Of course, you won’t miss Tiananmen Square – the largest public square of this kind in the world – on your first trip to Beijing. As a public square, basically it is open all year round free of charge for local residents and visitors as well （except on some special events or rallies).
So what do you expect from Tiananmen Square? What other famous attractions available you can see near the square? When and how to go there? Well, we’d like to sum up some useful tips which might help plan your own trip to Tiananmen Square.
Tip 1: How to get to Tiananmen Square
For a first-time visitor to Beijing, using Beijing’ local public bus system is a bit tricky and daunting. So taking subway to go around Beijing is highly recommended and you easily check online or grab a subway map of Beijing from your lodging hotel.
Or you may check out my another article How to take subway in Beijing for more subway travel information.
|Subway||To go to Tiananmen Square, you may use Subway Line 1 or Line 2:|
For Subway Line 1, you get off either at Tiananmen East Station or Tiananmen West Station；
For Subway Line 2, just get off at Qianmen Station.
|Bus||Arriving at Tiananmen East Station, take bus number：1, 120, 2, 52, 82, Night 1, Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus 1, and Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus 2.|
|Car||Tiananmen Square does not have a dedicated parking lot. Nevertheless, you can avail yourself of the scattered parking lots in the nearby hotels and alleys.|
Tip 2: Tiananmen Square Opening Hours
For security reason, Tiananmen Square is now fenced off and gone are the days when people could easily cross the square from the surrounding streets. You have to walk through one of the check points. So don’t forget to bring your personal ID.
Tiananmen Square Opening Hours:
Basically the square is open one hour before the daily the Flag Raising Ceremony and close an hour after the Flag Lowering Ceremony.
They time the flag raising at the exact moment of sunrise and the flag lowering at the time of sunset in Beijing. So you can check the timetable for flag raisin and lowering and easily learn about the opening hours for Tiananmen Square.
You can also call Tian ‘anmen District Administrative Committee inquiring about the opening or closing of the square, or other matters. Contact phone number：86409660.
Very important notice:
You still can walk around the square and take beautiful pictures even when the square itself is closed. No big deal.
Just read my another article Night View of Tiananmen Square ( I shot all the pictures outside the square in the evening).
Tip 3: What to see inside Tiananmen Square
Well, once you are in the square, you will see people, lots of people, coming from all parts of the country and the world also like you. Of course, Tiananmen Square itself is amazing, 880 meters long from north to south and 500 meters wide from east to west. It covers an area of 440,000 square meters and can accommodate one million people for grand gatherings.
Along the central axis of Beijing in the square from north to south stand the National Flag Pole, the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall and the Zhengyangmen Gate Tower.
The National Flag Pole
So from the north to south in the square, you first see the National Flag Pole, where people see the daily national flag raising and lowering ceremonies.
The Monument to the People’s Heroes
Originally built from August 1952 to May 1958, in the center of the square, the monument towers 10 stories high, its northern facade is dominated by the inscription, “Eternal Glory to the People’s Heroes,” in Mao Zedong’s hand.
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall
Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall is located in the south of Tian’anmen Square between the Monument to the People’s Heroes in the center of Tiananmen Square and Zhengyangmen Gate on the southern edge of Tiananmen Square.
The mausoleum is the final resting place of Chairman Mao where his body was embalmed and put on display after his death.
Read my another article Tips for Visiting Chairman Mao Memorial Hall for more information.
Zhengyangmen ( Zhengang Gate Tower )
Zhengyangmen was built between 1421 and 1439 and actually had two towers, the gatehouse and a watchtower. The two towers were originally put together to create an inner walled courtyard for easy defence purpose.
Tip 4: What to see near Tiananmen Square
For many, going to Tiananmen Square is not just for the square itself, furthermore they would incorporate the square into their day trip. So what are the major attractions adjacent to Tiananmen Square?
Qianmen Street ( to the south of the square)
The 845-meter long Qianmen Street runs south from Tiananmen Square just along the Beijing central axis. It is one of the last remnants of the business centers of the old Beijing.
Check out my another article Qianmen Street for more information.
National Museum Of China ( to the east of the square)
The National Museum of China may be not a must do in Beijing if you only have 2 or 3 days to stick around. But if you’re here for quite a few days, or you have finished the so-called bucket list, this huge museum is perfect for you no matter you are a history buff or not.
See my another article Tips for Visiting National Museum Of China for more information.
The Great Hall of the People ( to the west of the square )
On the west of Tiananmen Square it is the Great Hall of the People, the meeting place of national people’s congress of the People’s Republic of China ( often dubbed as China’s parliament). The Great Hall with huge and complicated engineering was built within ten months in 1950’s, possessing central hall, great hall, banqueting hall with 7000 square meters, office building of people congress standing committee and hall named with all provinces and autonomous region.
The National Centre for the Performing Arts （ to the west of the Great Hall of the People）
It is one of the 4 most important landmarks in Beijing. The egg-shape theatre is absolutely worth having a glimpse. It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. Construction started in December 2001 and the inaugural concert was held in December 2007.
Read Night View of National Centre for the Performing Arts (China) and How to Visit National Grand Theatre in Beijing for more information.
Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace) to the north of the square
Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace) was built in the 15th year of Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1417) and was originally called “Chengtian Gate”. It was rebuilt in the 8th year of Shunzhi of the Qing Dynasty (1651) . It was the front gate of the imperial city of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
On October 1, 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong solemnly declared to the world at the Tiananmen Tower that “the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China was founded today”. Tiananmen has since become the symbol of new China.
The National Emblem of the People’s Republic of China is hung in the middle of the Tiananmen Tower above the eaves, and the portrait of Chairman Mao is hung above the doorway in the middle of Tiananmen Tower. On both sides are banners and slogans reading “Long live the People’s Republic of China” and “Long live the great unity of the people of the world”.
In 1961, Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace) became one of the first national key cultural relic protection sites promulgated by the State Council.
By the way, at the time of my updating this article, Tiananmen Tower is still closed to the public. For the latest information, please call Tiananmen District Administrative Committee at 63095718.
Forbidden City to the north of Tiananmen Tower
Visiting the Forbidden City ( The Palace Museum ) is no doubt one of your travel highlights in Beijing. Then how to buy your Forbidden City entry ticket? When to visit? Which gate to enter? What’s the visiting line? How to beat the crowds?
See my another article How to visit Forbidden City for more information.
Some useful information about Tiananmen Square
Tourist Scam in Tiananmen Square area
The area around Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City is a favourite hangout for scammers. For more information on the scams, please read my another article Top 10 Beijing Tourist Scams.
Toilets in the Square
If you drink too much water and want to use a toilet, don’t worry. There are two toilets adjoining the National Museum of China on the east of Tiananmen Square.
So you just go out of the square from its east exit, then walk directly to the toilets in the annex to the museum.
Drinks and Food Selling
If you feel thirsty or hungry, you can easily get what you want from the food and beverage on the wheels in the square. Don’t litter.
Tiananmen Square Map
Tiananmen Square Hotlines
Tiananmen Square Administration Committee: 010-86409660
Tiananmen Tower: 63095718
Tiananmen Ambulance: 120
Further Reading relative to Tiananmen Square
The timetable for flag raisin and lowering
Night View of Tiananmen Square
Sunset View from Tiananmen Square
The Central Axis of Beijing
How to Watch Sunrise over Tiananmen Square
Tips for Visiting Chairman Mao Memorial Hall
Night View of National Centre for the Performing Arts (China)
Tips for Visiting National Museum Of China
How to visit Forbidden City
Tip: Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites
Any questions, just drop a line.