China’s sprawling capital city of Beijing is one of the world’s oldest cities and has an amazing history going back more than 3000 years. Beijing is the most populous national capital in the world, with over 21 million residents. The megacity is the centre of power and development in China and a hotspot for culture, finance, politics, education, business and economics. Once the centre of the powerful Ming and Qing dynasties in the Forbidden City, the modern city of Beijing is known as much for modern architecture as its historical sites, such as the Great Wall of China.
The massive Tiananmen Square is one of the world’s largest meeting areas and features a 37 metre (121 feet) obelisk along with Mao Zedong’s mausoleum and the National Museum of China. Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Tiananmen Square in 1949.
Beijing has a bit of everything. From history, traditions, and stunning scenery to unique and unforgettable street food, Beijing can easily fill anyone’s bucket list. Beijing’s history is intertwined with Chinese history, with the city often being the centre of political and cultural change in the past. The city has constantly expanded through history, with its walls, palaces, and temples being knocked down and rebuilt as the city expanded to become one of the largest cities on earth. At one point in history, the Forbidden City was the centre of power and the heart of the largest empires on earth.
Beijing transforms into a beautifully lit city with neon lights and romantic night sceneries by night and offers a vibrant and memorable experience once the sun sets. While the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven areas in central Beijing give an old-world charm after sunset, CBD and the newer areas provide a modern and upscale vibe to the city after dark. Learning some basic Chinese words and putting an effort to communicate with the locals in their own language will go a long way while shopping, bargaining, or evening ordering in a restaurant. Also famous for many performances, and shows like the Shaolin Kung Fu performance, Peking Opera and other cultural performances provide entertainment in Beijing at night.
- Beijing At Night
- 20 Things To Do In Beijing At Night
- 1- Watch An Amazing Acrobatics Show
- 2- Enjoy A Stunning Kung Fu Performance
- 3- Watch An Authentic Peking Opera
- 4- Take A Stroll Along Beihai Park
- 5- Walk In Old Beijing’s Hutong Alleys
- 6- Learn The Great Wall Of China’s History At Simatai
- 7- Take A Class On Ancient Chinese Calligraphy
- 8- Taste Beijing’s Street Food On A Night Food Tour
- 9- View the Forbidden City After Sunset From Jingshan Park
- 10- Get Wowed By The Nightime Colours
- 11- Snack And Shop In The Neon-lit Wangfujing Street
- 12- Visit The Historic Temple Of Heaven Complex
- 13- Go Shopping In Silk Street (Xiushui) And Pearl Market (Hongqiao)
- 14- Go For A Retro Photoshoot In Traditional Chinese Attire
- 15- Go Shopping In The Ancient Qianmen and Dashilan Streets
- 16- Take A Stroll In The Olympic Park
- 17- Spend An Evening In The Sanlitun Area
- 18- Go Bar Hopping In Houhai
- 19- Enjoy Food In Ghost Street (Gui jie)
- 20- Enjoy An Evening At Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park
Beijing At Night
Planning a trip to Beijing?
Here are some top places to stay and tours to try.
- Four Seasons Hotel Beijing (5-star)
- The Orchid Hotel – Old Town & Drum Tower (4-star)
- Holiday Inn Express Beijing Temple of Heaven (3-star)
20 Things To Do In Beijing At Night
1- Watch An Amazing Acrobatics Show
Everyone likes watching a well-coordinated acrobatic performance.
Chinese acrobatic performances are a treat to watch because highly skilled and trained artists perform them.
The acrobats display stunning feats of balance and skill while performing traditional Chinese arts such as dancing, cycling, theatre, martial arts and even magic shows.
Acrobats generally perform in circus-style acrobatic feats or martial arts-style combat performances (specific performances depend on the scene), and the coordination and acrobatic skills are a delight to watch.
Chaoyang Theatre is at 36 E 3rd Ring N Rd, Chaoyang, Beijing and showtimes are at 4 pm, 5.30 pm and 7 pm. Find out more here.
2- Enjoy A Stunning Kung Fu Performance
Chinese Kung Fu, also known as Wushu, is a Chinese martial arts form that originated more than 3000 years ago.
The martial arts form is world famous for its fighting styles, many of which are imitations of the fighting styles of animals.
Many Kung Fu-based action movies have a cult following as do the movie actors who perform such action scenes.
Kung Fu utilises a combination of muscular coordination combined with intellect and strategy.
Different from other combat sports like boxing and Muay Thai, Kung Fu was immortalised in the latter half of the 20th century through action films and actors who specialise in this art form.
You can watch a stunning Shaolin Kung Fu performance in Beijing at The Red Theater, which showcases this martial art form using artists with incredible skill and elegance amidst a perfectly set up backdrop.
