool stuff to do, aside from the obvious!

AHEM, Great Wall of China!

We asked our Beijing staff “What to see in Beijing in 1 day”?

Forbidden City in Chinese
Forbidden City in Chinese

We got some great answers but of course, there isn’t a universal answer to this question. So we decided to extend this to “what to see in Beijing in 5 days”.

Here are our recommendations on what to see in Beijing in 1 day.

There are 5 variations to choose from so choose carefully OR why not stay 5 days and see it all?

What to see in Beijing in 1 day
What to see in Beijing in 2 days
What to see in Beijing in 3 days
What to see in Beijing in 4 days
What to see in Beijing in 5 days

Let’s get stuck in and take a look…

What To See In Beijing in 1 Day

Here’s something you’re going to learn on day 1 when you land in Beijing.

Beijing is big… Like really big

And unfortunately, due to its size, a ‘see it all in one day’ approach will leave you exhausted and won’t give you the opportunity to appreciate some of the amazing things Beijing has to offer.

So, with this in mind. Let’s start you off with the biggest ticket item on anyone’s Beijing travel list.

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is located smack in the middle of Beijing and if you want to make the claim that you’ve been to Beijing this is going to be a must-see. The Forbidden City has 9999 rooms and is called the Forbidden City because it was once literally forbidden to commoners #chinafacts.

China Travel Tips - 20 China Hacks You Must Know Thumbnail

China Travel Tips – 20 China Hacks You Must Know

20 China Travel Hacks to Make Your Time in China Super Smooth Need some China travel tips, tricks and hacks to help get by in China? If you’re new around here these China hacks are about to become very helpful!…

Other great things to see while in the city centre are Tiananmen Square and Qianhai Lake.

If you’re going to check out the Forbidden City. I would recommend starting at Tiananmen Square and Qianhai Lake. Strategically the best way to do these 3 things would be to get out of Qianmen station exit A on line 2 and just walk north.

You can’t miss any of these things by walking north. Seriously, it’s not possible!

Around Qianhai Lake are Beijing’s famous hutongs filled with bars and restaurants which you’ll surely wish to stop at after all the walking you’ll have done to get there.

Discover Beijing’s new MEGA Airport

What To See In Beijing In 2 Days?

Day 2 on ‘what to see in Beijing in 2 days’ is my personal favourite part of Beijing.

I come here once a month just to get a coffee and wander the streets. I’m talking about:

798 Art District

This is one of the most underrated art districts in the world as well as one of the most underrated places in Beijing. That’s why we have no hesitation to put it at number 2 on our list on what to see in Beijing in 1 day.

What makes this place so special is that someone has clearly stumbled upon an old abandoned manufacturing section of Beijing and transformed it into a hipsters paradise.

798 is not too far out from the city centre but can be a little bit tricky if you wish to get there by subway.

Art District in Chinese
Art District in Chinese

You’ll need to make your way to Wangjing South Station Exit A1.

From this point, you’ll cross the main intersection, go under the bridge, take a left and a right and you’ll find yourself in a local market selling some pretty funky Chinese delicacies.

By this point, you’ll certainly be questioning if we’ve sent you on a wild goose hunt.

But fear not, at the end of the market and across the street, you’re going to see big red 3D numbers 798. 

From this point, you’re on your own! If you’re a fan art, architecture, photography or just good coffee. Trust me when I say, you’ve stumbled across the right place.

Get a sneak preview of 798 via some of our students that went on one of our China school trips.

What To See In Beijing In 3 Days?

Our 3rd recommendation on what to see in Beijing in 1 day is:

Beijing National Stadium in Chinese
Beijing National Stadium in Chinese

Beijing Olympic Stadium

You are a bit late if you came to see the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a bit early if you’re here for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

This shouldn’t take away from the fact that this is still an incredible part of Bejing to check out.

Located directly north of the city centre take subway line 8 to Beitucheng Exit B and start walking north. Once again you, can’t miss it.

You should pass The Beijing National Aquatics Centre, National Stadium (Birds Nest) and from here you can walk along a river right down Beijing Olympic Park.

While you’re in the area we would also recommend the China Science and Technology Museum.

After being in the Beijing Metro it can be hard to orientate yourself.

What to see in Beijing in 3 days
What to see in Beijing in 3 days

There will always be a map showing you what exits go where on the street above.

Typically speaking, subways appear on each corner of a street intersection with

  • A on the North West side
  • B on North East
  • C on South-East
  • D on South West

For more information about the Beijing Metro, we’ve put together this helpful guide.

