What to do in Beijing, China
Temple Fair Temple fair is a good choice to enjoy Spring Festival of Beijing. Every Spring Festival, there are dozens of temple fairs in Beijing, such as in Temple of Heaven, Ditan, Beihai, Changdian, Longtan Lake, Lotus Pool Park, etc. If you travel to Beijing during the Spring Festival, Temple Fair is a must-see. Spring Festival (late-Jan to early-Feb depending on Chinese Lunar Calendar)
The Grand View Garden Fair is held every year during the Spring Festival. There are performances and quizzes at the theme of “A Dream of Red Mansions”, one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels. What’s more, costumes of ancient are available for people to take pictures. Spring Festival Location: outside the Chang’anmen
Music Festival Annual May Day, National Day, there’s a variety of music festivals held in Haidian Park, Chaoyang Park, Tongzhou Canal Park or large parks in the suburban, such as the well-known school-sponsored Midi-Music Festival, the Strawberry Music Festival under the label of Modern Sky, as well as the Beijing Pop Festival held in Chaoyang Park. Labor Day (1 May), National Day (1 Oct)
Beijing Chrysanthemum Exhibition Held every year in major parks of Beijing. The Beihai Park Chrysanthemum Exhibition is the most famous, which has been held for more than twenty sessions, showing varieties of beautiful chrysanthemums. Every November
Fragrant Hills Red Leaves Festival There is Cotinuscoggygria and maples in the west part of Fragrant Hills Park, as well as the hillside around the park, whenever before and after the frost, the leaves of these trees turn read, and the mountains and plains of red leaves are as bright as fire, very spectacular. Annually each mid-Oct to mid-Nov Location: Fragrant Hills Park
Yanqing Ice and Snow Tourism Festival Important winter tourism festival in North China, and it is always famous for its rich and wonderful landscape of snow and ice, snow activities, and unique style of folk landscape. The main activities are Longqing Gorge Ice, alpine skiing, snowmobiling, hot springs resort, snow Temple fair and so on. Annually 10 Dec to the end of Feb Location: Shijinglong Ski Resort, Badaling Ski Resort, Longqing Gorge
Walks and rides
The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest buildings in the world. It has a long history in China. It can trace back to the spring and autumn Period. In the ancient times, the main purpose of the Great Wall is to defense aggression. It was an important military place in the past. The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, rammed earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. The majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644)
The Great Wall of China is about a 1-hour train trip, 1.5 hour bus ride, or 45-60 -minute car ride from the city (be aware of bus scams).The Badaling section is the most famous, but also over-restored and crowded. Jinshanling, Huanghuacheng and Simatai are more distant but offer a better view of the wall away from the crowds. Mutianyu has been restored, but is far less crowded than Badaling. Crowds are a definite issue with the Great Wall: at popular sections at popular times, it becomes not the Great Wall of China, but rather the Great Wall of Tourists. It is possible to rent a taxi for the round trip including waiting time. You may want to bring a jacket against the wind or cold in the chillier season – in the summer you will need lots of water, and it will be cheaper if you bring your own.
Hutongs. Beijing’s ancient alleyways, where you can find traditional Beijing architecture. They date back to when Beijing was the capital of the Yuan Dynasty (1266-1368). Most buildings in hutongs are made in the traditional courtyard style. Many of these courtyard homes were originally occupied by aristocrats, though after the Communist takeover in 1949 the aristocrats were pushed out and replaced with poor families. Hutongs can still be found throughout the area within the 2nd Ring Road, though many are being demolished to make way for new buildings and wider roads. Most popular among tourists are the hutongs near Qianmen, Houhai, and Yonghegong Lama Temple. The hutongs may at first feel intimidating to travellers used to the new wide streets of Beijing, but the locals are very friendly and will often try to help you if you look lost.
Rent a bicycle. Traverse some of the remaining hutongs. There is no better way to see Beijing firsthand than on a bicycle but just be very aware of cars and Chinese driving customs and rules for right-of-way.
Hidden City Game. Explore Beijing’s hutongs and parks in a monthly bi-lingual competition on Sunday afternoons for tourists, expats and local Chinese. It’s the fun way to discover Beijing’s history and culture. Explorers have to find Chinese traditions such as calligraphy, music, art, food and games. Restaurants sponsor prizes.
