Gong Wang Fu is one of the best preserved imperial mansions in Beijing, and about half of it is open to the public. Of particular interest are the 7-acre (28,000-square-meter) traditional Chinese ornamental gardens, filled with pavilions, ponds and winding paths. A stage in the middle of the garden hosts Beijing opera and orchestral performances throughout the day.
For anyone interested in Qing architecture, a stop at Gong Wang Fu is a necessity. Since it’s a wildly popular attraction for domestic tourists, try to plan your visit first thing in the morning when the ticket office opens so you’ll have a chance to enjoy the gardens in peace before the buses pull up.