Red Theater is at 44 Xing Fu Da Jie, Dong Cheng Qu, Beijing, and showtimes are at 5.15 pm and 7.30 pm. Find out more here.
3- Watch An Authentic Peking Opera
Peking opera, also called Beijing opera, showcases quintessential Chinese culture through a uniquely Chinese art performance.
If you are a fan of singing and dancing in Western Operas, you will be amazed at the stylised and symbolic visual performances of a Peking Opera.
While both Western and Peking Operas are based on singing and dancing performances, Peking operas add a strong visual element to their act.
You can see performers in heavy makeup symbolising their character and performing in a much more intricate and symbolic style.
If you want to experience Chinese culture and enjoy their unique storytelling perspective, going to a Peking opera is the perfect way to spend your evening.
Liyuan Theatre is at No. 175, Yong’an Road, Xicheng District, Beijing and showtimes are at 7.30 pm everyday. Find out more here.
4- Take A Stroll Along Beihai Park
A 1000-year-Old Former Imperial Park, Beihai Park is a large 70-hectare park in the old Imperial city in the centre of Beijing.
Once the private gardens of the emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties, the public garden is now a place for locals and tourists to take a stroll, relax and exercise.
The park also has restaurants, shops and a large lake nicknamed the “northern sea” or Beihai in the local language.
The park’s central location and proximity to the Shichahai Lake area is home to many bars.
You can find many viewpoints and photo opportunities throughout the park, especially during sunset.
Beihai Park is at 1 Wenjin St, Xicheng District in Central Beijing and is open until 9 pm in summer and 8 pm in winter. Prebook your admission ticket online.
5- Walk In Old Beijing’s Hutong Alleys
Old Beijing is famous for narrow streets or alleys called Hutongs formed by closely built traditional courtyards.
These narrow winding streets and old houses were once a common sight in Beijing, but urban development has seen them dwindle and give way to larger complexes and restructured housing.
The government still preserves some hutongs in Beijing to maintain the traditional way of life.
In the olden days, hutongs around the Forbidden City were classified according to elite status, with the hutongs closer to the Imperial Palace being of higher status.
Hutongs such as the Dazhalan Xi Jie shopping street, Nanluoguxiang, Dongjiaominxiang, and Qianmen street are preserved and attract many local and international visitors every day.
You can find several bars and street food stalls while exploring the hutongs. A guide will help you find the best food places. Here are two tours you may like:
Nanluoguxiang area is home to many hutongs and can be reached by a short walk from Nanluoguxiang subway station.
For more things to do in China read:
- 25 Famous Landmarks in China
- Best Time To Visit China
- 20 Ways To Celebrate Christmas In China
- 20 China Beaches For Your Bucket List
- 20 Things To Do In Shanghai At Night
- 20 Things To Do In Guangzhou
- 21 Places To Visit In China
- 7 Things To Do In Xiamen
- 7 Amazing Xian Attractions
- Yangtze River Cruise
- Inner Mongolia In Winter
- Places To Visit In Yunnan
- 20 Things To Do In Beijing At Night
6- Learn The Great Wall Of China’s History At Simatai
Beijing is a short distance away from China’s most famous historic structures and one of the seven wonders of the world – the Great Wall of China.
Many sections of the Great Wall that are less than two hours from Beijing, including the well-preserved Badaling and Mutianyu, the renovated Juyonguan, Jinshanling, Simatai, Jiankou and Gubeikou.
Among these, Simatai Great Wall is the section of the Great Wall open after sunset.
A trip to Simatai and the nearby Gubei Water Town can take a few hours, but visiting the ancient structures, taking a boat ride on a lake and visiting the nearby hot spring would be well worth the time.
You can take a cable car to go up the Great Wall and be mesmerised by the beautiful night scenery at Simatai.
Note that the night tour requires a special ticket here.
Simatai Great Wall is at Miyun District, Beijing.
7- Take A Class On Ancient Chinese Calligraphy
Chinese Calligraphy is the stylised and artistic writing of Chinese characters using ink and a brush.
Calligraphy is considered one of the supreme art forms in Chinese tradition and plays an important role in uniting the vast country and regions.
Chinese calligraphers are well-respected in society for their artistic sense and beautiful composition.
Visiting Beijing is not complete without taking a peek into this beautiful art form. Better still, join a calligraphy class, where a Calligraphy Master teaches you this unique visual art form.
You will get a chance to expand your artistic skills and pick up a thing or two about the Chinese language, and of course – bragging rights!
8- Taste Beijing’s Street Food On A Night Food Tour
Chinese is a favourite cuisine for many around the world.
