There are plenty of things to do in Beijing in Winter. There is no doubt that China is one of the most spectacular countries of the world, it has a rich historical background which dates back thousands of year before modern civilization. China is bless with a rich blend of culture and history coupled with a numerous list of natural wonders and endowment. It also helps that they now have an easy China 72-hour visa-free waiver.
The country as a whole is famous as the most populous nation in the world, hosting about one-quarter of the world’s population. On the negative side, China is also bedeviled by the dangerous smoke-like atmospheric weather which causes some breathing problems for its inhabitants during the short autumn season. That notwithstanding, Beijing, the Chinese capital city is a great tourist hotspot during winter.
Things To Do In Beijing In Winter
The following are some of the best things to see and do in Beijing during winter. People flock to Beijing throughout the year, that even the winter months in Beijing are busy with tourists. If you only have a quick stop in the capital you can opt to take the Beijing layover tours that allow you to see the highlights of Beijing.
1. Skiing In Beijing
As the host of the 2022 winter Olympic games, Beijing has a lot world-class ski resorts. If you like sport and are interested in skiing, galloping on the ski track, feeling the speed and passion. Here we recommend you some ski resorts with good facilities around Beijing: notable ones are Nanshan ski resort, Huaibei ski resort and Shijinglong ski resort and some farther luxury ski resorts, Wanlong ski resort, Taiwu ski town, Miyuan Yunding ski resort and Fulong Four Seasons ski resort. Most notable of them is the Shichahai Ski resort.
2. Shichahai Skating
Every year, during winter, the Houhai lake freezes, marking the opening of the Shichahai Skating Rinks. Locals commonly refer to it as “Houhai,”, they troop to the icy lake each yuear to catch the fun skating bring. Houhai ice skating is very affordable, which explains why it’s a favourite for most Beijing locals. On the average an unlimited skating time cost between USD$2 – $5.
Located in the northwest of Beijing city, Shichahai is one of the favorite places for local Beijingers to visit in winter. It is a natural lake in summer but get frozen and turn a free public ice rink for skating enthusiasts. This is the favorite experience for Beijingers in winter. It usually will open from the end of December to the end of February next year.
3. Visit The Forbidden City
This is the Chinese imperial palace building, located at the heart of China itself. It is known to house the ming (Chinese) emperors, barring out every other citizens, rergardless of your social status, the rich and the peasant alike, thus it was named the “the forbidden city”. In fact, top ministers of the emperor and the imperial family were only granted limited access.
It’s one of the UNESCO world heritage site in China, as its importance as the Chinese seat of power for over four centuries cannot be over emphasized. The rare architecture design of the palace and the fact that it now houses the “palace museum” of dynasty art and history has further made it one of the most visited place in all of Beijing.
5. The Summer Palace
Also known as the “Yiheyuan Garden”, it is situated on a very large expense of land making it the largest expansive traditional Chinese garden, built by the ancient Ming emperor as a summer vacation spot. More like the Camp David of the ancient Chinese emperor, but without the gulf curse s. the garden have been expanded overtime to hose a private imperial shopping mall, temples and few palaces. Taking a stroll through the imperial summer garden will surely bring some goose bumps on your face, it also a great place to take those pictures you wish for.
6.The Great Wall
Aside from the great pyramids of Egypt, the great wall of China is one of the most prominent of all the seven wonders of the ancient world. Built in 220 BC to 1644 AD, the great wall in obviously one of the greatest achievement of man-kind, showing the ingenious and intelligent nature of man on earth. The length of the wall span from Badaling, mutianyu, simatai, jinshanling to mention a few.
In winter, the Pathways on the wall is covered in snow giving it a more magnificent look. It is said to look like a long dragon lying on top of mountains. The fact that the wall was built with the use of manual labour, using brick and mortal further boost the admiration the edifice has attracted around the world.
