Part of the Forbidden City during the Qing Dynasty, this 10th-century park is one of China’s oldest, largest, and most important ancient imperial gardens. Situated in the center of Beijing, the 171-acre (69-hectare) garden features a temple, bell and drum towers, a white pagoda, pavilions, lakes, and the intricate Nine-Dragon Wall.
Visiting Beihai Park is akin to taking a crash course in Imperial Chinese history and culture, and with its central location in the city’s Xicheng District, it’s easy to visit. Though the park is no longer part of the Imperial City, a boat ride here is often included in tours of the Palace Museum. Combine your visit to the park with a tour of the Temple of Heaven, Lama Temple, or Jingshan Park, or capture a memorable photo by donning a traditional Hanfu costume during a guided walk through the gardens.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Beihai Park is a must-visit for history buffs, gardeners, and families.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
- Nearly all of Beihai Park is wheelchair accessible, with the exception of the hill.
- Give yourself about two hours to tour the park’s gardens and attractions.
How to Get There
Beihai Park is located next to the Forbidden City and is easily accessible by public transportation. Take one of several public buses to Beihai or Beihai Beimen, or take subway Line 6 to Beihai Bei and leave through Exit B.
When to Get There
The park is open daily throughout the year, with slightly shorter hours during the winter (November to March). Plan to visit on a weekday morning, when the gardens and attractions are less crowded, and avoid visiting on Chinese national holidays.
The White Dagoba
One of the park’s many unique features is a Tibetan dagoba, or shrine, built in 1651 by the first emperor of the Qing Dynasty to demonstrate a desire for unification among China’s many ethnic groups. The shrine has since been twice destroyed and rebuilt. Perched atop the highest point in the park, it offers some of the best panoramic views of the surroundings.