Where to stay
- Hotel 66, No. 66 Xinanli Hutong, Dongcheng District. Lion brass knuckles, multi-inclined roofs, and East Asian murals adorn Hotel 66, making it a visually pleasing place to stay. Its central location and cozy, well-appointed guestrooms are a steal at RMB331 per night.
- King Parkview Hotel, No. 55 Shatan Hou St, Dongcheng District; +86 10 5875 7888, pephotel.com/en. A hotel with traditional Chinese interiors, located within walking distance to Tiananmen Square.
- New World Beijing Hotel, No. 8 Qinian St, Chongwenmen, Dongcheng District; +86 10 5960 8888; www.beijing.newworldhotels.com/en. A five-star hotel right in the heart of Beijing, near Wangfujing (one of the city’s most famous shopping streets). It’s equipped with a spa, fitness center, indoor swimming pool, business center and an excellent rooftop bar.
- Nostalgia Hotel, No. 46 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng District; +86 10 6403 2288; www.nostalgiahotelbeijing.com. A charming, three-star hotel located on a traditional Beijing hutong (alley).
- Peking Yard Hostel, No. 28 Wangzhima Hutong, Dongsibei St, Dongcheng District; +86 10 8404 8787; www.pekingyard.hostel.com. Modern furnishings and tasteful decor have transformed this 200-year-old Beijing courtyard into a charming boutique hostel.
- Tang Yue Hotel, 54 Donghuamen St, Dongcheng District; +86 10 6525 2523. Ideal for budget travelers looking for a clean and functional place to stay. It’s just a five-minute walk to the Forbidden City.
Where to eat and drink
- Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant, Dongsi 10th Alley, Dongcheng District; www.dadongdadong.com. Head to this widely-acclaimed restaurant for authentic Peking duck.
- Dawanju Restaurant, No.53 Dong’anmen Main St, Dongcheng District; +86 10 5138 5686. Besides Peking duck, this restaurant is also known for its Sichuan fried pork and dumplings.
- De Yuan Roast Duck Restaurant, Dashilan W St, Xicheng; +86 10 6308 5371. Another Peking duck joint that’s highly popular among locals.
- Du’s Noodles, No.7 Ronghua Middle Rd, Economic Development Zone, Daxing District. This restaurant’s handcrafted version of zhájiàng makes it stand out from the crowd. Best paired with hot Chinese tea, this wheat-based noodle dish is typically mixed with smoky yellow-bean paste and topped with shredded pork and vegetables. Menu cards in this restaurant are also written in English, making it easier for folks who don’t speak Mandarin to place their orders.
- Emily Beijing Hutong Kitchen Restaurant, No.63 An’dingmen East St, Dongcheng District. Emily and her crew will teach you how to make dumplings by hand. You can feast on your creations after!
- Hongyuan Nan Men Hot Pot, Building 13, Yongnei Dongjie Dongli, Chongwen District; +86 1 6701 7030. This hot pot institution uses traditional coal-fired pots. While you can order a variety of ingredients, locals highly recommend the lamb.
- Lost Heaven, 23, Service Hall by Qianmen Community of Dongcheng Administration Service Center, Dongcheng District; +86 10 8516 2698; www.lostheaven.com.cn. This outpost of the famous Shanghai restaurant offers what is widely regarded as the best Yunnan cuisine in town.
- Quanjude Roast Duck, 13 Shuaifuyuan Lu, Wangfujing, Dongcheng District; +86 10 6525 3310. Another popular joint for authentic Peking duck.
- Temple Restaurant Beijing, 23 Shatan N St, Dongcheng District; +86 10 8400 2232; www.trb-cn.com. Set on the grounds of a 600-year-old temple complex, this spiffy, award-winning restaurant dishes out fine European cuisine — perfect for a fancy night out.
- Wangfujing Main Street, Dongcheng District. Head to the hawkers on this popular shopping street for exotic snacks like scorpions, starfish, worms, seahorses and more.
- Wenyu Yogurt Shop, 49 Nanluoguxiang; +86 10 6405 7621. Famous for its authentic, Beijing-style yogurt called nai lao and milk curd items, an order here would cost CNY15-20 depending on your toppings.
- Mulu, 7 Xinsi Hutong, Dongzhimen. Mulu breathes fresh air into one of the city’s oldest hutongs (narrow lanes). Offering Southeast Asian eats — the Malaysian curry is a standout — this classy eatery is the current go-to for Beijing’s in-crowd.
ChikaLicious Dessert Bar, 1 Jianguomenwai Ave, Chaoyang. The phenomenal dessert bar from New York has just landed in Beijing. Enjoy one of the specialty cakes, then share an Instagram moment with your BFFs in its elegant setting.
The Bell x Terrazza Martini, 6/F Nali Patio, Sanlitun. Lounge under the stars at the new Italian-style, two-storey hotspot with tropical aspirations. Enjoy well-priced cocktails and thin-crust pizzas while gazing at the striking city skyline.
What to do
- Beijing Zoo, No. 137 Xizhimenwai Main St, Xicheng District; +86 10 6831 5131. This zoo is home to many rare animals endemic to China, including the giant panda, the South China tiger, and the Chinese giant salamander.
- Chaoyang Theatre, 36 North East Third Ring Rd, Chaoyang District; +86 135 5252 7373; www.chaoyangacrobaticshow.com. Marvel at jaw-dropping contortionist acts and high wire stunts at The Flying Acrobatics Show.
- Forbidden City, 4 Jing Shan Qian Jie, Dongcheng District; www.dpm.org.cn. This UNESCO World Heritage Site once served as the Chinese imperial palace for almost 500 years. It currently houses the Palace Museum, which boasts an extensive collection of artefacts from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
- Great Wall of China. A must on every visitor’s itinerary. Join a walking tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was constructed to protect the ancient Chinese empires from being invaded by the nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe.
- Guloudajie Road. Explore one of Beijing’s last hutong (narrow alley) neighborhoods on foot or on a rickshaw. You can also rent a bike from one of the several bicycle shops in the area.
- Jingshan Park, Xicheng District. A park in front of the Forbidden Palace, which is frequented by locals and tourists alike. Hike up to the park’s highest point at sunset for stunning views.
- Red Theater, No.44 Xingfu Da Jie, Dongcheng District; +86 10 6714 2473; redtheatrekungfushow.com. The kung fu (traditional Chinese martial art) show at this theater follows the story of a young boy, who dreams of becoming a kung fu master one day. English subtitles are shown above the stage.
- Summer Palace, 19 Xinjiangongmen Rd, Haitian; +86 10 6288 1144. Enjoy the beauty and splendor of this royal park, which is made up of several gardens, lakes and palaces. It’s said to be the best-preserved imperial garden in the world.
- Temple of Heaven, 1 Tiantan E Rd, Dongcheng District; +86 10 6702 8866. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, constructed in 1420 during the Ming dynasty, is one of the most significant imperial temples in Beijing.
- Tiananmen Square, Dongcheng District. The largest urban city square in the world is also the most iconic landmark in Beijing. Be sure to visit the Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People’s Heroes, Great Hall of the People, Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, and the National Museum of China.