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How to Spend 1 Day in Beijing

How to Spend 1 Day in Beijing

Beijing, China’s capital and fourth largest city, is at once a modern metropolis and a gateway into China’s long history. You could easily spend weeks exploring the city’s imperial grandeur, gastronomic landscape, and hidden cultural gems. If you only have 24 hours to explore, here are some suggestions for how to spend your time.

Morning: Imperial Beijing

Start with a deep dive into Beijing’s imperial past with visits to three of the city’s top attractions. Get up early for a walking tour of the Forbidden City (Imperial Palace). Opt for skip-the-line access to save time. Make a stop in front of Chairman Mao in Tiananmen Square before continuing your tour to the nearby Temple of Heaven, the UNESCO World Heritage Site once used by the emperor for rituals. 

Afternoon: UNESCO Icons

After lunch, continue the imperial theme with an afternoon tour of the Summer Palace, the UNESCO-listed lakeside retreat where Empress Dowager Cixi retired. Walk down the Long Corridor, hike up Longevity Hill, or take a boat ride on Kunming Lake for views of Marble Boat, Nanhu Island, and 17-Arch Bridge. Alternately, head north of Beijing for a visit to an icon of China, the Great Wall. The Badaling section is the most easily accessible from Beijing, but it’s possible to visit the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven in the morning with an afternoon tour of the quieter Mutianyu Great Wall.

Night: Dinner and a Show

Finish off your day with more quintessential Beijing experiences, a traditional Peking duck dinner followed by a performance of Shaolin kung fu, Peking opera, or Chinese acrobatics at one of the city’s many theaters. Many tours include pickup and drop-off from your hotel, so you don’t have to worry about the hassle of transportation after a long day of sightseeing. For a more low-key evening, hop in a tuk tuk for a food and beer tour of Beijing’s historic hutongs (alleys).

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10 Tours and Activities

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Private All-Inclusive Day Tour: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Mutianyu Great Wall

Private All-Inclusive Day Tour: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Mutianyu Great Wall

star-5
351
See three of the top attractions in and around Beijing with a guide on this full-day private tour to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu. Private transportation with hotel pickup and drop-off is included, as well as entrance fees, lunch, and a ticket for the round-trip cable car or toboggan ride at the Great Wall.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$202.00
Price varies by group size
From
$202.00
Price varies by group size

Beijing Hutong Food and Beer Tour by Tuk Tuk

Beijing Hutong Food and Beer Tour by Tuk Tuk

star-5
582
Eat your way around Beijing’s old ‘hutong’ alleyways and courtyards on a small-group tour. Explore by private tuk-tuk and enjoy several food stops at tucked-away restaurants and homes you wouldn’t find by yourself. Taste staples like Beijing wraps, flame-grilled meats, and noodles, learn about local cuisine over unlimited beers, and enjoy a stop at a local brewery. Come hungry: your tastings amount to dinner.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$84.27
From
$84.27

Mini Group: Beijing Forbidden City Tour with Great Wall Hiking at Mutianyu

Mini Group: Beijing Forbidden City Tour with Great Wall Hiking at Mutianyu

star-5
339
See three of Beijing’s most famous landmarks on a full-day tour that starts in the city and travels to the Great Wall of China. Start with a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Forbidden City, and walk by the monuments of Tiananmen Square, including Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum. Then depart for the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, riding in a cable car up to the ramparts then walking around for great vantage points. Learn about the sights from your informative guide throughout a memorable tour.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$172.00
Price varies by group size
From
$172.00
Price varies by group size

Beijing Essential Full-Day Tour including Great Wall at Badaling, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

Beijing Essential Full-Day Tour including Great Wall at Badaling, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

star-4
196
See all of Beijing’s cultural and historical highlights on a comprehensive and captivating full-day tour of China’s capital city. Stroll amid the majestic charm of Tiananmen Square; marvel at the imaginative architecture at the Forbidden City; and see the verdant splendor that surrounds the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China. Alongside your knowledgeable guide, gain fascinating insight into the rich history and distinctive culture of Beijing and enjoy convenient round-trip transportation from selected Beijing hotels.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$87.00
From
$87.00

