What To See In Beijing In 1 Day? Mini Itineraries For A Short Stay In Beijing

Beijing in a Day || Is it Possible?

Can you explore Beijing in a day?

Well, yes you can but you won’t be doing it any justice!

Trying on Hanfu

Luckily for you, we know Beijing like the back of our hand so we’ve prepped you with several mini-itineraries for your short stay in Beijing.

If you are stopping over in Beijing and have a few hours to kill at the airport the question is…

Should you stay in the airport or get out to Beijing and explore?

Undoubtably we recommend the latter 😍

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

For those of you who have a little longer, we go into further detail.

A Short Stay in Beijing || Beijing in 1 day

A Short Stay in Beijing || Beijing in 2 days

A Short Stay in Beijing || Beijing in 3 days

A Short Stay in Beijing || Beijing in 4 days

A Short Stay in Beijing || Beijing in 5 days

A Short Stay in Beijing || FAQs

Download a VPN before coming to China if you want to access all your favourite apps

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

Unfortunately, due to its size, a ‘see it all in one day’ approach will leave you exhausted and won’t allow you 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 9,999 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 and Beihai Lake.

If you’re going to check out the Forbidden City, we would recommend starting at Tiananmen Square and Qianhai Lake. 

TOP TIP || 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.

This area is called 什刹海 and it’s a very popular spot with our team and students alike.

Discover Beijing’s new MEGA Airport

What To See In Beijing In 2 Days?

If you have two days to spend in Beijing a great spot to explore on your 2nd day is…

798 Art District

This is one of the most underrated art districts around, as well as one of the most underrated places in Beijing.

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

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 of 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 who went on one of our China school trips.

After spending some time at 798, there are many things you can do, but we recommend heading back down towards 团结湖 Tuanjiehu and having a stroll around the popular 三里屯 Sanlitun area.

There are plenty of restaurants and famous brand names if you want to do a bit of retail therapy.

Alternatively, you could jump off the Metro slightly earlier at 亮马桥 Liangmaqiao and take a peaceful stroll across the Liang Ma river before heading down towards Sanlitun.

What To See In Beijing In 3 Days?

Got 3 days to spend in Beijing? You can relax a bit more with 72 hours in your back pocket.

Remember the 2008 Olympics? Beijing welcomed the world so it’s only right you sports fans take a peak.

Beijing National Stadium in Chinese
Beijing National Stadium in Chinese

Beijing Olympic Stadium

This is 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, and National Stadium (Birds Nest) and from here you can walk along a river right down Beijing Olympic Park.

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

TOP TIP || 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.

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, or West direction from each other.

So don’t stress too much about getting lost.

Beijing Metro Map: Discover all 490 Stations and 27 Lines Thumbnail

Beijing Metro Map: Discover all 490 Stations and 27 Lines

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about all 27 lines, which ones to take for famous sites, how to buy tickets and travel tips.

After discovering the Olympic area, use Line 8 to head down south to 南锣鼓巷 which is Beijing’s most famous hutong spot.

Here you can grab a wealth of souvenirs, and lots of street snacks and generally enjoy the atmosphere of this bustling area.

However, it’s the less touristy 北锣鼓巷 we really enjoy.

At Modernista, Dongcheng District

Notice the names are almost the same bar the first characters 南 (meaning south) and 北 (meaning north).

Just keep walking north from 南锣鼓巷 Exit E and you’ll link straight onto 北锣鼓巷.

There are some nice coffee shops, and little Izakaya-style bars to discover.

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 3,000-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
Temple of Heaven in Chinese
Temple of Heaven in Chinese

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

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

You may think there has been one giant-sized omission from our list so far, and you’d be right.

Saving the best until last…

  • 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 are great options depending on your budget.

The Great Wall of China is split into many parts so the first thing you need to decide, is which area to visit.

No worries because have a handy guide for you…

Great Wall of China Map (2024 Update) | 10 Best Sections to Visit Thumbnail

Great Wall of China Map (2024 Update) | 10 Best Sections to Visit

Great Wall of China Map || 10 Best Sections to Visit The Great Wall of China is steeped in vast amounts of history and is one of the most interesting and diverse places to visit. It stretches across miles and…

The Great Wall demands a whole blog in itself so please check out our other content to delve deeper into one of the world’s great wonders.

To get a rough idea of just how big the wall is… check this map out 😱

Great Wall of China Map
Great Wall of China Map

The Summer Palace is another must-visit when coming to Beijing.

Summer Palace in Chinese

It probably demands half a day in total and can be found by taking line 4 to Beigongmen, Exit D.

You can also take line 10 to Bagou, then take the Western Suburban Line to Yiheyuanximen. From here, walk north for 4 minutes to the West Gate of Summer Palace.

Entrance fees to the Summer Palace vary on the season but the cost is either 20RMB or 30RMB, making it super cheap for a UNESCO site.

World Heritage Sites in China - 15 of the Most Amazing Spots Thumbnail

World Heritage Sites in China – 15 of the Most Amazing Spots

LTL’s Breakdown of 15 World Heritage Sites in China Did you know that there are an unbelievable 55 listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China! This makes China rank top in the world along with Italy which also has 55…

Okay, final tip. This may seem like two niche suggestions but hear us out…

  • Beijing Automobile Museum
  • Beijing Qingxi Tea Market

Both of these are relatively close to one another.

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.

So few foreigners come here. The locals are typically 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

Afterwards, you’re able to buy some of the teas by the gram.

This means there’s no confusion on price, they put the tea on the scales and you can buy more or less depending on your budget.

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 to 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!

We’ve barely scratched the surface but that is our list of obvious, and not so obvious things to see and do in Beijing if you have less than a week here.

Oh, don’t forget to come and say hi to our team if you are around too!

Happy travels in Beijing 😎

What To Do In Beijing || FAQs

Where is Beijing?

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

What is the population of Beijing?

The population of Beijing is well over 20 million.

Does Beijing have an underground metro?

Yes Beijing has a Metro which boasts around 450 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?


Want more from LTL?

If you wish to hear more from LTL Mandarin School why not join our mailing list?

We give plenty of handy information on learning Chinese, useful apps to learn the language and everything going on at our LTL schools.

Sign up below and become part of our ever-growing community.

BONUS | Learn Chinese with LTL in person. Our student community is growing by the week.



Leave a Reply

You will get a reply from us
Your email address will not be published. Name and Email are required.

  1. Val Williams

    How about going to the National Museum and The Great Hall of the People. That’s what I did recently with 24 hours to spare in Beijing. Fabulous day!

    1. Campbell Alizzi

      Not a bad idea Val! Thanks for contributing. – Campbell LTL Team