BEIJING WITH KIDS
Are you excited about your upcoming trip to Beijing, but not sure what to do or where to stay? The first step is getting a visa to China. We applied for a 10-year visa, but that can be an expensive option if you do not plan to return to China. There is a 72-hour visa option for a lot less money if you would like to explore China for a few days before moving on to another destination. Do not worry we have everything here on how to enjoy Beijing with kids. Along with everything that you need to know before traveling to Beijing, we have tips on how to make the most out of your time in an amazing city like Beijing with kids.
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What is the best time to visit Beijing with kids?
Beijing experiences four distinct seasons summer, autumn (fall), spring, and winter. During winter Beijing can be very cold reaching temperatures as low as 5°F (-15°C) in the winter with January and being the coldest month of the year. July and August are the hottest months of the year with temperatures reaching a high of 99°F (37° C). Although you may enjoy cheaper prices the extreme temperatures make it difficult to enjoy the city.
We believe the best time to visit Beijing with kids is during the spring and fall. We traveled to Beijing from San Diego in April and the weather was great. We packed light jackets and the hotel provided an umbrella in the event of rain. Keep in mind the weather can change at any time, so we advise having a jacket in the event the weather is cooler than expected.
Pro Tip: Avoid traveling to Beijing during major holidays. The major holiday in the Spring is May Day (May 1st to 3rd) and during Fall is National Day Holiday (October 1st to 7th).
We understand there is nothing more frustrating than trying to find the best place to stay with kids. These 5-star hotels are not only family-friendly but affordable. The nightly cost of these hotels is less than a 3-star hotel in the United States, Europe, and Australia.
The Hotel Eclat is a boutique hotel that offers a unique experience. This is not only a hotel but also an art museum. As you walk into the lobby you are greeted with macaroons and champagne. The customer service much like the hotel is superb. We stayed at this hotel for two nights while in Beijing and everything was perfect.
The rooms are spacious offering a 3-D TV, iPad for entertainment, one free drink per night, fully stocked mini-fridge, fruit, and an amazing breakfast. The bathroom has a large soaking tub with heated floors and towel rack to keep you warm. It was the perfect place to relax after a long day of exploring the city.
If you are looking for an experience of a lifetime Hotel Eclat delivers. The location is a little further from the tourist attractions, but the front desk will help with arranging transportation for you. You can even reserve a car that will drive you around for as long as you designate, a great way to take the stress of getting around Beijing with kids.
The Intercontinental Beijing Sanlitun is a family-friendly hotel that offers an indoor swimming pool and upgraded fitness center. It is located near the Chaoyang District and is great for families interested in shopping, and traditional Chinese food. Although it is not located immediately next to the major tourist attractions the location is central to explore all of Beijing.
Located next to the airport and within short walking distance to the subway, this hotel is perfect for a short stay in Beijing with kids. There is a 24-hour butler available to attend to your needs and it wouldn't be a vacation without wine. There is an indoor pool for kids to enjoy with a view of a private garden for you to relax
NUO Hotel Beijing is located close to Beijing’s 798 Art Zone and is only a 15-minute walk to the subway station. There are six dining options that will meet your every need, including all-day dining restaurant N' Joy and Jia Chinese restaurant. There is also room service available for those lazy days where you just want to enjoy a day at the indoor pool.
Things to do in Beijing with kids
Beijing is an awesome place to discover history, culture, food, religion, and temples. Other cities in China such as Shanghai can be explored quickly, you will need at least 5 days to take in Beijing. If you are looking to learn more about the history of Ancient China this is the place to be. A lot of the temples and architecture are considered wonders of the world with many having the honor of being considered UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Great Wall of China
No visit to Beijing is complete without visiting The Great Wall of China. The historic site is indescribable and is a once and a lifetime experience. On a clear day, you can see for miles and take in the beautiful scenery. The least populated and most kid-friendly part of the wall is Mutianyu.
