How to visit Beijing in One Day

If you only have one full day in Beijing and would like to feel, touch and see the essential Beijing, you may check out this quick guide to Beijing one-day itinerary below, our 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 bite, and get to the east gate to Temple Heaven 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.

The Hall of Pray for Harvest above the Wall

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…

Doing Tai Chi early morning in Temple of Heaven Park

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.

Walking on the 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.

Dazhalan is a sub-street along Qianmen Pedestrian Street

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

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.

Immersing yourself in the center of Beijing

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 .

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.

Gate of Supreme Harmony inside Forbidden City

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.

Jingshan Park  ( Jingshan 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.

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

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.

Beihai Park

After Jingshan Park , you are supposed to walk west to its neighbour – 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.

The White Dagoba on Qionghua Isle becomes an important landmark of the city.

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.

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

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 Beijing guided tours:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Beijing Winter Tour
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings

Best Time to Visit Beijing
How to plan a trip to Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in 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

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Walking Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Gui Jie ( Ghost Street) Food Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Chinese version of the travel guide:


25 thoughts on “How to visit Beijing in One Day

  1. 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. Hi,

    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.

  3. Hi,

    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.


  4. jacob,

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

  5. Hello,

    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

  6. Hi Tamoor,

    Thanks for your inquiry!

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

  7. Hi,

    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

  8. 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

  9. Hi

    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

  10. Dear Hinesh Vithal,

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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 [email protected] and one of our trip advisors will reply to you per your request.

    Much appreciated!

  13. 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?


  14. Sarah,

    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.

  15. 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

  16. 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 [email protected]. Thanks!

  17. Hi,
    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.

  18. 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.

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

  20. 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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