The Forbidden City is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in Beijing, and in fact, the whole of China. For hundreds of years, only the royal entourage was allowed to enter through the formidable walls, which is why the complex earned the name “Forbidden City.” Since 1925, its opulent plazas have been open to the public, attracting millions of tourists each year.
Surrounded by a moat and a high wall with corner watchtowers, this vast complex of ancient wooden palaces and religious structures was once a residence for Chinese emperors. Now managed by the Palace Museum, the authentic buildings, antique collections and manicured gardens within the compound are carefully preserved.
Most visitors spend at least half a day in the vast Forbidden City. Enter through the Gate of Heavenly Peace and pick up a map or digital audio tour at the ticketing office. Browse the expansive site with nearly a 1,000 structures yourself, or hire a reputable guide.
See if you can spot the architectural influences of many different cultures and enter the old halls and pavilions to find precious artifacts. See rare bronze objects, old paintings and everyday household items, which give you insight into what life was like behind these imperial walls.
You can’t miss the extravagant five-arch Meridian Gate and the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the largest among the many grand and lavishly decorated ceremonial halls in the complex. To end your visit, stroll through the Imperial Garden and exit through the Gate of Divine Might.
Located in the heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City is easy to reach on foot, or by bike or public transport. The subway Tian'anmen East and West stations are close to the South Gate. A city bus circles the complex on the outside, so you can get from one side to the other in a short time. Visit on a weekday if you want to avoid large crowds.
Located in Downtown Beijing, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Jingshan Park and Forbidden City. Beihai Park and Tiananmen are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing Hotel is a modern oasis, ideal for both leisure and business guests. Centrally located in the heart of Beijing's bustling and developing cultural, commercial, business and entertainment district, the hotel is within walking distance of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
Located in Downtown Beijing, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St. Joseph's Cathedral and Wangfujing Street. Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Regent Beijing is designed in a classic yet contemporary style. The 500 luxurious guestrooms and suites are spacious and boast modern features and stylish amenities.
In the heart of Beijing, this contemporary boutique hotel is about an 8-minute walk from the east side of the Forbidden City, as well as the Wangfujing shopping hub. A metro station is 300 meters away.
Located in Downtown Beijing, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of National Museum of China and Tiananmen Square. Tiananmen and Chairman Mao Memorial Hall are also within 15 minutes.
Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tiananmen and Tiananmen Square. China Museum of History and Wangfujing Street are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Situated in the heart of Beijing, within walking distance of The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, Grand Hyatt Beijing is part of the Oriental Plaza – one of China’s largest commercial complexes – with direct access to the adjacent shopping mall.