Myths and legend has it that it was constructed under the order and supervision of a young Ming emperor to keep out some foreign invaders. The part of the wall located at jonshanling is the most prominent amongst tourist. Your trip to China is definitely incomplete without a walk on the great wall. Even on a layover in Beijing, you can take a layover tour to visit the Great Wall.
7. The National Museum Of China
The museum is no doubt the largest in the world and extremely rich in arts and history. The building sits on a 200, 000 square meter land mass. It has over a million (1000,000) collections and about 48 exhibition halls. The art collections are mainly from the ancient periodic history of China. Its art composition dates back to the period before the founding of the republic of China. This ultra modern museum is a fully loaded one, rich in arts and cultural heritage of the Chinese people.
It provides a home for the great archeological discoveries in Chinese history some of which are the art and craft of the Ming dynasty, the Qing dynasty and the early years of the republic of China. As a visitor, if you desire to learn more about the past and present culture of the Chinese people, then the museum is where you need to be. The edifice ranks first in the world’s museums and is one of the most popular and most visited museums for tourists in the world. The Museum opens by 9.00am and closes by 7.00pm Chinese time.
8. Visit Tiananmen Square
This great historical place sits firmly in the heart of the city of Beijing, the capital of China. The word Tiananmen in mandarin (Chinese language) means “the gate of heavenly peace”.
In modern times, the popularity of the square gained world attention during the infamous 1989 Tiananmen square protest, where Chinese troops rolled I tanks to quell a civilian protest leading to the slaughter hundreds of innocent civilians.
Today, the spot where the massacre took place now houses an awesome monument called “the monument of the Peoples Heroes”. Also while at the square, pay a visit to the great hall of the people, the national Museum of China or the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao Zedong, the man who founded modern China. It’s no doubt one of the most visited place in China. .
9. Make And Fly A Kite
Did you have the opportunity to fly a kite as a kid? Do you even know how it is made? Don’t worry about those questions. As you step into the great city of Beijing, it is important you know that no city has swallowed the amount of kite flown and lost in the wind like the city of Beijing.
Kite flying is prominent tradition in Beijing, and it is enjoyed by both the young and old. You may be lucky to make one at the local quadrangle and have fun flying it high into the sky.
10. Walk On The Moon Bridge
In the northwest corner of the Summer Palace, you can find this symmetrical high-arched pedestrian bridge, also known as a “moon bridge.” The bridge was actuall intended fpr pedestrians to cross the canals while at the same time allowing the passage of barges, canoes and small fishing boats underneath it.
11. Get Soaked At The Hot Springs
A hotbed of geothermal activity, Beijing is blessed with the gift of hot springs. Full of all manner of minerals, the steaming pools are a great way to escape (if only temporarily) the onslaught of winter. A lot of the more famous hot spring resorts are clustered outside the Fifth Ring in the north of the city – Jiuhua Resort, Chun Hui Yuan Hot Spring Resort and Feng Shan Hot Spring Resort.
12. Get A Soothing Stone Massage
The traditional hot stone massage parlor in Beijing has been a thriving healing and relaxation practice in China for over 2000 years. It is an ancient, effective and luxurious way of relaxing your tired muscles. The smooth, well cut, jade stones are exposed to mild-heat, and placed in strategic muscle dominated areas on the body, relaxing the muscle with the warmth it provide.
The cost of a regular stone massage goes for between $500 to $1500.
13. Explore Ming Tombs
The Ming tombs are a collection of imperial mausoleums built by the Chinese Ming dynasty emperors. The first Ming emperor’s tomb is is located near his capital Nanjing. However, the majority of the Ming tombs are located in a cluster near Beijing.
FESTIVALS AND CELEBRATION DURING WINTER
14. Longqing Gorge Ice And Snow Festival
This is the most famous winter festival in Beijing, also know as the “Ice lantern festival”. The city of Beijing play host to an ice lantern festival annually at Beijing’s Longqing Gorge to celebrate the cold winter season. During the festival, locals and tourists can enjoy gazing and taking pictures of the over 500 ice sculpture that are put on display in the gorge’s temples, ice castles, dragon-shaped unit, the sculptures are really an amazing work of art worth the time and money of any visitor. The Ice Lantern Festival also hosts other activities such as ice-inspired games, folk dancing, and fireworks.
