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Where to stay in Beijing

Where to stay in Beijing: our favorite neighborhoods

China’s enormous capital is a fascinating place in every way. Beijing was influenced by both imperial and modern trends and it took the best features from both. Fans of history will adore its landmarks from China’s imperial era, while others will fall in love with authentic modern Chinese culture. Whatever you want your visit to Beijing to be like, the city will give you what you need. What makes things even better is that Beijing is close to the Great Wall of China, so you can easily go on a day trip to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Photo credit: insta.beijing

5 best districts to stay in Beijing

Beijing is an enormous city by every standard. It is bigger and more populated than most cities in the world, and even larger than some countries, including Cyprus, Jamaica, and Luxembourg. For this reason, it is essential to choose the best district to stay in Beijing—you don’t want to travel all day just to get to the city center. To help you out, we have assessed major Beijing districts and picked the best ones:

  1. Wangfujing
  2. Xinjiekou
  3. Sanlitun
  4. Qianmen
  5. Dongcheng

 When analyzing the districts and choosing the winners, we paid attention to the following factors:

  1. Location
  2. Historical and cultural value
  3. Entertainment options
  4. The overall atmosphere
  5. How well-connected it is
  6. Cost of staying
  7. Safety
Where to stay in Beijing
Best for the first visit Wangfujing Central area with bars, shops, and tourist attractions
Best budget option Xinjiekou An affordable neighborhood that is well-connected to the city center
Best for partying hard Sanlitun The nightlife area with the oldest bar community in the city
Best for bohemians Qianmen Historical center with authentic Beijing culture
Best for expats Dongcheng A busy area with different accommodation options

Photo credit: insta.beijing

Where to stay in Beijing on your first visit—Wangfujing

Wangfujing

Wangfujing street and its surrounding area are an ideal place to stay in when visiting Beijing for the first time. It is the main tourist area and home to major attractions. There are plenty of historical and cultural sights to check out, as well as hundreds of shops, bars, and restaurants. You can enjoy the bustling atmosphere of its pedestrian streets while tasting culinary specialties from exotic food stalls. You will also find plenty of markets and shopping malls, so you can easily buy some gifts and souvenirs. 

Photo credit: cgtnenespanol

What to visit in Wangfujing

Wangfujing is the best place in the city for shopping and sightseeing. There are so many places worth checking out. We suggest you start with these:

  • Tiananmen Square
  • The Forbidden City
  • Gongmei Mansion
  • St Joseph’s Cathedral

Best for history buffs: Tiananmen Square

When visiting Beijing, you surely don’t want to miss one of the world’s largest city squares. On Tiananmen Square, you will find many interesting buildings to see, including the National Museum of China, the Great Hall of the People, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. 

Photo credit: miekelejeunevdven

Best for art lovers: The Forbidden City

Undeniably the most popular tourist destination in Beijing, the Forbidden City is the world’s largest imperial palace. Its magnificent architecture and historical artifacts will take your breath away. 

Photo credit: guicury

Where to stay in Wangfujing

Wangfujing is the central area of Beijing so the average price per night is not cheap: around $130. Take a look at our best picks:

Budget option: this cozy and affordable bungalow

Midrange option: this amazing house

High-end option: this luxurious apartment

None of these suits your needs? Browse for more AirBnBs here

Where to stay in Beijing on a budget—Xinjiekou 

Xinjiekou

An area of the city’s business district, Xicheng District, Xinjiekou is a great place to stay in without breaking the bank. It is not too far away from the city center, so you can easily move around the city. This area offers plenty of affordable hotels and Airbnb’s, as well as traditional Beijing hutongs. There are also plenty of interesting buildings to see, as it used to be home to imperial Beijing’s nobility. The area is well-known as the musical center of the city and you want to check out its musical instrument and CD/DVD black market. 

Photo credit: natsukisun0830

What to do in Xinjiekou

Although it doesn’t have as many tourist destinations as the central part of the city, there are plenty of things to do in Xinjiekou. Here are some places you could visit:

  • Shichahai lakes
  • Prince Gong mansion
  • Beijing Zoo and Aquarium
  • Temple of Ancient Monarchs

Best for relaxation: Shichahai lakes

The Shichahai area is where Beijing’s famous artificial lake trio is located. During the warm summer months, you can unwind in one of the cafes on the coast or rent a boat. If you happen to visit Beijing during the winter, you can have fun ice skating on the lakes. 

Photo credit: yg_xxchris

Best for entertainment: Beijing Zoo and Aquarium

Beijing Zoo and Beijing Aquarium, located near the Xinjiekou station, are a must-see for any animal lover. The Aquarium consists of seven halls, including the scary Shark Hall. The Zoo is home to almost 500 animal species, including some extremely rare animals. You will see golden monkeys, northeast tigers, and, of course, pandas. 

