You’re headed to China’s capital city and all you have is 48 hours to get your fill of exploring. The good side is that you have an endless list of ways to fill your 48 hours. The downside is that you only have 48 hours. So, to remedy that problem, we’re here to present you with a Beijing 48-hour itinerary stuffed with the can’t-miss attractions in the PRC’s capital city.
9:00 a.m. Grab breakfast in the Wangfujing neighborhood
Wangfujing is one of Beijing’s most active districts. With a mix of a western (Wangfujing Starbucks are never more than a few blocks away) and local restaurant options, you will have plenty to choose from.
10:00 a.m. Stroll Wangfujing Street and sample the snack stands
Even if your stomach is full from breakfast, just looking at the snacks is an adventure. Whether it’s grilled scorpion or starfish, the snack stands are quite the spectacle. Check out this article on the street’s top snacks before you go.
11:00 a.m. Explore the Forbidden City
A 20-minute walk from Wangfujing, the Forbidden City served as the home of 24 emperors over the course of almost 500 years. Now a museum, visitors can stroll the grounds and check out artifacts from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
2:30 p.m. Dumplings and Wonton Soup
If exploring the Forbidden City stirs up some hunger, you’re in a good place. The surrounding area offers plenty of food options. Stopping at Hangzhou Xiaochi for some wonton soup and dumplings would be an excellent choice.
3:30 p.m. Head back to your Airbnb just north of the Forbidden City
This loft in a traditional Beijing house is located just a few blocks north of the Forbidden City in Jingshan Park and is perfectly located for your 48-hour sightseeing adventure.
6:00 p.m. Go to Black Sesame Kitchen for a Group Dinner
Black Sesame is regarded as one of the best restaurants in all of Beijing and its group dining events (usually Tuesday and Friday nights) are hard to beat. The restaurant’s chefs cook up all ten courses right in front of you. From pan-fried dumplings to beef with Hangzhou peppers to sesame ice cream, this dining experience will not soon be forgotten.
10:00 p.m. Party at Babyface
Located about 20 minutes west of the Forbidden City, Babyface is one of the hottest clubs in the city. With separate rooms blasting hip-hop and house, the club attracts the city’s younger movers and shakers and is a great bet if you’re looking to get a little loose after a full day of sightseeing.
8:00 a.m. Take a day tour of the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall
After grabbing a quick breakfast, take a hired car to the Jinshanling section of the wall. The ride takes about two hours and you can use it to catch up on sleep that you may have missed last night. Upon arrival, you’ll start your hiking tour on what many say is the most beautiful section of the wall.
Before you start to object to a full day tour on a 48-hour trip, consider what the Jinshanling tour has to offer. The Great Wall is an attraction that can’t be missed, but for the travelers who aren’t out to simply check boxes and take a few pictures, it has to be seen the right way. The Jinshanling section, aside from being gorgeous, is far less touristy than Mutianyu or Badaling.
Jinshanling hasn’t been preserved nor readied for massive tourist crowds. It’s wild and authentic and whether you’re there in the summer to see the maple and apricot trees or in the winter to see the surrounding snow-capped mountains, the setting will be jaw-dropping.
On the tour, you’ll also learn about the section’s history (be sure to ask to hire a driver and a tour guide not just a driver). From its construction in the 1300’s to when Chinese soldiers fended off thousands of Japanese invaders in the 1500’s, you will have plenty of stories to absorb.
7:00 p.m. Eat at Lost Heaven
Lost Heaven Beijing is one of the top restaurants in the city and is the perfect farewell. Break out the more formal attire and sample a menu full of Asian delicacies ranging from Burmese beefy curry to fried pork ribs.
8:30 p.m. Tiananmen Square
While most foreigners know Tiananmen Square for the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations and the subsequent massacre carried out by Chinese security forces, the square is in many ways a center for Chinese patriotism and history. A walk around the square is a great way to compare and contrast modern China and its future against its history.