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Top 21 Winter Activities in Beijing

Winter in Beijing can be brutally cold, especially when it’s windy. However, there are still a lot of winter activities you can’t miss. Here is a list of the top 22 things to do in Beijing in winter. You will discover a different side of the city.

1.Visit the Forbidden City Covered in Snow

The Forbidden City is one of the most majestic imperial palaces in the world. It looks solemn and sacred usually, but in winter, it’s more playful and enchanting. When the snow falls, the palace presents a kind of misty beauty. It’s hard to describe how beautiful it’s in snow.

Forbidden City in Snow

2.Have A Hot Baked Sweet Potato

Soft, sweet, and very tender., hmm, the taste of the Baked Sweet Potato. As a specialty in winter, the basked sweet potato is a treat to warm your heart. No shop or restaurant is serving it. You can only expect an unexpected encounter with some guy riding an old tricycle with a big stove.

Baked Sweet Potato

3.Ice Skating on A Frozen Houhai Lake

The Houhai Lake Freezes every year, creating an open-air ice rink. Locals love ice skating here in winter. The entrance ticket only costs 30 RMB (roughly 4.6USD) on workdays and 40 RMB (approx.6USD) on weekends and holidays. The lake is quite big and divided into several sections. You can either ice skating in the professional skating section or an amateur section. Even if you don’t have the roller skates, you can still rent a bicycle or sleigh. If you are bringing children, make sure you try the ice slide. When you finish ice skating, the streets filled with restaurants and bars are nearby.

Ice Skating on Houhai Lake

4.Be Stunned by the Winter View of the Great Wall

The Great Wall has the most beautiful snow scene in China. After the snowfall, the Great Wall is like a silver dragon lying on the winding mountains. As long as you dare to get antiskid shoes, the Great Wall is a great place to visit out in snowy days. You must wear warm down jackets and goggles. Besides, it’s wise for you to stick to the popular sections like Mutianyu and Badaling sections.

Great Wall in Winter

5.Ski in a Huaibei Ski Resort

Huaibei Ski Resort is the biggest international-level ski resort. There are one advanced ski trail, two medium ski trails, four primary ski trails, and one practice trail. You can choose according to your ski skills. Besides, the resort is close to the Mutianyu Great Wall. You can see the beacon towers from here. When you are tired, the modern restaurants, hotels, and other facilities are waiting for you.

Ski in Huaibei Ski Resort

6.Enjoy a Peking-style Fondue Chinoise

A Peking-style Fondue Chinoise will wash away all your fatigue and bring you warmth. Beijing people are famous for their particularity about food. The Peking-style Fondue Chinoise is about the plain soup base, fine lamb slices, and the dipping sauce. Unlike the oily and numbingly hot Sichuan and Chongqing hotpots, the Peking copper pot shabushabu uses boiled water with ginger slices, green onions, mushrooms, wolf-berries, and Chinese dates only. The soup base is exceptionally plain and clear. The lamb slices are fresh and tender and quickly boiled.

Peking-style Hotpot

7.Make and Fly Kites

Kite-flying is a tradition in Beijing, and Tian’anmen Square is the best place for it. With the wind blowing, children, couples, and the elders are flying colorful kites. Some of the most popular kites are shaped in facial masks, centipedes, swallows, and eagles. If you DIY a kite, there are select shops where you can learn how to make kites.

Fly Kite

8.Relax in the Hot Spring

It's a real treat to take off the thick clothes and soak in the hot spring in winter. It would be even better if it's snowy. It's like relaxing in an immortal's pool, while the snow is dancing for you. Whether you are having a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a friends gathering, a hot spring bath is always a great winter choice. There are many hot spring resorts in Beijing. If you prefer privacy, spa hotels are right for you. If you like nature, the hot spring villages are your options.

Hot Springs

9.Taste the Winter Speciality - Tanghulu

Tanghulu is a traditional Chinese snack made of sugar-coated haws and a specialty for winter. The sweet crispy sugar and the sour haw make a great combination. There are also many other kinds of Tanghulu, like banana Tanghulu, orange Tanghulu, yam Tanghulu, etc.


10.Longqing Gorge Ice and Lantern Festival

The annual Longqingxia Ice and Lantern Festival is one of the most important events in Beijing. It's also an ideal choice for winter travel. The festival's themes vary each year, but the ice waterfalls of the dam is a permanent scene. The colorful ice lanterns, bizarre ice sculptures, and the radiant buildings make up a magnificent view. Besides the ice landscapes, you can also enjoy the local food and the dazzling light show “Dragon Shock.”

