We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Museum Guide for Beijing

Exclusively commissioned by TripAdvisor

93%
Found this guide helpful

As the capital of China – and having been so on and off until 1279 when it more permanently became the capital – Beijing is steeped in tradition and culture. A growing metropolis of over 20 million people, there is a plethora of things to see and do in Beijing. If you're pushed for time, the usual sites are the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, the Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan), the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall; but there are plenty of other places that are worth seeing, particularly some of the art and history museums that are increasingly better curated over time. This list consists of some of the museums in Central Beijing (i.e., within the Third Ring road,) so it will be easier for you to get around.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker

8 Places

6 City Tips

Print
Map

8 Places

Forbidden City-The Palace Museum

Architectural Buildings, History Museums, Speciality Museums

Chairman Mao Memorial Hall (Maozhuxi Jiniantang)

Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues

National Museum Of China

Speciality Museums

China Railway Museum Zhengyangmen

Speciality Museums

Beijing Urban Planning Exhibition Hall

Government Buildings

Beijing Capital Museum

History Museums

National Art Museum Of China

Art Museums

Temple of Confucius and Guozijian Museum

Speciality Museums

Alicia L's City Tips

  • Check online to see if you need to register for tickets as some frequently visited museums require pre-booking, especially on days such as public holidays and weekends.
  • Many museums offer limited English-language information throughout the exhibits, so it’s best to rent an audio guide from the reception area.
  • Always carry your passport on you. Some sites will require you to show your passport to get a ticket.
  • It is advisable to bring your own toilet paper and wet wipes everywhere you go. Public toilets do not always offer these.
  • Traffic in Beijing can be unpredictable so it is better to use public transportation, however subways and buses can be very crowded during rush hour (between 8-9.30am and 5-7pm.)
  • Better yet, rent a bicycle, as places within the 2nd ring road are fairly easy to get to. Depending on the time of day, taxis can be difficult to hail.
  • Save
    Forbidden City-The Palace Museum
    Architectural Buildings, History Museums, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Alicia L Says:

    During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Forbidden City (also Palace Museum) is where the emperors lived and governed the country. It is now open to the public where people can see the traditional palace architecture and its treasures (such as The Hall of Clocks and Watches, and a stupendous collection of antique timepieces from around the world,) and learn of the stories of the imperial family and the court. It is the largest and best-preserved group of palaces in China. There is a daily limit to the number of visitors, so do go online to book tickets ahead of time; however, bear in mind that the site only supports Chinese language.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Expect many tourists (especially on weekends and public holidays) regardless of what time you go.
    • The Forbidden City covers an expansive area; plan your route around the different galleries before you start.
    • Since this is in the same area, Tiananmen Square is a few minutes walk away to the Forbidden City, which you can go to after a quick visit to Mao's Mausoleum.
    • Plan for at least two to three hours to see the whole museum. On average most visitors spend three to four hours; some even spend the whole day.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 1,630 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Post Office inside the Forbidden City(now more popularly known as the Old Palace) 13/08/2018
    • Great time, good history 13/08/2018
    • Forbidden City-The Palace Museum
    Address:
    No.4 Jingshanqian Street, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100009
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 8500 7422
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    Chairman Mao Memorial Hall (Maozhuxi Jiniantang)
    Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    Alicia L Says:

    This is final resting place of Chairman Mao where his body was embalmed and put on display after his death. The mausoleum is located at the southern end of Tiananmen Square, making it easy to pay a visit to Mao and then see the surrounding area. It is interesting to go and see how deferential Chinese visitors are as they pay their respects and lay flowers for Mao. You'll see slogans of reverence in both halls of the Mausoleum.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Expect many tourists, but the line generally moves very quickly as the security guards usher you through. Don’t despair if you see lines to get in!
    • The visit shouldn't take more than 30 minutes in total, but the building is only open for a few hours in the morning 8am-12pm, Tuesday to Sunday. As this varies in July and August, it is best to check ahead for specific hours.
    • Be dressed appropriately to enter the building; vests and flip flops are not allowed. Also, you need to be quiet throughout the whole visit and no photos are allowed.
    • Bags, cameras, video devices, food, and beverage are not allowed, so place them at left luggage, of which there are a few surrounding the Square. Phones and wallet are allowed.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #114 of 1,630 things to do in Beijing
    • Queue up for over an hour to catch a glimpse 07/08/2018
    • Totally worth it 25/07/2018
    • Chairman Mao Memorial Hall (Maozhuxi Jiniantang)
    Address:
    Tiananmen Square, Dongcheng District
    Beijing
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 6513 2277
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    7:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    National Museum Of China
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Alicia L Says:

    The National Museum of China houses an impressive collection of art and history.Though politicized, the permanent exhibition 'The Road to Rejuvenation,' tells the history of modern China from its decline at the end of the Qing Dynasty to the history of the Republic of China between 1912 to 1949, and then to the founding of the People’s Republic of China by the Communist Party.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Be dressed appropriately to enter the building; vests and flip flops are not allowed.
    • Do pick up an audio guide for explanations of the various artworks, artifacts, and history.
    • Entry is free, but there is a daily limit of visitors allowed.
    • It may be worth considering spending half a day at this museum.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #53 of 1,630 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • The history and evolution of China ! 14/08/2018
    • If you like history you will love this place 01/08/2018
    • National Museum Of China
    Address:
    No.16 East Chang'an Street, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100006
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 6526 3355
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    China Railway Museum Zhengyangmen
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Alicia L Says:

