Beijing Neighbourhoods, Locations and Districts
Beijing is made up of more than a dozen central districts and a handful of counties. Tourists visiting the city of Beijing will have little need to stray from the central areas, where all the main attractions are located.
The Imperial Palace Museum and Tiananmen Square lie at the centre of the city, with several surrounding districts being of interest to visitors.
Chong Wen District
In the south of the city, most visitors will pay a visit to this district to visit the Temple of Heaven and Hong Qiao Market. You can just about buy anything you want in this commercial district, with the Qian Men shopping area housing some of the city's oldest stores.
Dong Cheng District
This is the heart of the city and home to iconic landmarks such as Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Mao's Mausoleum. Most of the main attractions can be covered on foot and accommodation in this zone is plentiful. As the more 'touristy' area of Beijing, you will find ample souvenir outlets and eateries catering to Western palates. Shopping aficionados can head for the Wang Fu Jing Shopping district.
Hai Dian District
Also known as the university district, this north-westerly area houses Beijing and Qinghua universities. The huge student population ensures a trendy and arty character, with plenty of places to eat and shop, jam-packed with aspiring young Chinese. You will also find numerous mid-range hotels and guesthouses here, as well as the luxurious Shangri-La.
Jian Guo Men Wai District
Centred on Jian Guo Men Wai Avenue, this part of Beijing draws a mix of foreigners and locals, as well as businessmen. Characterised by its busy streets, which are always full of activity, many visitors choose to stay in this area amongst the hustle and bustle, in order to be close to the city's attractions. Several major hotels are located here, within proximity to some of Beijing's top landmarks, as are some popular shopping areas, such as Silk Alley. There are also a number of business-oriented hotels, the most well-known being China World Hotel. The embassy district of Rin Tan borders Jian Guo Men Wai, being known for its tree-lined boulevards and park.
San Li Tun District
To the north of Jian Guo Men Wai, this is one of Beijing's main entertainment areas, boasting a quality selection of bars and pubs that cater to tourists. San Li Tun North and South streets are the focal points, where you can while away the hours sitting on sidewalk patios, watching Beijing life go by. There are enough shops here to keep you busy, with everything from Tibetan handicrafts to counterfeit designer goods at San Li Tun Market. Those who enjoy dancing can hit the district's top nightclubs.
Wang Fu Jing District
Known as a shopping haven in Beijing, the main Wang Fu Jing Road is mostly closed to traffic, allowing locals and visitors alike to crowd the shops and malls. Recently renovated, the area offers modern shopping at the Sun Dong An Plaza, alongside more traditional treats at Wang Fu Jing Night Market, a hunting ground for hungry travellers. This is also a popular place to stay, with the district being home to several upmarket hotels, most of which also offer first-class restaurants. Beijing's Wang Fu Jing District is chic, but also quite pricey.