9 Of The Most Instagram Worthy Things To Do In Beijing
The amount of photos I took in Beijing was insane. I bombarded my Instagram followers with pictures of its historic attractions, charming streets and beautiful buildings. With so many beautiful places to choose from it was hard to pick my absolute favorites but I managed to narrow it down to my top 9. Keep reading for the most Instagram worthy things to do in Beijing!
Check out my Beijing layover itinerary here.
You might also want to check out my favorite Hong Kong photography spots!
Get Cultured At The Forbidden City
Out of all the Instagrammable things to do in Beijing, walking around the Forbidden City in the center of the city takes the cake. With 9,999 buildings to choose from, you’ll spot something beautiful at every turn from intricate halls to ornate doors and century-old artifacts. It’s picture perfect overload, and getting overwhelmed is inevitable.
PRO TIP: Arrive as early as possible when the Forbidden City opens at 8:30 in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Climb To The Top Of Jingshan Park
Not gonna lie, this is probably going to be your toughest shot to get.
It takes a good 15-minute walk up the stairs to the beautiful pavilion at Jingshan Park. Conveniently, the park is located right across the exit of the Forbidden City, so be sure to head there right after visiting the attraction. Circle around the pavilion for a 360° view of Beijing and see everything from Beihai Park to the Drum and Bell Tower and of course, the entire Forbidden City.
PRO TIP: Visit just before the sun goes down for the best light and hopefully a beautiful sunset backdrop.
Taste Authentic Hot Pot At Red Bowl
China is filled with incredible dishes and unimaginable foods to try. That’s why one of my favorite things to do in Beijing is eat.f If you are sick of sampling street food and actually want to sit down in a comfortable atmosphere, head to Red Bowl at Rosewood Beijing. The restaurant itself is absolutely photogenic and the food is iconic and delicious.
PRO TIP: It’s dark inside so get your camera’s low-light settings ready.
Hitchhike To The Future At Galaxy SOHO
Despite its historic buildings dating back hundreds of years, Beijing is also a city of the future and home to some of the most incredible landmarks in China. Galaxy SOHO is a great example of the futuristic mindset of the city. The building is located in the Chaoyang business district with dozens more futuristic buildings… more opportunities for the gram!
PRO TIP: Head to the 6th floor of Chaoyangmen Soho for the perfect view of the Galaxy SOHO building.
Take A Stroll Through The 798 Art Zone
One of the most underrated areas in Beijing has got to be the 798 Art Zone in the northeast of the city. While the zone isn’t easy to get to as you’ll have to get off Jiangtai station and then take a taxi, it’s definitely worth the journey. The area is filled with lovely cafes, incredible art galleries and museums and tons of exciting street art. It’s nothing like the Beijing you thought you knew!
Relax At Rosewood Beijing’s Swimming Pool
Yes, you have to be a guest at Rosewood Beijing in order to gain access to the pool and spa area but it’s definitely worth it and undoubtedly the most Instagrammable pool in the country.
PRO TIP: Head to the pool in the early morning to avoid other visitors and get the best light.
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Wander Through Old Beijing At The Hutongs
One of my absolute favorite things to do in Beijing (that don’t involve food) is wandering through its many old alleyways. The hutongs are the oldest neighborhoods in Beijing and mostly located around the Forbidden City in the center of Beijing. There are many different hutongs you can visit, so I recommend checking out my detailed hutong guide for more information.
PRO TIP: Wander along less crowded sidestreets to get a glimpse into the locals’ lives.
Visit A Traditional Peking Opera
One of the more unique things to do in Beijing is to go see a traditional opera performance. Peking Opera is a unique Chinese opera style that arose in the 18th century and was especially popular during the Qing Dynasty at the royal court. One of the oldest Peking Opera theaters in Beijing is Zhengyici Theater near Hepingmen subway station in one of Beijing old Hutongs. This place offers amazing Instagrammable photo ops. One of my favorite shots is the beautiful theater itself. The ornate costumes of the singers/actors are also a beautiful shot.
PRO TIP: Book tickets in advance and choose a seat in the front row. Book your Peking Opera experience here.
Get Those Angles At the Temple of Heaven
The temple of heaven is a major landmark in Beijing and should be on every itinerary. Besides being an interesting cultural site to visit, it also makes for incredible Instagram shots. If you visit in the late afternoon, you’ll get the beautiful golden-hour glow reflecting from the shiny details on the temple.
PRO TIP: Take a photo from outside the door behind the temple and get as low as possible to get the perfect angle.
Bonus: Climb the Great Wall of China
No visit to Beijing is complete without taking a trip north to see the Great Wall. Depending on which section you are looking to visit, the trip is around 1.5 hours to the wall. You can find a guide to the more visited Badaling Great Wall section here.
PRO TIP: Head to the lesser-visited Mutianyu section of the wall to escape the crowds and get unique shots. Book your transportation to the Great Wall for just $34.40 USD here.
Did I miss any of your favorite Instagrammable things to do in Beijing?
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Top Travel Experiences in Beijing
- Complete Beijing Tour
- Beijing Palace Museum Ticket (The Forbidden City)
- Mutianyu Great Wall Ticket & Cable Car
- Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour By Bus with Options
- Private Temple of Heaven & Tai Chi Half Day Tour in Beijing
- Peking Opera Experience at Liyuan Theater
Recommended Hotels in Beijing
The hotels recommended below are hotels I have personally stayed at and recommend to other travelers.