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:
When analyzing the districts and choosing the winners, we paid attention to the following factors:
- Historical and cultural value
- Entertainment options
- The overall atmosphere
- How well-connected it is
- Cost of staying
|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 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
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 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:
- Taikoo Li
- Gongti (The Beijing Workers’ Stadium)
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 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 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.