Explore the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, and the Silk Market.

Beijing is the capital of the world’s most populous nation. As China’s political and cultural center, it is rich in historical sites and important government institutions.

Sightseers will want to visit the Dongcheng District, home to many important landmarks, including the Forbidden City, a Chinese imperial palace from the Ming and Quing dynasties and the largest ancient palatial structure in the world. You’ll also find Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public square and a founding ceremony site of the People’s Republic. Another top rated point of interest is the Great Wall of China, which extends 4,000 miles.

Adventurous types can explore the hutongs, Beijing’s ancient alleyways, by bicycle. Rent one for the day at one of the many stands around the city and cruise the back streets around the Drum and Bell towers. This area, with its many galleries, shops, and cafes, is also prime for retail therapy. Shoppers will also want to check out the weekends-only Panjiayuan Flea Market, which takes place southwest of the Panjiayuan Bridge. Here, you’ll find a hodgepodge of antiques, artifacts, and eclectic trinkets.