The color of Beijing goes really well with Fall Leaves. I think it’s the best time to visit Beijing. This Thanksgiving holiday I spent 5 days with family in Beijing. It was such a great time with clear blue sky, dry crispy Fall leaves and lots of good food.
Photo credit: me. Art director: my dad.
Lets take a look of my 5 days and see if it convince you to visit Beijing.
Beijing is very square. National Stadium, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Qianmen, Drum, Bell tower and temple of heaven all line perfectly street from south to north. So it’s very hard to get lost in Beijing, even for me.
Beijing People are very nice, not out of obligation, you can feel they really mean it. They are warm, helpful and really looking out for visitors, they are honest and very direct.
Subway and buses are very convenient, it runs every 2 mins so you never have to wait long. I stayed near Dongsi Station, which is a great location to get to major attractions by subway. As long as you stay inside the second ring road which is named after the old city wall, it is very easy to get around. You can find hostel for about 30/night and it’s nice.
Chinese people use WeChat app to pay for everything by scanning barcode. They don’t really carry cash anymore. My 60 year old father impressed me so much by doing that. My memory stuck in the past when i was teaching him how to download his first app, now he showing me how to order everything online. I see China in a different way each time I visit.
Day1: National Art Museum of China, The Palace Museum, Sanlitun
First morning here i woke up feeling extremely happy I’m in Beijing. Streets in Beijing are very wide, even though there are so many people in the city you never feel crumped anywhere.
National Art Museum of China is free, just show photo ID you can visit. My dad is very into Chinese calligraphy, there are big collection of that from all the famous artists, some are from former empires. Besides that, there are many painting and sculptures as well.
Bus: 58, 420, 106, 112 National Art Museum East
A short walk from the National Art Museum of China, you will see The Palace Museum (Forbidden City). There’s a lot of walking upstairs and downstairs involved so I didn’t go in, just walk around the place to enjoy the beautiful view with reflection on the lake.
Subway Line 1: Tiananmen East
I saw this old lady selling stuffed animals on the street, I think it’s very sweet. Many old people here will do recycling or selling little things on the street even though they don’t need money, makes me think of my grandma and I started crying on the street lol.
When the sun’s down, I came to Sanlitun shopping and bar street. It’s a nice place to see the city lights, do some shopping and get food. You can find food from different regions here, I had some really good Turkish, Spanish and Indian food here before, but this time I went for a really traditional 100 year old beef noodle. It was everything.
Subway Line 10: Tuanjiehu
I got to the restaurant few minutes before closing time, but all the services are so nice and they all stayed till I finish my noodle. It makes the noodle extra good when people cares about your experience.
Day2: Temple of Heaven, Dashilan, Qianmen Street, Quanjude Peking Duck
I have to come here every time I’m in Beijing, It is so beautiful and pleasant to walk around. In summer there are flower gardens around. It’s a great place for picnic. My dad packed different fruits and we ate at those long stairways, was very nice experience.
Subway Line5 to Temple of Heaven East Gate.
Dashilan is as Old Beijing as it gets. All the shops look like the old times. You can find snacks, clothes, handcrafts like 100 years ago. I got some Red Dates, Longan and Tremella Dessert Soup, as you can see, I was very happy about it.
It’s very cool to have a coffee in the old Beijing style coffee shop. Or just walk through the beautiful red lanterns.
It was Thanksgiving night, we decided to eat at famous Peking duck place. Quanjude on Qianmen Street. There are two restaurants next to each other, one is for casual dinning and takeout, the other one is very fancy but costs twice as much. After sat down looked over the menu, we decided to go to the cheap one because we’re cheap.
It was a good choice, we got Peking duck and service did the performance in front of us. After they shaved the meat for the meal, we get to keep the bones too. Not sure what we going to do with it but it’s the most expensive duck we ever had, we’re keeping the bone.
Leaving the restaurant stuffed and happy, it was an amazing moment seeing front gate and Tiananmen Square all light up.
Day3: Summer Palace, Wang Fu Jing, Guo Mao
I wasn’t sure about Summer Palace not in summer, but it was surprisingly beautiful. walking by the lake with fall colors feels very dreamy. It’s just a bit cold walking near the lake so make sure you carry extra layers.
Subway Line5: Summer Palace
Wongfujing Street was the oldest shopping street in Beijing, I remember it from the childhood. Some of the shops are still here from 20 years ago. The street is so pretty at night.
I came to Guomao, the financial district of Beijing with the new CCTV big underpants building. This area is great for shopping and dinning. I remember seeing the Christmas lights in Guomao years ago and it was so nice. Was so happy seeing the lights again and feeling like Christmas in Beijing.
Day4:Beijing Olympic Green, Drum Tower, Bell Tower, Hou Hai, Gui Jie
My dad was here the first year this Olympic Park was built, he had a great time watching the Olympic games here and wanted to visit again. I was worried after 10 years it loses it’s charm, but this park is so well maintained and still very popular for tourists.
The bird nest and water cube are very unique architectures. This park is huge, with speakers playing music all day long. Was great walking around here.
Subway Line 8: Olympic Park
One of my favourite places in Beijing is Houhai lake area. Cute shops and bars all around the Back Lake, it’s quite beautiful. We stopped at a silk shop along Yandaixiejie, the busy shopping street near houhai, and had a very nice conversation with the shop owner about Beijing traditional clothe. It always make my day having simple moments like that. Beijingers are warm and chatty, probably the only Asian city I’ve visited where people talks to strangers for no particular reason.
Subway Line8: Shichahai
A short walk from Houhai, you can see the famous Drum Tower and Bell Tower. They’re symbols of Old Beijing. Those photos are taking at the Drum and Bell Tower square where you can see both of them facing each other.
Guijie is a famous restaurant street in Beijing. Many hot pot and BBQ places. I always enjoy coming here for the nice atmosphere and lights. Beijingers love to eat, drink and being loud. Comes to food theres no politeness needed, you better get ready to fight.
Subway Line5: Beixinqiao
Day5: Jingshan Park, Beihai Park, Zhongshan Park, Tiananmen Square, National Centre for the Performing Art
Jingshan Park and Beihai Park are next to each other. One has mountain the other one has lake. Top of Jingshan Park has a great view of the city and Forbidden City. View is very powerful.
Beihai Park you can see Front Lake and Back Lake on both sides. It is very nice seeing the fall colors and reflections of the Park.
Outside the park there are red lanterns hanging on the tree. I got my favourite dessert candied berry and feeling like a happy kid again.
Zhongshan Park is next to Tiananmen Square. Locals seems enjoy coming here for walks. It’s a chill place doesn’t feel like a tourist coming here.Because the first square I’ve ever been was Tian’anmen Square, there’s no square impresses me after that.
Even though there’re lots of people visiting daily, because of the size it never seems over crowded. China loves to build the biggest or tallest in the world, because were China.
Also enjoyed seeing Chinese people being so creative in their photo poses. And the Chinese soldiers walking around in uniforms. (heart emoji eyes)
Hope you can visit Beijing one day. I am very proud to show you the city and wish you feel the same way. Message me if you have any questions.