From spring rolls, dumplings, noodles, and fried rice to stir fries and hotpots, everyone has a favourite way to eat their protein Chinese style.
Many countries have their own variations of Chinese food, but when in Beijing, you can taste those dishes served in authentic Chinese-style preparations.
Also, the term Chinese cuisine is a mix of diverse cooking styles, flavours and ingredients, which sometimes vary quite a lot depending on the regional cuisine.
Cantonese, Shandong, Sichuan, Hunan, and Zheijang are some of the prominent regional cuisines in China that have their own flavours, ingredients and preparation methods.
Going on a food tour with a food guide is the best way to understand and appreciate Chinese cuisine and the differences in regional preparations.
When in Beijing at night, this food tour will help you add a dish or more to the list of your favourite Chinese dishes.
9- View the Forbidden City After Sunset From Jingshan Park
Jingshan Park is one of the best places to enjoy the beautiful central Beijing panorama and the Forbidden City.
The park is set atop a hill, so time your visit to enjoy the beautiful sunset view from the park.
The park is also well known for its scenic views and instagrammable spots throughout the year.
The shimmering cityscape of Beijing can be best enjoyed after dark, while the city’s panoramic expanse is equally beautiful during sunrise when the sun’s rays glide over rooftops.
The park is at 44 Jingshan W St, Xicheng District, Beijing and is open till 8 pm during winter and 9 pm during summer. Book your admission ticket here.
10- Get Wowed By The Nightime Colours
Tiananmen Square is one of the first things that comes to anyone’s mind when talking about Beijing, and rightly so.
The area around Tian’anmen Square is one of the most colourful places in Beijing at night.
Mao Zedong first proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China here, and the Chinese flag is raised at sunrise every day here.
Tian’anmen Square, along with the Forbidden City and the 12-lane Chang’An Avenue, are beautifully lit up during the evenings. Try this night walking tour.
11- Snack And Shop In The Neon-lit Wangfujing Street
If you are looking for a cheap area to shop for souvenirs and taste local (and exotic) street food, head to Wangfujing street.
This bustling street offers a variety of shopping options, such as clothing, cheap electronics, spices, souvenirs and other stuff, along with authentic street food.
Try the Peking duck, dumplings, lamb tripe and other common street food options here.
If you have the stomach, try exotic street food such as scorpions, ox tongue and shark backbone, which would make for a wild story back home.
Wangfujing Pedestrian Street is at Wangfujing Ave, Dongcheng, Beijing.
12- Visit The Historic Temple Of Heaven Complex
Temple of Heaven is a 600-year-old temple complex famous for its massive and beautiful circular buildings and temples.
The park is similar in size to Central Park in New York.
Located at a short distance south of the Forbidden City, the temple complex was used by Ming and Qing emperors as a place of worship.
Comprised of centuries-old buildings with domes in distinctive circular shapes, the whole complex was built according to strict philosophical requirements in Chinese culture.
Today, the extensive complex and surrounding parks are used as playgrounds, game and exercise areas, ethnic dances, festivals and more.
The complex becomes even more picturesque during and after sunset with many photo opportunities and beautifully lit buildings.
The bustling and illuminated Qianmen street is close to the temple complex on the northern side.
Temple of Heaven complex is at 1 Tiantan E Rd, Dongcheng District, Beijing and is open till 9 pm daily. Skip the line and book your ticket here.
13- Go Shopping In Silk Street (Xiushui) And Pearl Market (Hongqiao)
Silk Street (Xiushui) is a multi-level shopping centre close to the Central Business District in Beijing.
The centre is famous for its visual feast of coloured textiles, designer women’s clothes, accessories and more.
The buzzing shopping centre earlier used to sell counterfeit designer brands but now serves as a bargain mall for locals to shop for clothes and accessories.
Silk Centre also houses many restaurants.
Close to Silk Street is the Hongqiao Pearl Market, a huge marketplace for trading pearls.
Pearl Market is relatively newer and closes earlier than Silk Street.
Both these markets have a variety of shops where you can get different types of souvenirs.
Freshwater pearls are naturally white, ivory, pink, coral or peach in colour, but you’ll also find an interesting selection of other colours here.
Don’t forget to bargain while shopping here and start bargaining with half the price sellers are quoting.
Silk Street is at No.8 Xiushui East Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing and is open till 11 pm. Hongqiao Market is at Tiantan Donglu 46, Chongwen district and is open till 7 pm. You may like this private markets tour.
14- Go For A Retro Photoshoot In Traditional Chinese Attire
Originally an important destination for silk trading and also part of the Silk Route, Beijing is world-renowned for its silk and textile markets.
