History Guide China: Top Historic Sites in Beijing

The capital city of China, Beijing, is home to some of the world’s oldest and most treasured items in history. Beijing first appeared as a global entity over three millennia ago. The ancient Chinese and their long reigning dynasties have been responsible for much of the technology and philosophy that had been carried out throughout the last several thousands of years and is still being used, researched and studied today. For history buffs and world travelers, it comes as no surprise that a vacation to Beijing has crossed your mind from time to time. Tripio has put together a list of the Top 10 bucket list destinations in this historic city to help push you into planning your trip out there! Let’s get started with the Top 10 reasons why you should begin planning your vacation to Beijing on the Tripio App.


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1. The Great Wall of China 

Beijing The great wall of China

Photo by William Olivieri on Unsplash

The Great Wall of China. One of the world’s most famous and well preserved landmarks ever to be created by man. The Great Wall is one of man’s largest constructions ever to be created. Everyone has heard the rumor that the Great Wall of China can be seen from outer space… and it is totally true! Astronauts in orbit are able to see the well defined marvel from thousands of miles up in the sky. While there are several series of The Great Wall that had been added later on, the original barricades began construction in the 7th-century BCE.

However, the most prominent and well recognized portions of The Great Wall of China were established under the reign of the Ming dynasty between the 14th and the 17th-centuries (CE). Walking along the Great Wall of China is a bucket list item for most world travelers. You’re Custom Itinerary that you build on the Tripio App simply cannot be complete without the addition of The Great Wall of China. 


2. Forbidden City, Beijing

Beijing Forbidden city

Photo by @__drz__ on Unsplash


At number 2 on Tripio’s list of Top 10 Historic Sites in Beijing we have the Forbidden City. Second to The Great Wall, the Forbidden City is perhaps the most recognized and sought after attraction in Beijing. The Forbidden City is a series of temples and worship houses that were only to be of service to those of high renown and members of the royal families of ancient China. As you travel through the Forbidden City you will be amazed by the intricate and complex forms of art and architecture that flood every square inch of this activity. The Forbidden City consists of nearly 1,000 buildings. Each building served its own unique purpose to the ancient Chinese dynasties. 

3. Temple of Heaven, Beijing

Beijing Temple of heaven

Photo by Ayrton Tang on Unsplash

During the early 15th-century under the rule of Ming dynasty, the luxurious and world famous Temple of Heaven was constructed. The Temple of Heaven is one of Beijing’s most prized possessions. In its heyday the Temple of Heaven served as another house of worship for those who were “worthy”. In this case those that could afford it and/or were born into it. At this destination, there are a series of temples covering the area making it quite the adventure game to see what attracts you most. The Temple of Heaven is without a doubt a must-see destination as you travel to Beijing. Your Custom Itinerary on the Tripio App is starting to heat up with the mention of this world class historic landmark. 

4. National Museum of China

Beijing National Museum of China

Photo by Winkler on Unsplash

Stepping away from all of the ancient historic sites, at number 4 we have the National Museum of China. The National Museum of China fits in with another site listed on Tripio’s idea of Top 10 in the Chinese Capital. Occupying a large section of the Square, the National Museum of China is home to thousands of artifacts and national treasures of ancient China. Next to the Louvre in Paris, the National Museum of China is the second most visited museum in the world. Within the main area of this treasured museum there are typically between 40-50 exhibits. All of the exhibits of this museum tell the stories of the Chinese and their ancestors. 

5. Bell & Drum Towers, Beijing

Beijing Bell and drums tower

Photo by Harrison Qi on Unsplash

Some of Beijing’s most fascinating landmarks are the twin towers that stand opposite each other scraping the sky above the Hutongs of the old city. The towers represent the Old City of Beijing and its ever prospering community. The Bell and Drum Towers are a marvel from a distance and from the outside. However, the real adventure begins when you climb to the top and are struck with an incredible view of the Old City of Beijing. For the last two decades, it has become a tradition that every year on New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight the Bell Tower rings and delivers joy and bliss to the people of Beijing. 

6. Summer Palace

Beijing summer palace

Photo by Kit Sanchez on Unsplash

As you travel through Beijing, you will find that there is a diverse variety of treasured historic landmarks. The Summer Palace is always a hit amongst first time visitors to the city. This widespread area is full of lakes, palaces and parks that make up what is known as the “Summer Palace”. Adding the Summer Palace to your vacation itinerary will bring you an adventure that will last a lifetime! Completed in the mid 18th-century, the upper palace has been a Top 10 site to see in Beijing. Tranquil gardens, xieshan architecture, ancient artwork and craftsmanship all await those you travel to the Summer Palace. 

7. Lama Temple 

Beijing Lama temple

Photo by John Salvino on Unsplash

The Lama Temple is a must-see attraction in the heart of Beijing. Abundant with monks, worshippers and a number of tourists everyday, the Lama Temple is a sacred member of the Top 10 most treasured sites in the city. Traditional Tibetan Buddhism is practiced here at the Yonghe Lamasery, better known to the public as the Lama Temple. Known for their vast collection of Han Chinese and ancient Tibetan artworks that are scattered throughout the Lamasery. For art history and culture enthusiasts, be sure to check out this activity on the Tripio App and have this on your Custom Itinerary!

8. Yuanmingyuan Park

Beijing Yuanmingyuan park

Photo by Howen on Unsplash

Yuanmingyuan Park is the ruin site of what once stood a great ancient Chinese palace. This area of ruins was once recognized as the Old Summer Palace and stood as a prominent residence for members of the Chinese royal families. The palace that once stood in Yuanmingyuan Park was constructed by Chinese emperor Qianlong, a reigning leader of the Qing dynasty. This is one of the best attractions for tourists due to its openness. Here, travelers can wander around and explore for themselves. A self-guided adventure! 

Tripio’s two cents of advice: Entrance to the Yuanmingyuan Park is free on Mondays!

9. Imperial Ancestral Temple 

 Imperial Ancestral Temple

Photo by Kiryl Sharkouski on Unsplash

The final resting place of household name Mao Zedong. The infamous name Mao Zedong known by every person in China and most people around the world. Mao Zedong was the chairman of the Politburo and the Chinese Communist Party from the years of 1943 until his last day in 1976. It is rather odd how the mausoleum came to be. Before his death in 1976, Communist leader Mao Zedong stated that he wished to be cremated at the time of his passing. The state ignored the wishes of their leader and had his body embalmed. Located in Tiananmen Square. 

10. Tiananmen Square, Beijing

 Tiananmen square

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last but surely not least is Tiananmen Square. Tripio felt there was no better way to conclude our bucket list Top 10 Historic Sites to see in Beijing than with this attraction. Tiananmen Square holds the claim to be the largest city square in the entire world. The city square was designed to hold 1 million people at a time in case of disaster. Tiananmen Square, constructed to commemorate and honor the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Republic. Dozens of major world events have been held at this famous landmark (including the famous Man vs Tank taking place in 1989). Tiananmen Square is a bucket list item for many world travelers and without a doubt an honorable activity to add to your vacation Custom Itinerary on the Tripio App. 


Looking for adventure? Check out: Hong Kong: Best Thrill-Seeking Adventures

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-Matthew Knotek, Tripio Guru 

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