Mutianyu is located 1 to 1.5 hours outside of Beijing. We were able to visit this section for $42 USD, which included transportation from Beijing and the lift car to the top of the wall. The weather took an unfortunate turn when we arrived and it was snowing at the top, but it was an amazing experience, nevertheless. The easiest way to the top is by using the cable car. This is the way we used it because the weather was colder than expected and we wanted to spend more time enjoying the sights.
Pro Tip: The walk to the cable car and start of the hike is uphill from the admission counters. There are steps to the far left that will make the walk easier.
Cost for admission:
Adults: CNY 40 ($5 USD)
- Seniors elder than 60: CNY 20 (valid ID or passport required) ($3 USD)
- Children between 1.2 and 1.4 meters (3.9 and 4.6 feet): CNY 20 ($3 USD)
- Children under 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) are admitted free.
Cost for Cable Car:
- Adults: Roundtrip 120 CNY ($17 USD) Single Trip 100 CNY ($14 USD)
- Children: Roundtrip 60 CNY ($8 USD) Single Trip 50 CNY ($7 USD)
Click here for a tour to skip the lines for the Great Wall of China.
The Forbidden City is the largest palace in the world. If you are traveling with a baby it is best to wear a baby carrier because there are a lot of steps. Unfortunately, the palace is not stroller friendly, but the history here is worth the trip. There are audio tours available for rent after the security checkpoint. There will be a lot of people and tons of walking so be prepared for a long day.
Pro Tip: Purchase your tickets online in advance, they tend to sell out quickly. Also, visit the other museums, watch the changing of the guard, and don’t forget your passport.
Jingshan Park is a royal garden with the best views in the city, overlooking the Forbidden City. The middle point of the hill is the highest in Beijing. At the peak, you can get a full clear view of the Forbidden City.
Cost: 2 CYN ($0.30) - per person
Beihai Park is one of Beijing's oldest and most famous parks. Beihai Park Scenic Area is composed of Qingdao Island, East Shore Area, North Shore Area, Botanical Garden, and Circular City. The main scenery of Beihai Park includes Beihai Lake, Jade Islet, Jinxinhai, Nine Dragon Screen, Round City, White Pagoda, Suhavati Garden, Yong'an Temple and many other interesting sites. You can find a tour guide at the North gate or explore the activities this park has to offer.
China Science and Technology Museum
The China Science and Technology Museum is part of the Olympic Park and is the only state science technology museum. Every floor is full of fun and exciting interactive activities for kids of all ages. If you are looking for a place to keep your energetic little ones look no further.
Mall Exhibition Hall Cost:
- Adults – 30 CNY ($4 USD)
- Children over 8 – 20 CNY ($3 USD)
- Children under 8 or under 1.3 meters – Free
- Seniors over 60 – Free
All visitors must pay 30 CNY ($4 USD) for Children's Science Park. This attraction is best for kids ages 3 – 8
Temple of Heaven
The walk to the temple of heaven is full of trees dating back over 400 years. This is where the Emperor would go to recite his prayer to the gods. From the temple, there is a 360-degree view of the city. Be sure to see the replica inside the building to the right of the temple.
The World Park
The world park is a theme park that is designed to take you around the world without leaving Beijing. As you walk through the park you will see historical landmarks from around the world such as the Pyramids of Egypt, the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Notre Dame, the Temple of Luxor, and the Grand Canyon. If you would like to stroll around the world in a day this is a great place for kids to explore.
- Adults and children over 1.2 meter – 100 CNY ($14 USD)
- Children below 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) – Free
Hutongs are where you will see the real Beijing. They are narrow streets between rows of single-story Siheyuan that are occupied by locals. They are an important part of the Chinese culture and represent "old-world China". To learn and understand the history of hutongs I recommend a bike tour.
The Summer Palace is a beautiful oasis and is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Once you step inside the gates it seems as if you are transported to another place where time stands still. You can take a boat ride along the lake or explore the grounds. The best time to visit is in the morning or 1 to 2 hours before closing.