Photo credit: kumami_222

Where to stay in Xinjiekou

The average cost for one night in Xinjiekou is around $80. Here are some of our favorite AirBnBs:

Budget option: this super cheap private room

Midrange option: this cute little house

Luxurious option: this amazing apartment.

If you want to check out more options, visit this page

Where to stay in Beijing for partying hard—Sanlitun

Sanlitun

Sanlitun is a central area loved by the tourists for its trendy, urban vibe. There are plenty of things to do here, from exploring its hip cafes to visiting shops and markets. Sanlitun is where all the major bars and clubs are located, so you never have to worry about being bored at night. Its Bar Street is filled with great places to party, and it also happens to be Beijing’s first bar community.

Photo credit: vovalcano

Where to go at night in Sanlitun

Sanlitun has a lot to offer to its visitors. Here are some ideas where you could go and have fun at night: 

  • Aurora
  • Taikoo Li
  • Gongti (The Beijing Workers’ Stadium)
  • Mesh

Best for parties: Aurora

Set in Sanlitun Dirty Bar Street, Aurora is the place that will make any clubber happy. Although the club is not big, it’s known for having a vibrant atmosphere. Each night you will hear a different music genre and there are occasional theme nights. 

Photo credit: _aurora.beijing

Best for drinks and dining: Taikoo Li

Taikoo Li is a shopping precinct that doesn’t offer just boutiques: there are many fantastic bars, pubs, and restaurants. Whether you’re looking for tasty cocktails, Mediterranean cuisine, or Peking duck, you will find it in this amazing center.  

Photo credit: zhang_0220

Where to stay in Sanlitun

Besides bars and clubs, Sanlitun is full of affordable AirBnBs and the average price per night is around $70. Check out our top choices:

Budget option: this modern condo.

Midrange option: this amazing house with a big balcony.

Luxurious option: this gorgeous apartment

For other options, click here

Where to stay in Beijing for the bohemian vibe—Qianmen

Qianmen

Qianmen street and the area around it are an interesting mix of the ancient and modern worlds. It is the historical center of the city and most buildings are representative of the Qing dynasty architectural style. Although these buildings are centuries old, you will find trendy bars, international restaurants, and global shops, such as Zara and H&M, in them. This neighborhood is the true soul of the city and the best place for experiencing authentic Beijing culture. Besides museums and historical sights, it is also home to various street markets where you can find extraordinary jewelry and all kinds of souvenirs. 

Photo credit: dolcekitchenjeez

What to do in Qianmen

If you’re not sure where to start, you may want to check out these places:

  • The Temple of Heaven
  • Monument to the People’s Heroes
  • The Red Theater
  • Tiantan Park
  • Niujie Mosque

Best for culture vultures: The Temple of Heaven

During China’s imperial era, The Temple of Heaven was the major temple in Beijing. The architecture is truly unique and there are several gorgeous altars worth checking out. Once you get tired of strolling around the temple, you can watch people practicing tai chi and kung fu in its parks. 

Photo credit: casssrattray

Best for entertainment: The Red Theater

The motherland of kung fu, China is filled with martial arts theaters. The Red Theater is one of the most famous ones and has become incredibly popular among tourists. There are shows every night and we suggest watching the Legend of Kung Fu show. 

Photo credit: morgamm

Where to stay in Qianmen

Qianment offers a wide range of accommodation options, ranging from budget to high-end. The average price for one night is around $100. Have a look at our favorites:

Budget option: this affordable condo.

 

Midrange option: this artsy apartment

Luxurious option: this enormous loft.

For more accommodation options, click here

Where to stay in Beijing for expats—northeastern part of the Dongcheng district (Donzhimen/Yonghegong)

Dongcheng

Dongcheng is an enormous central district that consists of many neighborhoods. Its northeast area is the best place for expats due to its practical location, decent accommodation prices, and lots of shops and amenities. Many subway lines go through this district so you can move around the city with ease. There are plenty of options for expats here. If you want to stay in a more traditional neighborhood with lower prices, Yonghegong will suit you well. Those who prefer a more modern lifestyle will love Dongcheng’s Dongzhimen neighborhood. 

Photo credit: timeoutbeijing

What to visit in Dongzhimen and Yonghegong

Although this part of the city is mostly residential, there are several attractions that you may like. Here are some ideas:

  • The Confucius Temple
  • Yonghegong Lama Temple
  • Tiandi Theatre Acrobatic Show

Best overall: The Confucius Temple

This temple celebrating China’s most beloved philosopher is the second-largest Confucian temple in the world. It contains four courtyards, a large statue of Confucius, and many interesting artifacts from Chinese history.

Photo credit: davehouse86

Where to stay in Donzhimen and Yonghegong

These two neighborhoods are quite affordable and the average price for one night is around $70. These AirBnBs are our top picks:

Budget option: this cheap bungalow.

Midrange option: this cute apartment.

Luxurious option: this fantastic loft

You can browse for more options here.