How to visit Beijing in One Day

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If you only have one full day in Beijing and would like to feel, touch and see the essential Beijing, you may check out the quick guide to Beijing one-day itinerary below, my suggested self-guide itinerary to plan your own memorable Beijing Day Tours.

This itinerary takes you for a walk along Beijing axis from south to north and appreciate the harmony of the city design which took its form in Yuan (1279-1368) and Ming ( 1368-1644) Dynasties.

For Beijing airport layover day tours or airport transit short tours, please check out Beijing layover tours.

Temple of Heaven
Get up early and have a fast breakfast, and get to the east gate by taking the subway line 5 or to the south gate to Temple of Heaven by taking Beijing taxi.

Walking from the south gate ( or east gate ) through the north gate, visit the 500-year-old temple within a huge park, hence the official name for Temple of Heaven: Temple of Heaven Park ( Tiantan Park).

Temple of Heaven was constructed in 1420 AD during the Ming Dynasty as a site for the emperors to offer sacrifices to heaven.

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven is now actually a park. Early in the morning there are a great number of retired people who come here to hang out with friends and do morning exercises, playing Taichi ball, doing ribbon dancing, ballroom dancing, playing cards and dominoes and writing calligraphy with water brush pens on the ground. There are also music and singing…

Daing Tai Chi

Qianmen and Hutongs
Now you exit from the north gate to the Temple of Heaven and turn left (west) along Tiantan Road for 15 minutes walking, then turn right at Qianmen Street and walk north to Qianmen Pedestrian Street.

Please notice, to get to Qianmen Pedestrian Street, you have to pass over a flyover to the east side of the Church you will see.

Use some time to explore the time-honored Qianmen Pedestrian Street full of shops and restaurants.

You may grab some local food as your lunch. Dazhalan is a must for you to walk for a while exploring the modified ancient street in Beijing.


Walking on the Qianmen Pedestrian Street

Dazhalan is a must for you to walk exploring the modified  ancient street in Beijing.

Tiananmen Square
After finishing your exploration on Qianmen Street, you head north and pass through Zhengyangmen Tower ( Arrow Tower) and then walk through a Beijing Subway tunnel to Tiananmen Square.

Take a half hour or more time taking pictures and immersing yourself in the center of Beijing or even China.

Walk through an underground tunnel again from Tiananmen Square up to the Gate of Heaven Peace (Tiananmen Tower), where  Chairman Mao declared the People’s Republic On October 01, 1949. You pass under Mao’ Portrait and enter Forbidden City .

Take a half hour or more time taking pictures and immersing yourself in the center of Beijing and China.

Forbidden City
The grandeur imperial palaces for the emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasties. The Forbidden City  is a must see highlight for every first time visitor to Beijing.

Be prepared for crowds of people like you visiting this complex. So you go from the south gate to its north gate. Your visit usually will take 2-3 hours.

The Forbidden City is a must see highlight for every first time visitor to Beijing

Jingshan Park  ( Jingshan Hill,  Coal Hill or prospect Hill).
Jingshan Park  is unmissable for your Beijing Day Tour. Jingshan just sits across the north gate to Forbidden City . After finishing your visit to Forbidden City  from south to north, you exit from Forbidden City’s north gate.

Walking out of the north gate, you raise your head, you will find a pavilion with three-layered eaves perched on a hill in Jingshan Park, a perfect place to have a panoramic view of Forbidden City and the city of Beijing.

The main road between the north gate area of Forbidden City and the south gate of Jingshan Park  is full blocked. To get across to the south gate  to Jingshan Park , you just turn left for 20 meters and take the underground pass.

Line up at the ticket window by the gate to Jingshan Park for the tickets: RMB 2 per person. Opening hours: 6am – 8pm all year round.


Jingshan Park is not to be missed a visit during your Beijing Day Tours

Beihai Park

After Jingshan Park , you are supposed to walk west to its neighbor – Beihai Park.  Beihai Park is very often neglected by many visitors.

Often dubbed as Winter Palace by westerners, Beihai Park  is the oldest imperial garden in the world as well as one of the largest in China.