Sericulture and silk weaving have always been a part of Chinese culture, dating back to more than 3000 years ago, giving rise to traditional clothing for women and men made from silk.
In ancient China, the type of dress worn by someone determined their status.
Although this tradition is no longer followed, traditional Chinese wear is still worn by locals on many occasions.
Hanfu, Qipao, Tang and Zhongshan Suits are some of the traditional clothing worn by the Chinese today.
You can try out the attire of your liking and colour and get photographed in a traditional Chinese courtyard or Hutong in a retro photoshoot.
15- Go Shopping In The Ancient Qianmen and Dashilan Streets
Dashilan Street is one of Beijing’s oldest and most famous shopping streets.
This centuries-old lively commercial street is the best place to do souvenir shopping, try traditional Chinese clothes, and try traditional Chinese snacks in the city.
Lined with shops with an old and antique look, the street also has many tea houses and old shops selling time-honoured and trusted Chinese brands.
Although the street is more than 500 years old, some parts have been completely razed by fires and rebuilt while preserving the old architecture.
Qianmen Street can be reached by taking the subway to Qianmen station or by joining this walking tour.
16- Take A Stroll In The Olympic Park
Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008 and Winter Olympics in 2022, when many beautiful structures and buildings were built to accommodate the games and visitors in the Beijing Olympic Park.
Also called the Olympic Green, this park houses two magnificent buildings called the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube, along with many other buildings.
Bird’s Nest and Water Cube are brightly lit up during the evenings with red, blue and several other colours and are a treat to see at night.
The expansive walkways in the Olympic Park also showcase many sculptures and the well-laid-out design of the parks, streets and stadia make this area worth visiting, especially after sunset.
Also, don’t forget to drop by the Olympic Tower, one of the tallest towers in the city with a distinctive design and an observatory on the top floor.
Beijing Olympic Park can be reached by subway to Beijing Olympic Park station. You may also like the commentary on this night tour.
17- Spend An Evening In The Sanlitun Area
Sanlitun area between the 2nd and 3rd ring roads in Eastern Beijing is known for its fashionable dining and nightlife scene.
You can find many upscale restaurants serving international cuisines, star hotels, malls and various pubs.
Many restaurants and cafes in the area transform into luxury nightclubs once the sun sets, attracting a lot of foreigners.
You can spend an evening shopping at the Taikoo Li Sanlitun, have dinner in a restaurant with Chinese, European or International fare, and head over to the Sanlitun Bar Street – all in the same night.
Try the walking tour to try out famous food joints in this area, along with a knowledgeable food guide.
Sanlitun area can be reached by taking the subway to the Tuanjiehu, Dongdaqiao or Dongsishitiao stations.
18- Go Bar Hopping In Houhai
Beijing has one of the highest number of bars in China and a vibrant bar culture with live shows and performances.
Located north of the Beihai lake in the Shichahai area, Houhai is a great place to take a casual stroll or hop into a bar in central Beijing.
The area is known for its scenic views and waterfront shops and eateries.
Houhai’s bar street is famous for its dozens of bars offering live music and cozy seating.
Take a break from sightseeing and spend an evening with your family or friend going restaurant and bar hopping.
You can also find traditional Chinese tea or stop for an evening snack here.
The area is crowded in the evenings and offers a warm and comfortable ambience, especially during snowy days.
The proximity of many bars close by means you can hop in and out of different bars and choose your entertainment and ambience.
Houhai is at 51 Di’anmen West Main Street, Xicheng District and can be reached by taking the subway to Shichahai station.
19- Enjoy Food In Ghost Street (Gui jie)
A trending street food street in Beijing is Ghost Street, close to many embassies and lined with many restaurants and street food stalls.
You can find traditional Chinese restaurants and street food where you can try spicy crawfish and crab, pork dumplings, roast fish, claypots, pastries and more.
Many restaurants serve European and international fare too. Most of the restaurants and eateries are open till midnight, making this street a go-to option for food anytime from morning to midnight.
Gui Jie is at Dongzhimennei Avenue, Dongcheng District and can be reached by taking the subway to Beixinqiao or Dongzhimen stations.
20- Enjoy An Evening At Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park
Located between the 3rd and 4th ring roads on the Eastern side of Beijing, Solana is a high-end shopping mall where you can find international high-end and signature branded items.
With hundreds of international brands, shops and restaurants, the mall is ideal for a little retail therapy.
You can also try out international cuisine, catch a movie, or just hang out with friends in a lively bar.
The mall also houses activities for kids, like skating and arcade games.
The mall offers many options if you want to spend an evening away from the city streets.
Solana is at 6 Chaoyanggongyuan Rd, Chaoyang, Beijing. This night tour will get you to several places mentioned above.
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