So if you don’t have any maps pre-downloaded or cell service it’s a good idea to check the metro station closest the thing you want to see.

Aim for the right exit and you’ll know what direction to take.

As Beijing is a planned city each metro is quite predictably about a 20-minute walk in any North, East, South, West direction from each other.

So don’t stress too much about getting lost.

Beijing Metro Map: Discover all 459 Stations and 25 Lines Thumbnail

Beijing Metro Map: Discover all 459 Stations and 25 Lines

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What To See In Beijing In 4 Days?

So if you’ve followed our advice on days 1, 2 and 3 on what to see in Beijing in 3 days.

You’ve pretty much seen the entire north side of Beijing.

Time to go South for day 4 on what to see in Beijing in 4 days.

If by now you’re thinking you want to see a bit more of Beijing’s 3000-year-old history but also where are the cheap clothes and gadgets China is famous for? You’re about to hit 2 birds with one stone today.

I’m talking about:

  • The Temple of Heaven
  • The Pearl Market

Located right next to one and other you’ll be able to see another monumental grand structure of Beijing and go pick up a some $20 fake Bose wireless headphones.

Temple of Heaven in Chinese
Temple of Heaven in Chinese

Here’s how you do it. Go to Tiantandongmen (try saying that 5 times quickly) on line 5 Exit A2.

Walk north on the left side of the street.

You’ll come across the entrance to the Temple of Heaven on your left and you’ll see the “Pearl Market” written in big yellow letters on a building across the street.

Assuming you don’t want to carry your shopping with you all day, we would recommend wandering around the Temple of Heaven for a couple of hours before coming back to where you started at the Pearl Market.

What To See In Beijing In 5 Days?

Great Wall in Chinese
Great Wall in Chinese

This is the end of the road, our last suggested day on what to do in Beijing in 1 day.

I hope you do find yourself in Beijing for 5 days or longer and able to do so much more than our suggested what to see in Beijing in 5 days.

Before we get to our final suggestion there are two honourable mentions that no Beijing bucket list can go without:

  • The Great Wall
  • Summer Palace

Beijing has plenty of public buses and tour companies that can take you to and from The Great Wall.

Both great options depending on your budget.

But here at LTL, we have a slightly different way to experience the Great Wall and China. Check it out here.

Summer Palace in Chinese
Summer Palace in Chinese

Okay, final tip. This may seem like two niche suggestions but trust me when I tell you, I’ve visited both these places with zero interest in cars or tea and was not disappointed at all.

I’m talking about:

  • Beijing Automobile Museum
  • Beijing Qingxi Tea Market

Both of these are relatively close to one and other to see in one day located in South West Beijing.

To get to the Beijing Automobile Museum, you are going to need to get off at Keyilu Station on line 9 and get out exit C. Continue walking south and across the first road, you’ll see an oddly shaped grey building.

This is the greatest collection of cars in all of China. Enough said.

Next off to the tea markets.

Here’s what makes these markets so great. They’re tea wholesalers, typically to mainland Chinese people.

Meaning they’re not trying to trick you into an overpriced tea ceremony like other places closer to the centre of town.

In fact, so little foreigners come here, most will be delighted to have you in their store and have you sample all their teas.

You’ll get to sit down and relax after you big automobile adventure as you’re served a variety of teas from tea masters.

Qingxi Tea Market Beijing
Qingxi Tea Market beijing

Afterwards, you’re able to buy some of the teas by the gram. Meaning there’s no confusion on price, they put the tea on the scales and you can buy more or less depending on your budget.

One of my favourites is flowering tea or blooming tea. As the title would suggest. It’s a flower that blossoms when you put in hot water. Both beautiful and delicious.

If tea isn’t your thing. This is still a great part of town to explore with authentic Chinese shops all around.

To find these tea markets you are going want to get back on line 9 from the car museum up and change to line 7 and get off 1 stop later at Wanzi station Exit D. Once you come out exit D immediately turn left and walk for about 15 minutes. After you pass the first major intersection you’re going to see this building on the left, and that’s it!

Beijing FAQ’s

Where is Beijing located?

Beijing is based in the north to north-east of China.

What is the population of Beijing?

Roughly, 20 million.

Does Beijing have a Metro?

Yes Beijing has a Metro which boasts around 400 stations.

Is the Great Wall in Beijing?

The Great Wall spans over large parts of the north of China, but some of the most famous are located just north of Beijing.

What is Beijing in Chinese characters?


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    Alexander Krasnov , Student Advisor

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