Longqing Gorge confidently spreads between two tall mountain peaks and it is known mainly as the venue for the yearly Beijing Longqing Gorge ice and snow show. At the Beijing Longqing Gorge Ice & Snow festival, huge blocks of ice are sculpted into all kinds and manner of interesting, beautiful and shapes. It could be shaped into some animal, especially the soaring dragon (due to its cultural ties to China), smiling faces, peacock, human figures and other objects.
16. Beijing Winter Movie Festival
Catch An interest Show at the egg-shaped Beijing theatre. The theatre’s building is of a great and and incredible architecture design and a great place to take some really great picture with friends and family.
FAMOUS FOOD IN BEIJING TO EAT TO KEEP WARM
China is not only blessed with wonder natural tourist attractions, it is also endowed with great winter dishes many of which you can explore through the many Beijing food tours.
- Beijing Hot Pot: The authentic flavor of Beijing Hot Pot differs from the hot pot in Sichuan. The mutton will be the main dish. Fresh and tender mutton slice is so thin that can be cooked only in a few seconds. Using copper pot with charcoal burning under it, you can dip the cooked mutton into the fragrant sesame sauce, and next second your lips and teeth are ready to rejoice in the deliciousness of the meat.
- Peking duck: It is a world-known dish in Beijing. It was a court food back to the olden time. The high-quality Peking duck roasted with charcoal, is dark brown and greasy, crisp outside but chewy inside.
- Beijing Noodles: The original Beijing noodles are a featured local traditional food, made of fresh vegetables, fried sauce and noodles. Cut or boil cucumbers, bean sprouts, green beans, soybeans, and make them into dishes for reserve. Once the noodle are cooked, they are taken out and mixed with fried meat sauce and other ingredient.
- Take some hot soup dumplings for the cold weather: Popularly called the “Xiaolongbao” in Chinese, soup dumplings are a traditional dish served all over Beijing. The dumplings are steamed and served in bamboo steaming basket, mixed with pork. It obviously a perfect winter meal as they are served steaming hot and very filling.
SPRING FESTIVAL (CHINESE NEW YEAR)
This festival is celebrated every year by more than a quarter of the population of china. according to Chinese lunar calendar, Chinese new year also known as the spring festival begins with the new moon and end with the full moon which falls between the 15th day of the first month In a new year. The spring festival is equal to the Christmas celebrations in the west. Weeks before the new year, the whole country is filled with activities and preparation for the forth coming year.
WEATHER AND TEMPERATURE IN WINTER
Packing for winter travel doesnt have to be complicated but you need to know what weather to expect and pack accordingly. Winter in Beijing is quite long, cold and snowy, the highest temperature goes between 5 °C/41°F, while the lowest temperature is between -5°C/23°F. The winter period is at its peak between December to February.
So, if you are a winter tourist and you plan visiting Beijing, pack your thick overcoat, thick leather jacket, sweaters, winter coat, woolen jacket, wearing of gloves and a head-warmer might save your life in this winter. Beijing is dry all year run except in the summer when the rain is intense.
Planning Your Trip To Beijing
- Search for flight deals to Beijing on Expedia.
- Book your accommodation on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- Explore the available guided tours around Beijing on Viator.
- Explore package tours to China with multi-city stops on GAdventure, Contiki or WendyWu.
- Consider exploring beyond Beijing. You can take a high-speed train from Beijing to Xi’an, the oldest city in China and the capital-city of 13 different dynasties. For those wanting to explore the Ancient Silk Road in China.
So have you been to Beijing before? Which one of the above things to do in Beijing during winter is at the top of your list?
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