Theaters and concert halls
National Centre for the Performing Arts in Xicheng District is the capital’s modern theater complex covering opera, music and theater. The building itself is worth laying eyes on, even if you do not go to a performance.
The Peking Opera is considered the most famous of all the traditional opera performed around China. This kind of opera is nothing like western opera with costumes, singing style, music and spectator reactions being distinctly Chinese. The plot is usually quite simple, so you might be able to understand some of what happens even if you do not understand the language. Some of the best places to watch Beijing Opera are found in Xuanwu District including Huguang Huguang Theatre and Lao She Teahouse. There are also a number in Dongcheng District including Chang’an Grand Theatre.
Acrobatics shows are also worth a visit if you want to see some traditional Chinese entertainment. Some of the best shows are found in Tianqiao Acrobatics Theatre in Xuanwu District and in Chaoyang Theatre in Chaoyang District.
Drama plays has had a slow start in Beijing and is still not as widespread as you might expect for a city like Beijing, and you will most likely not be able to find many Western plays. However, some good places for contemporary Chinese plays do exist including Capital Theatre in Dongcheng District and Century Theater in Chaoyang District.
Classical music has got a much stronger foothold in Beijing than drama plays. Some of the best places to go are the National Centre for the Performing Arts and the Century Theater.
Spectaculars are been built all over China, in June 2014 DreamWork’s ‘ ‘How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular’ opened in a 4,000 purpose built venue on the grounds of the Beijing Bird’s Nest.
Red Theatre Kung Fu Show, 44 Xingfu St, Dongcheng District. 17:15 & 19:30 (Duration: 1h20min). The Legend of Kung Fu production showing every night at the Beijing Red Theatre. Produced by China Heaven Creation, one of China’s leading performing arts producers.
Chaoyang Acrobatic Show, 36 North East Third Ring Rd, Chaoyang District. 19:15. Chaoyang Theatre hosts the best acrobatic show in Beijing. A thrilling performance that incorporates lion dancing, fire, contortion acts, bicycles and more.
Tiandi Theatre Acrobatic Show, No.10 Dongzhimen Nandajie, Dongcheng District. 19:15. Beijing Tiandi Theater is 10 Dongzhimen South Street Dongcheng District Beijing. It is 100 meters north of the Poly Plaza.
Liyuan Theatre Peking Opera, 175 Yong’an Rd, Xicheng District. 19:30. Li Yuan Theater is a venue famous for Beijing Opera performance co-funded by Qianmen Jianguo Hotel and Beijing Opera Theater.
Foot massage. Have a highly enjoyable and relaxing foot massage and/or pedicure etc (for a fraction of the price in the West) from any of the respectable and professional offerings in central Beijing (in the vicinity of the Beijing Hotel for example).
Cooking classes in a hutong. Try to create one of many Chinese dishes – from cold starters to famous noodles and dumplings. Beijing is a very interesting place for gourmet tours and exploration the cultures and traditions through food, with Black Sesame Kitchen and Hutong Cuisine being some of the options catered to English-speakers. The additional bonus of such learning is that you are acquiring new skills and bringing back home a piece of local culture along with fantastic taste of Beijing and North China cuisine.
Cooking Classes, Tea Tastings, Hutong Tours, Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1 Jiudaowan Zhong Xiang Hutong. Located in a traditional courtyard home in downtown Beijing, The Hutong offers many different Chinese culture programs. Visitors can attend market tours, Chinese and international cooking classes, tea tastings and tours, traditional chinese medicine appointments, private meals and events, or just stop by the roof top terrace to get a view of the authentic hutong culture. Chefs, guides and teachers speak English, Mandarin, Spanish, Dutch and more by request.
Debate, Runqiyuan Tea House, 65 Andingmen Dong Dajie. W 20:00-22:00. If you find yourself a very argumentative person, look for intellectual exercise or just meet people you should attend at least one of the meetings of “The Beijing Debate Society” (DBS). DBS is a not-for-profit, non-religious, non-political organization that seeks to improve argument-building skills. DBS is governed by the British Parliamentarian Debates rules. The debating language is English. Free.
Take a hike. The Beijing Hikers run a couple trips every weekend and occasionally midweek as well, generally day trips to the mountains around Beijing (often including less-visited sections of the Great Wall). The trips include transportation from the Liangmaqiao metro station and English-speaking guides. The group also occasionally runs longer trips around China.