Beihai Park is well-known for its beautiful gardens, the maze in the stone cave, temples and pavilions. Atop the Jade Island in Beihai Park, White Dagoba becomes an important landmark of the city.

Beihai Park is the oldest imperial garden in the world as well as one of the largest in China.

Public Bars at Shichahai
After the tour of Beihai Park, you exit from the north gate to Beihai park, then you come to the most famous night hangout in Beijing – Shichahai, where a cluster of bars and restaurants are dotted along the banks of the lake.

People mill along the bridge with weeping willows glowing with shining sunset in Shichahai


If you are fed up with the gentrification in Beijing; if you lose interest in modern Beijing; if you feel sad about the fact that Beijing is becoming less like Beijing; if you want to see a traditional Beijing,  and if you try to find a quiet place in the busy Beijing, come to Shichahai! Tired? Have a drink in one of the bars.

Guojie Food Street
Are you hungry? Take a cab to the nearby Guijie, Ghost Street ,  a 1442-meter long gourmet street, located within Dongzhimennei Dongcheng District, running from the east of Dongzhimen Bridge.

Eating seeds outside on benches and waiting for a seat in Ghost Street

06611Tip:  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:For Beijing airport layover tours, please check out:

Beijing layover tours.Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)

Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)

Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)

Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p

Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p

Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings

How to Visit Beijing in Two Days.
How to Visit Beijing in Three Days.
How to Visit Beijing in 8 Days.

Forbidden City Travel Tips – The Palace Museum Travel Tips
Tips for Visiting Tiananmen Square
Tips for Visiting the Temple of Heaven
Tips for visiting Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs in Beijing
How to visit Beihai Park Beijing
How to visit Bird’s Nest and Water Cube
How to visit CCTV Tower in Beijing
How to Visit National Grand Theatre in Beijing
How to visit Shichahai

Any questions, just drop a  line.

Chinese version of the travel guide:


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25 Responses to “How to visit Beijing in One Day”

  1. Paxton says:

    My friends and I have a layover in Beijing for 10 hours. Would it be hard to leave the airport and obtain a visa?

  2. admin says:

    Hello Paxton,

    Basically you need a China visa to leave Beijing Capital airport. If you are from one of the 45 countries which are eligible for 72-hour free visa trasnit in Beijing, it will be much esier for you.

    Please check and for more information.

  3. Rodrigo Aguilera says:


    I will get a connection flight to Bangkok from Beijing, but i’ll have 12 hours wait for the flight. Do you think it is possible to do some sightseeing? I arrive in Beijing at 6am and leave ate 19pm, and I’m from one of the eligible country for the 72 hour visa.

    Thank you.

  4. Daniel says:

    Hello Rodrigo Aguilera,

    Sorry for our delayed reply! Yes, you have enough time for one day Beijing layover tour. For more information in your Beijing layover tour, please check the link below:

    Have a good layover in Beijing!

  5. Jacob says:


    Could you recommend a tour option for us to visit the Great wall (1 – 2 hours, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. We are part of a school group attending the Robotics Olympiad in December 2016. We would also like to tour the city to see the attractions there. We will have probably a couple of days from the 10th or 11th of December to the 13th before we begin the Olympiad. I would like my students to experience the history, culture and get in some shopping in the two or so days we have to ourselves.


  6. Daniel says:


    Thanks for your inquiry! One of our staff emembers will contact you for the details. Much appreciated for your patience!

  7. Tamoor says:


    I have layover of almost 24 hrs and my flight lands at 3:30 pm. Is it possible to cover all three major heritage sights during my stay which includes Great wall, forbbiden city and olympic stadium. How much it will cost for the group of four people. Thanks

  8. Daniel says:

    Hi Tamoor,

    Thanks for your inquiry!

    One of our trip advisors will contact you by email later today. Much appreciated!

  9. Eric says:


    I’m going to be in Beijing on 3/28th at 2:30 PM and leaving the next day at 9:25 AM.
    I was wondering if there is a tour I could do on the 28th after I arrive. Also I don’t think I need a visa because I will be there less than 24rs. Could you please tell me if this is correct.

