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Travel, Teach, Live in China

How to Time Your Trip to Beijing

Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China, and in a sense the whole country marches to Beijing's tune. As the capital of the world's oldest continuous civilization, it contains incredible cultural, historical and architectural wealth.

General Considerations

Visit during the spring or fall for the best weather. Beijing receives a great deal of rain during its hot, humid summer, particularly in July. The rest of the year is quite dry, especially the winter. Beijing's average low in January is 14 degrees F, and the average high in July is 89 degrees F.

Check for festivals, attractions and live performances.

Take care of your flight, transportation and accommodations.

Check the weather forecast shortly before leaving, and pack accordingly.

Attractions and Seasonal Events

Celebrate Chinese New Year with more than 1 billion other people. Also called te Spring Festival, this early February event features feasts, decorations, special dances and games. Everyone in China adheres to Beijing Time, so when midnight arrives firecrackers explode all across the country.

Get a map of Beijing and study its layout. You'll notice that the city is designed as three rectangles, one inside the other and perfectly symmetrical. The inner rectangle (Forbidden City) is a must-see; the middle rectangle (Imperial City) is made up of parks and luxurious homes for officials; and the outer rectangle is composed of markets and residences.

Visit the home of 24 successive emperors. The 15th-century Imperial Palace, which sits inside the Forbidden City, is filled with artifacts and surrounded by gorgeous gardens. Explore the rest of the Forbidden City, the most regal and well-preserved group of buildings in China.

Walk up the Coal Hill (Mei Shan), a lovely and lofty park with the best views of Beijing.

Commemorate the events at Tiananmen Square, but don't expect official recognition of the massacre. Surrounding the Square are several museums, parks, a zoo and Beijing University.

Study events of the past and propaganda of the present at the Chinese Revolution History Museum and the Military Museum.

Enter the enchanting world of Chinese theater. Beijing's two best theaters are the Cang'an Grand Theater and the Beijing Qianmen Hotel Liyuan Theater.

Admire the most massive wonder of the ancient world, the Great Wall of China, built 2,600 years ago to block northern attackers.

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