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No trip to China would be complete without a trip to the country’s capital: Beijing. I was only able to visit the city for two days, but it was worth it because I had to see Beijing!

Beijing is huge and filled with tourist attractions. If you only have a week or so, how do you decide what to do and see?

I have chosen seven things to do during your seven days. To each his own, but in my opinion, these activities are essential! If you have extra time, you can explore even more of Beijing’s sights and history.

1. Choose a section of the Great Wall

Obviously, you can’t visit Beijing without walking along the Great Wall! Considering the wall is over 8,850 km long, there are several sections you can visit.

The Jinshanling section is the most popular. The Mutianyu section has been well restored. The Huanghuacheng section has unique scenery that significantly changes with each season. Not to sway you one way or the other, but I went to Huanghuacheng section!

2. Eat Peking duck

Peking duck is roasted and served in slices, usually with sweet sauce. The duck I ate during my trip to Beijing was one of the best meals I had during my entire year in China. However, I have talked to people who said their duck was disgusting. Overall, people say Peking duck is hit or miss.

Talk to employees at your hostel or do some online research before you choose where to dine. Usually, I’m an advocate for going with the flow when it comes to meals in Asia. In this case, though, plan ahead.

3. Visit the Terracotta Army

The Terracotta Army is a group of sculptures dedicated to China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. It’s one of the most famous landmarks in China.The attraction is huge, so dedicate a good chunk of time to this activity. The Terracotta Army is an indoor activity. If it’s raining or you’re caught in a typical smoggy Beijing day, this is a great way to spend time.

4. See the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is a palace that now acts as a Chinese museum.

The price is CNY 60 from April to October and CNY 40 from November to March, which is decent considering how much time you can spend here. While the city is beautiful, I would think twice if you visit in the dead of summer. I went in late June, and I basically paid 10 bucks to sweat and be miserable for two hours. If the weather isn’t nice, it’s really hard to enjoy it.

5. Wander neighborhoods

It’s important to see non-touristy areas when visiting a city as touristy as Beijing. Find some off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods. Walk around with no agenda. Visit some shops. Try the street food. Consider this a day to relax.

6. See temples

Beijing is an ancient city, which means it’s a haven for gorgeous temples. The most famous and central is the Temple of Heaven.The second most popular temple is Lama Temple. The oldest is Tanzhe Temple. The Temple of the Sun is attached to a gorgeous park you tour on foot. There are countless other temples, as well. Whatever you want to see, you’ll be able to find it in Beijing.

7. Peruse museums

In addition to the Forbidden City, there are numerous museums that pay tribute to the rich history of Beijing and China.The most obvious choice is the National Museum of China to get schooled in Chinese history. Or you can check out the Aviation Museum or the National Art Museum.

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SDE International - Shenzhen

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About the Author:

Laura Grace Tarpley
Laura Grace Tarpley is a freelance writer and English teacher in Shenzhen, China. She enjoys tinkering with crossword puzzles, reading Bill Bryson books, and taking naps on her huge couch. Follow her travels on her Instagram and Twitter. Or you can check out her blog, Let’s Go, Tarpley!
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