    THank you

  10. Anna says:

    Hi, I am a crew member on Golden Princess.
    We dock in beijing on june 9th (only for the day) and I am interested in doing a tour,
    Preferably the Highligh Day Tour for 58$ if there’s enough time.

    Please let me know.

    Kind regards

  11. Daniel says:

    Dear Anna,

    Your cruise ship should dock at Tianjin Cruise Port, about 200 km east of Beijing. Please check out the following link for more information:

    Any questions, please email us at

  12. Hinesh Vithal says:


    I will be in Beijing from 11pm on the 9th of January 2018 to 10pm on the 10th of January 2018. I would like to do the day tour (Great wall, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square).
    Would you recommend i book a hotel for the night close to the airport or in the city centre? Where do the tour pick ups occur?

    thanking you

  13. Daniel says:

    Dear Hinesh Vithal,

    Thanks for your inquiry! One of our trip advisors will contact you for the details. Much appreciated!

  14. Amit Sharma says:

    Hi – I will be reaching PEK at 8 PM. And i have a flight next day at 4 PM. Do i have enough time to take a day trip? So that, I dont miss my 4:30 PM flight. We are going to be 2 adults and 2 children. Thanks.

  15. Daniel says:

    Dear Amit Sharma,

    Thanks for your inquiry!

    Basically you only have some time next morning for a half day tour. You know you have to leave your hotel at 1:300pm for Beijing airport and get to the airport around 2 :30pm, two hours before your departure.

    For the half day tour, please contact us at and one of our trip advisors will reply to you per your request.

    Much appreciated!

  16. Sarah says:

    Will arrive in Bejing October 23rd from Canada; have trips booked already to Tianenmen Square, Forbidden City and the Herbal Instit., the following day. Do you have any suggestions for our first day?


  17. Daniel says:


    Personally, I think a side trip to Herbal Instit is not recommended for the first day. You may add Temple of Heavne or Summer Palace if you only have one day available for the city tour.

  18. Alexandra says:

    Hi there,
    we arrive into Beijing on 30th October at 04.30 and leave on 31st October flight at 20.40. We would like to see the main places of interest including the Great Wall at Mutianyu. Would you suggest a collection of different tours or put them together? Do any include pick up from the airport?
    Thank you

  19. Daniel says:

    Dear Alexandra,

    Yes, you can choose different day tours and put them together per your travel schedule. There are two kinds of day tours: private day tour and group day tours. In your case, I suggest you book private day tours to be tailored to your travel time.

    Private days:
    Group day tours:

    For airport transfer, please check out the link for more information:

    By the way, you also can combine your private day tours with airport transfer ( ask for quoting a new price for your customized tour with airport transfer ).

    Any further request, please email us at Thanks!

  20. Josh Binay says:

    I will arrive Peking 6 in the morning and leave 19 in the evening. What can you recommend us? Can we have a private taxi that can drive us all day, and what will be the cost for that?
    Arrival is 15 Dec.

  21. Daniel says:

    Dear Josh Binay,

    Thanks for your inquiry!

    We do have airport layover tours to visit the city of Beijing or Great Wall of China. Please check out the link below:

    Please book online or email us at . Thanks!

  22. Sam says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I have a full day for sight seeing on 20th April 2019, I would like to visit Great Wall, underground palace, summer palace, temple of heaven, Forbidden city, Tiananmen Square and Beihai Park. Can you suggest me a plan with time schedule and charges for the visit.

    Thank you.

  23. Daniel says:

    Dear Sam,

    Awfully sorry for my delayed reply!

    For Beijing private Day tours, please check out the link:

    For Beijing group day tour, please check out the link:

    For Beijing multi-day tour packages, please check out the link:

    Any further request, please email us at

    Have a nice time in Beijing!

  24. Carlos Maldonado Ph D.,FAACS says:

    Can I bring to the Great Wall my picture Drone DJI mavic MINI 249 grs?
    Thanks Carlos

  25. Daniel says:

    Dear Carlos Maldonado Ph D.,FAACS,

    Thanks for your inquiry!

    Sorry, you are not supposed to use any drones here on the Wall. Have a nice trip to Beijing!

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