Beijing Classic Full-Day Tour including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven

Beijing Classic Full-Day Tour including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven

star-4
305
Enhance your sightseeing experience in Beijing on a full-day tour of the city’s most captivating sights. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, immerse yourself in the ancient mystery of the Forbidden City; absorb the majestic charm of the Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven; and stroll around the legendary Tiananmen Square. Relax during a scenic bus ride; purchase special souvenirs in the bustling Pearl Market; and satisfy an appetite for authenticity with a traditional Chinese lunch.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$83.00
From
$83.00

Private Half-Day Mutianyu Great Wall Tour including Round Way Cable Car or Toboggan

Private Half-Day Mutianyu Great Wall Tour including Round Way Cable Car or Toboggan

star-5
109
Enjoy personalized attention and a flexible itinerary on this private half-day hiking tour on the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Cable car, chair lift, and toboggan ride included, as well as round-trip private transportation from your hotel in Beijing. Choose between morning and afternoon departure to fit your schedule.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$180.00
Price varies by group size
From
$180.00
Price varies by group size

Forbidden City In-Depth Exploring Private 4-Hour Tour

Forbidden City In-Depth Exploring Private 4-Hour Tour

star-5
78
See the Chinese imperial palace used from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty up close on this private, 4-hour tour of the Forbidden City, including special skip-the-line access. Along the way, you’ll also get to see Tiananmen Square and Jinshan Park. Please be aware that this tour doesn’t include transportation to and from the attractions, but your private guide can help you get a taxi or other form of transport (own expense).
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$82.00
Price varies by group size
From
$82.00
Price varies by group size

Beijing Roast Duck Banquet and Acrobatics Show with VIP Seats Evening Tour

Beijing Roast Duck Banquet and Acrobatics Show with VIP Seats Evening Tour

star-3.5
85
Feast your senses on the spectacular sights of an acrobatic show and the tantalizing taste of Peking duck during an exciting 4-hour experience in Beijing. Dine upon an exquisite banquet comprising of signature Beijing specialty, Peking duck, then enjoy an evening of enthralling entertainment from a troupe of talented acrobats. Marvel at the flexibility of the acrobatics as an elegant performance unravels beside melodious music. Enjoy convenient round-trip transportation from selected Beijing hotels on this tour. 
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$144.41
From
$144.41

Private Custom Tour: Beijing in One Day

Private Custom Tour: Beijing in One Day

star-4.5
112
See the spectacular sights of Beijing according to a personalized itinerary on this full-day private tour of the city. Accompanied by a private and knowledgeable guide, tailor your tour according to which landmarks interest you most; perhaps see the ancient mystery of the Forbidden City; venture to the iconic Greet Wall; or admire the exquisite exterior of the Lama Temple. Follow your guide around the narrow alleys and ambient streets of the city to purchase special souvenirs, or sample some sumptuous street food in bustling markets.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$122.67
Price varies by group size
From
$122.67
Price varies by group size

Private Tour: Shichahai, Nanluoguxiang and Peking Opera with Peking Duck Dinner

Private Tour: Shichahai, Nanluoguxiang and Peking Opera with Peking Duck Dinner

star-4.5
2
Enjoy a memorable night out in Beijing on this private 5-hour evening tour, including hotel pick-up. After dining on delicious Peking duck at a local restaurant, prepare to be entertained as you witness a spectacular Peking Opera performance. See the history of China brought to life through a dazzling cultural display, including live music, martial arts and traditional dance. Finally, soak up the lively atmosphere of Beijing by night with a stroll past the bars and cafés of Nanluoguxiang Alley, and through historic Shichahai.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$110.00
Price varies by group size
From
$110.00
Price varies by group size