How to visit Beijing in One Day

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

This itinerary takes you for a walk along the 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.

Temple of Heaven
Get up early and have a fast breakfast, and get to the south gate of Temple of Heaven around 8:00am by Beijing Taxi. Walking from the south gate to the north gate and on the way visit the 500-year-old temple.

The 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 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 on the ground. There are also music and singing…

Qianmen and Hutongs
Now you exit from the north gate to the Temple of Heaven and turn left (west) for 15 minutes walking, then turn right (north) to Qianmen Wallking Street and Dazhalan. Please notice, to get to Qianmen Walking 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 ancient street in Beijing.

Walking on the Qianmen Pedestrian Street

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

Tiananmen Square
After finishing your exploration on Qianmen, 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 61 years ago 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.

he 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 not to be missed a visit during your Beijing Day Tours. Jingshan just sits across the north gate of Forbidden City . After finishing your visit of Forbidden City  from south to north, you exit from Forbidden City’s north gate.

Raising your head, you will find a pavilion with three layered eaves perched on a hill. The main road between the north gate area of Forbiden City and the south gate of Jingshan Park  is full blocked.

To get across to the south gate ofJingshan Park , you just turn left for 20 meters and take the underground pass. Line up 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 east 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.

Beihai Park is well known for its beautiful gardens, the maze in the stone cave, temples and pavillions. 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
Walk through the north gate of Beihai park, 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.

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 sea a traditional Beijing; if you try to find a quiet place in the busy Beijing, come to Shichahai! Tired? Have a drink on 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. Guijie, Ghost Street is lined with over 100 restaurants and most of them offer 24-hour service.

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:

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

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.

11 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

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