    Close to Tiananmen Square, going south towards Qianmen, is the China Railway Museum. Four stories high, it tells the history of the development of China’s Railway system from 1876 to modern day, including its current high-speed network. China’s railway network is the second longest network in the world, with plans by the central government to build more as the country continues to urbanize. Less visited by foreign tourists, there is little English-language information available, but plenty of railway artifacts and photos to make this an interesting quick visit.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Kids may enjoy this museum as there are many model trains to see.
    • There are two China Railway Museums in Beijing, but this one is located at the southeast corner of Tiananmen Square, housed in the former Zhengyangmen East Railway Station.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #316 of 1,630 things to do in Beijing
    • Wonderful railway museum in the downtown Beijing 13/06/2018
    • Models of high speed routes and stations 29/05/2018
    • China Railway Museum Zhengyangmen
    Address:
    No.2A Qianmen Main Street, Chongwen District
    Beijing
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 5269 3188
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    Beijing Urban Planning Exhibition Hall
    Government Buildings
    See more photos
    Alicia L Says:

    Over four stories, the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall displays several replicas of Beijing. Although it does showcase some history of Beijing’s development, the exhibits focus more on the modern day development of Beijing and its projected city development over the next few years, including its green initiatives. There are English-language 3D and 4D shows on Beijing’s urban development at various times during the day. The 3D model of Beijing at a scale of 1:750 depicts what Beijing will look like in 2020 and is definitely quite cool to see. You can also see the expansion of Beijing’s subway system, and a 1:1000 scale bronze model of Beijing at the end of the revolution in 1949 mounted on a wall.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Price of the standard ticket does not include entry for the 3D or 4D shows.
    • Located literally next to China Railway Museum, you might consider visiting the two museums together.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #181 of 1,630 things to do in Beijing
    • Great place to see the size and scope of Beijing 13/05/2018
    • Very interesting , a must to understand the city history and urbanization structure 09/05/2018
    • Beijing Urban Planning Exhibition Hall
    Address:
    No.20 Qianmendong Main Street, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100051
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 6701 7074
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    Beijing Capital Museum
    History Museums
    See more photos
    Alicia L Says:

    Less frequently visited than the Palace Museum and National Museum, but containing just as impressive a collection, is the Capital Museum, located by the west Third Ring Road. It contains a large collection of ancient porcelain, bronze, calligraphy, painting, sculptures, jade, and statues from imperial China and other Asian cultures. As the current building is fairly new, having only moved there in 2006, the museum has many new and interactive technology installed. Despite the museum having over 200,000 cultural relics in its collection, only a selection is displayed at any given time. Many of the collections were found in Beijing.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Do pick up an audio guide for an explanation of the various artworks, artifacts, and history.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #52 of 1,630 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Interesting but LOUD 24/07/2018
    • A big disappointment 29/06/2018
    • Beijing Capital Museum
    Address:
    No.16 Fuxingmenwai Main Street, Xicheng District
    Beijing 100045
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 6337 0491
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    National Art Museum Of China
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Alicia L Says:

    The National Art Museum houses modern and contemporary Chinese art collections. Many of its artworks are made by well-known Chinese artists from the end of the 19th century till today, such as Ren Bonian, Wu Guanzhong and Qi Baishi. On weekends and public holidays, expect to see groups of primary school children sitting in front of the various paintings being guided by their art teachers to paint or draw.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Do pick up an audio guide to explain the various artworks and history.
    • Unlike The Forbidden City and National Museum, this museum is open on Mondays.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #121 of 1,630 things to do in Beijing
    • Don't forget your passport 18/07/2018
    • Wandering around 27/04/2018
    • National Art Museum Of China
    Address:
    No.1 Wusi Main Street, Dongcheng District
    Beijing
    China
    Phone:
    86-01-64034952
    Price range:
    US$0 - US$0
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Save
    Temple of Confucius and Guozijian Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Alicia L Says:

    The Confucian Temple is where people paid homage to Confucius during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, while the Guozijian Museum (also known as the Beijing Imperial Academy) was an institute of the highest learning in China. Emperors in imperial China would frequently visit Guozijian to read Confucian classics. Confucius was a great thinker and educator, and is possibly the most influential person in Chinese history, with his doctrine widely taught to young children, and continues to be practiced in modern China. During the school year and periods of public exams, parents and students will come to pay their respects and wish for good results. The area inside the courtyard, where the Temple is located, is tranquil with cypress trees that are hundreds of years old offering shade and peace away from the hustle and bustle often experienced in larger streets and main areas. Learn about Confucius’ life story and his influence on Chinese culture, tradition, and thinking at the Temple, which connects to Guozijian, where you can learn about the history of the imperial examination.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • One ticket will allow you to enter both locations.
    • When the weather is nice, bring a book and sit under the shade for a little while to read and soak up the ambiance.
    • Located by the northern tip of the Second Ring Road, close to the Lama Temple and taxi-able within 10 minutes from the National Art Museum.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #59 of 1,630 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • nicest temple in beijing 11/08/2018
    • Different 06/08/2018
    • Temple of Confucius and Guozijian Museum
    Address:
    No.13 Guozijian Street
    Beijing
    China
    Phone:
    +86 10 8401 1977
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Other:
top
×
Was this guide helpful?
YesNo