Beijing Zoo - See Pandas
I am often conflicted about recommending zoos due to the treatment of animals. It is difficult to see animals caged for no reason other than for our amusement. There are a few zoos around the world that are actively working to save these beautiful animals and have placed many of them back into their natural habitat. The main attractions here are the pandas. If you would like to see pandas you can visit the Panda House.
- Zoo Entrance Fee - 15 CNY ($2 USD)
- Combo Ticket (Zoo + Panda Hall) - 19 CNY ($3 USD)
Located across the street from Forbidden City Tiananmen Square is a historic site in Beijing. Tiananmen Square is the world's largest public square.
Best places to eat in Beijing
Chinese food in China is nothing like in America. If you are hoping to see your favorite dishes such as chicken and broccoli, General Tao’s chicken, and orange chicken you will be disappointed. The food available in China is vastly different. The main protein is pork as opposed to chicken in other places.
Jingzun Peking Duck Restaurant
You have to try Peking Duck while in Beijing. Jingzun Peking Duck Resturant is located in the Chaoyang District. Although the menu is not in English some pictures allow you to point at the items you would like to order. The prices are reasonable with a short wait time and good customer service.
Located across the street from Hotel Kapok Beijing Pie is an authentic local family restaurant. We enjoyed Beijing Pie so much we went back for 3 days straight. The portions are generous and they offer a menu in English. A huge plus is they offer to-go boxes to enjoy your leftovers.
We like to try street food everywhere we travel. If you are in Beijing with kids please take additional precautions when eating street food. Look at the cleanliness of the vendor and always wash off fresh fruit being eating.
If you are a foodie this food tour is perfect to get a taste of Beijing.
How to get around Beijing with kids
There are a lot of ways to get around Beijing with kids. Although it is not as compact as Shanghai, you can get around quite easily. The easiest way for us to get around with a baby was with a taxi or Didi. This may not be the case for others that are traveling with older children. The subway is a great experience and bike tours are a great way to see the city.
We took a private transfer from the airport to the hotel to make it easy and hassle-free.
Subway - Metro
The most cost-efficient way to get around Beijing with kids is by using public transportation. The metro is not stroller friendly and can be difficult to navigate with a lot of luggage. This app helps navigate the metro system in Beijing. Although it will be very busy it can also be an adventure.
Pro Tip: Avoid using the metro during rush hour (7 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 7 pm).
Didi is the Chinese version of Uber and is the only service available in English. You can download the app and connect your credit card like other ridesharing apps. This is great because it removes the language barrier and is cheaper than using a taxi. Also, if you are traveling with children the cars are often newer and have seatbelts available in the backseat. If you have trouble connecting their customer service is very helpful in correcting the issue.
It can be difficult to communicate with taxi drivers in China unless you speak the language. It is best if you have your destination written in Mandarin to provide to the taxi driver. Ask for the meter to be turned on or set up a price before getting into the taxi. Foreigners are often overcharged so be sure to check Didi before agreeing on a price.
If your hotel is close to major attractions another mode of transportation in Beijing is bikes. If you are traveling with older children riding a bike is a great alternative to save money and see close sites. Be sure to observe the traffic and stay safe.
Indoor Activities in Beijing with kids - Protection from pollution
The best time to travel to Beijing with kids in terms of air pollution is in the fall. September and October have historically been the least polluted times of the year. On days where the air quality is unsafe, it is best to spend most of your time indoors.
You cannot go wrong with enjoying the trampoline park on a rainy or smog-filled day.
There are a lot of museums in China and a lot of them are free. The National Museum of China, Capital Museum, 789 Art Zone, and Paleozoological Museum of China. Don't forget to pack your passport and you can take a journey through China's history. You may think this will not be something kids will enjoy, but turning it into a fun activity can keep the attention of your little ones. Check out our article on how to make museums fun for kids of any age.
Kung Fu Show
Watch an exciting show of dancing, acrobatics, and kung-fu. You can watch as the story plays out of a young monk on a journey to find himself. This show is entertaining for children and adults.
Get your tickets online to skip the line and transportation is available.
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