Longqingxia Ice and Lantern Festival

11.Ice Climbing in Miyun Taoyuan Xiangu

Miyun Taoyuan Xiangu is an outdoor sight with beautiful landscapes. It offers different views at different times, but the best time to visit it is winter. With snow falling, the mountains and the waterfalls become frozen, creating pieces of thick icicles. Those who love ice sports come here to climb the ice waterfalls. It’s quite thrilling. Even if you can’t climb, the spectacular ice sight everywhere is also impressive.

Miyun Xiangu Ice Climbing

12.Watch an Exciting Show

Beijing is a city of culture. There are performances available every day, like the Kungfu show, music concert, acrobatic show, Peking opera, and more. Whichever you choose, you will have a great time diving into Chinese culture.

Beijing Opera

13.Sit in the Sun in a Local Park

There is a folk saying that sunbathing in winter is better than having ginseng decoction. The sun is not as warm as in other seasons, but it can bring hope and peace to mind. In a busy city like Beijing, sitting in the sun is a luxury. However, winter is a season of idleness. Imagine yourself walking quietly across the Chaoyang park, or Summer Palace, or Beihai Park, and have a sunbath.

14.Eat Some Hot Soup Dumplings

When you are cold, what do you like to eat? You may have different answers, but I recommend the Hot Soup Dumplings. They have hot soup inside, which will keep you warm in winter. Be careful not to get burnt.

Hot Soup Dumpling

15.Prepare Gifts for Christmas

In China, Christmas is mainly celebrated by young people. On Christmas Eve, tons of young Chinese come to the street and gather with their friends to celebrate. They gave gifts, have meals in restaurants, watch films, and hit bars. Christmas in Beijing may not be as ideal in your hometown; it can still be fun if you give and receive gifts.

Christmas Gifts

16.Join a Local Temple Fair

Temple fair is one of the occasions that the Chinese traditions and culture are fully unveiled. There are many temple fairs in Beijing, and the Temple of Earth Fair is one of the most famous. Held during Jan.1-7 (lunar calendar) every year, the Temple of Earth fair has themes of New Year’s shopping, sacrificial rituals, and entertainment performances. You will see people reciting classic Chinese poems, offering sacrifices to the Land God, performing Peking opera pieces, writing Chinese calligraphy, playing acrobatics, and selling all kinds of traditional snacks like sugar figure, baked sweet potatoes, and Tanghulu.

Temple Fair

17.Have Some Quiet Time in a Bookstore

Beijing is a city bearing many stories and legends. It’s hard to understand the city by just visiting the concrete buildings. You have to get to the spirit of the city by visiting the bookstores. There are many bookstores in Beijing, but the best ones are Wansheng Bookstore, Sanlian Taofen Book Center, Page One, and Kubrick.

Beijing Bookstore

18.Wander in the Old Hutongs

In recent years, Beijing has demolished many Hutongs, leaving some of them telling the old stories of the city. The areas from Dongsi Santiao to Batiao still reserve the charms of old hutongs. In winter, everything is stark; only the persimmons hanging on trees seem festive. You can start your Hutong tour with a bowl of hot seasoned millet mush in a local restaurant. Then, you can walk around the hutongs and observe the lives of locals.

Beijing Hutongs in Winter

19.Taste Sugar-fried Chestnuts

Another winter snack is the Sugar-fried Chestnuts. Beijingers love chestnuts, especially the sugar-fried chestnuts. The brown chestnuts are tossed back and forth in the black sand, creating a scorched and sweet scent. It's better to have the fried chestnuts while they are hot. The sweet and soft chestnuts will satisfy your taste bud a great deal.

Sugar-coated Chestnuts

20.Spend the New Year’s Eve in The Place

The Place has the first velarium in Asia and the second largest LED velarium in the world. Every New Year’s Eve, it holds a grand count down ceremony. You can make your new year wish under the majestic skylight.

The Place

21.Wear a Warm Coat and Go Shopping

Winter is cold, but you will never feel cold when you are shopping with friends. Beijing has a lot of modern shopping malls. All of them are equipped with air conditioners, hot water, and heaters. You won’t feel any cold.

Winter Shopping

Recommended Itineraries:

Beijing Family Day Tour: Flying Kite, Practicing Calligraphy and Visiting
Beijing Roast Duck Banquet and Acrobatic Show
Beijing Cooking Class
3 Days Beijing Discovery Tour