30+ Best Traditional Things To Do In Beijing 2023 (An Expat’s Guide)

Beijing is a bustling metropolis with a population of over 21 million people that offers a distinctive fusion of traditional and modern culture, making it the perfect location for tourists looking for an authentic Chinese experience. There is something for everyone to do in this dynamic city, from touring the Forbidden City to hiking the Great Wall, sampling local cuisine in Beijing, and exploring the historic hutongs.

I’ve compiled 30 best traditional things you should try in Beijing in 2023, including food, restaurants, attractions, walking tours, and experiences to try.

As an expat living in Beijing for 4+ years, these are the things I would recommend to first-time Beijing visitors, long time Beijing lovers, and even take my friends and family to do if they were coming to visit me!

Many of these I chose based on their location, overall experience, and some of my personal favorites. But this is by no means a complete list of all Beijing has to offer! It depends on your schedule, interests, and budget as well. Hopefully it inspires your trip to Beijing and shows you some new or old favorites.

  1. Beijing Foods
  2. Beijing Attractions
  3. Places to Walk
  4. Beijing Restaurants
  5. Beijing Hotels
  6. Beijing Cultural Experiences
  7. More To Do In Beijing

Beijing Foods

  • Peking Duck
  • Zhajiangmian 
  • Door Nail Meat Pie (Mendingroubing)
  • Donkey Burger  
  • Tanghulu
  • Dou Zhi (Mung bean milk)
  • Mongolian Hot Pot
  • Dumplings
  • Beibingyang Arctic Orange Soda
  • Doujiang and Youtiao

I’ll mention this later as well, but I highly recommend a Beijing Food Tour with Lost Plate! If you want to book a tour, use my code for a discount at checkout: RACHELMEETSCHINA

Beijing Attractions

  • The Great Wall 
  • The Forbidden City 
  • Temple of Heaven
  • Summer Palace  
  • Lama Temple 
  • Olympic Stadium
  • Panjiayuan Antique Market

See my Top 10 Places to Visit in Beijing for First-Timers for a more complete list!

Places to Walk

These hutongs are perfect for long lazy strolls or for explorers wanting to try local street foods and see what locals are getting up to.

  • Wudaoying Hutong
  • Nanluoguxiang
  • Qianmen
  • Houhai Lake Area
  • Ghost Street
  • Bell and Drum Tower
  • Beihai Park

Beijing Restaurants

This list is very Peking Duck heavy, because for first time visitors roast duck is a must try! These restaurants also offer other amazing side dishes that have local Beijing flavor, so don’t worry if duck isn’t your favorite thing.

  • Peking Chamber 四季民福烤鸭
  • Jingzun Peking Duck Restaurant 京尊烤鸭店
  • Quanjude Roast Duck 全聚德
  • Mr. Shi’s Dumplings 
  • King’s Joy 京兆尹
  • Dali Courtyard 大里院子
  • Anywhere on Gui Jie 簋街 (Ghost Street): I reccommend Huda Restaurant (胡大) which offers a huge menu variety to choose from, but you’ll also find restaurants that specialize in chuanr, Hot Pot, and more.

Check out my list of 10 Amazing Chinese Restaurants to Try in Beijing


Beijing Hotels

There are many districts in Beijing with great hotel options, from more local homestays and boutique hotels in the hutongs, to upscale and 5-star hotels with incredible amenities and restaurants. It all depends on the location you want to be in and your budget.

  • The Rosewood 
  • Hotel JEN 
  • East Hotel 
  • The Orchid 
  • The Intercontinental 
  • China World Summit 
  • The Kempinski 
  • The Opposite house 
  • Regent 

Beijing Cultural Experiences

Our Beijing: Offering tours and local experiences in Beijing including eBike tours, walking tours, food tours, jianzi golf, Great Wall trips, Mahjong workshops, Jianbing workshops, and more. Check out their website and Wechat for more info,

Black Sesame Kitchen: They are a reservations-only cooking school, dining venue, and event space in the heart of old Beijing. Chinese-American author Jen Lin-Liu opened Black Sesame Kitchen in 2008 to promote the understanding of Chinese cuisine and to create a convivial setting for socializing and exchange between China and the rest of the world. See their website here.

Lost Plate Food Tour: They help you navigate a city and introduce you to the best local dishes. Lost Plate is an award winning food tour group in China and Asia that dive into local culture with excellent guides and incredible food. I’ve been on two of their tours in Beijing, and they were heavenly. They also do tours in Xi’an, Ningxia, Lijiang, Chengdu, and Suzhou. If you want to book a tour, use my code for a discount at checkout: RACHELMEETSCHINA

Show Beijing is your guide to an unforgettable night in the city and things to do in Beijing. Now discount ticket booking available for some of the most thrilling entertainment & performances like Beijing Opera, Acrobatic Shows, and other variety shows! Visit their website here.

The Hutong is (北京融汇通文化传播有限公司) is Beijing’s premier culture exchange center. Visit their calendar to see what’s coming up.

More To Do In Beijing

Like I mentioned, there is so much more to do and see in Beijing! I haven’t even scratched the surface of Beijing’s modern cafe’s, rooftops, breweries, and more. Stay tuned for my future lists from an inside perspective of Beijing in 2023.

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