When you say family travel perhaps Beijing isn’t the first destination that comes to mind. But with its unique history, culture and amazing food it does have a lot to offer for a family traveller. Here we round up our top things to do in Beijing with kids as well as give you top tips and advice for having a successful trip to the city with kids!
Updated: September 2019
Top Things to do In Beijing with Kids
The Great Wall of China
One of the reasons I think many people decide to go to China is to visit the Great Wall of China. This was certainly the impetus for us when we were booking our trip to Beijing. The Great Wall of China is easy to reach from Beijing (depending on which part of the wall you are travelling to).
We decided to visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall when we visited Beijing with kids. One of the reasons we decided to visit this section of the wall is because it is quite close to Beijing – only about a 90 minute drive – obviously traffic dependent but it isn’t quite as busy as the other close section to Beijing – Badaling. We were also visiting the Great Wall of China in Winter so definitely wanted a more accessible location.
But on top of that there are loads of family friendly things to do at Mutianyu such as being able to take a cable car up the wall and take a toboggan ride back down.
Please note that while there aren’t toilets on the wall there are in the town below as well as Western dining options – who would have thought there would be a Burger King at the bottom of the Great Wall of China!
For a full guide on how to visit the Great Wall of China with kids check out our post.
Although visiting the Great Wall of China can be on your own I would personally advise taking a guided tour. We used Great Wall Hiking when we went to Mutianyu and our guide was fantastic with our toddler. However there are plenty of options for group yours and private tours depending on your budget.
Visit The Forbidden City With Kids
Probably the second thing on people’s Beijing China Bucket List after the Great Wall is visiting the Forbidden City. But what is it like visiting the Forbidden City with Kids?
Now I am going to be honest, the Forbidden City isn’t the most family friendly thing you can do in Beijing. One of the main reasons being the size. The Forbidden City is absolutely huge and little legs will tire very quickly touring the Forbidden City. If you are contemplating bringing a stroller or carrier and are on the fence I would say definitely bring it.
I would say there isn’t anything specifically for kids at Beijing Forbidden Palace so you may need to think about how you are going to engage your kids here.
A highlight of the Forbidden City is the Imperial Garden.
The other thing to be aware of when visiting the forbidden city with kids is that the queues here can be HUGE. I have never seen a queue the size of the one we saw at the forbidden city on a public holiday in China. So my top tip for visiting the Forbidden city with kids is be sure to book your tickets online in advance.
Note about visiting Forbidden City Beijing with a baby: If you are visiting Beijing with a baby please note that the Forbidden City/Palace Museum is cobbled so make sure your stroller can handle cobbles or take a carrier with you.
What is there in Tiananmen Square for kids?
I will be honest there is not much in Tiananmen Square for kids and it can get busy and is very large. It is close to the Forbidden City so geographically it can be combined with it however the distances you will be walking might make small kids very tired.
Top Tip: Don’t take a big bag with you as it isn’t allowed and remember to bring along your passport
If you are looking for things to with kids in Beijing then you must put Chaoyang Park on your Beijing itinerary. Whenever I travel with my little one I always want to find a good park to let her go play and blow off some steam. One of the best parks in central Beijing is Chaoyang Park. There is a lot of space here for kids to run which Beijing can be otherwise lacking and it is also a popular place to go and fly a kite.
If you are visiting Beijing in summer then you can also rent boats here which is another sure fire win with kids.
Jingshan Park – one of the best things in Beijing for kids
Another park you may want to consider adding to your Beijing itinerary with kids is Jingshan Park. Jingshan Park is just north of the Forbidden City and if your legs aren’t too tired can be visited after your trip to the Forbidden city and is another great place to blow off steam with kids in Beijing. This is probably one of the best places Beijing for kids in particular.
Explore Hutongs –
Hutongs are a must whenever you visit Beijing but I will be honest they can be a bit confusing. If you have chance I recommend getting a guide to find the best family places in the Hutongs.
Visit the Zoo
If you are looking for what to do in Beijing with kids then the zoo definitely has to be on your list. Before having kids visiting a zoo was not my idea of a good travel day however now I have a toddler zoos are always high on our travel list. Beijing Zoo is a sure fire hit with kids especially to see the pandas that it is famous for. This has to be one of the best things to do in Beijing for kids of any ages but toddlers will particularly love this.
Eat Peking Duck
Eating Peking Duck is a must for any China Bucket List especially if you are travelling to Beijing. There are loads of Peking Duck restaurants around the city that offer a great experience and tradition. As we were limited on town and it had such a good reputation we decided to eat Peking Duck at our hotel restaurant – Made in China at the Grand Hyatt Beijing and I have to say it did not disappoint. My little girl also really enjoyed the spectacle of the meal. The only problem is now I am not sure I can go back to eating Western takeaway Peking Duck!
This in my opinion is one of the best things to do in Beijing with family as it is one of the best food and drink experiences in Beijing that the whole family will enjoy.
What to do in Beijing with kids if you have more time
- Visit the Summer Palace
- Visit the Drum and Bell Tower
- Temple of Heaven
Where to Stay in Beijing with Kids
More than in other places we’ve stayed, having a good hotel is essential in Beijing. The city can be overwhelming for littles and the air quality can mean that you may be confined to your hotel for periods – you can read more of our tips for dealing with the Beijing pollution here.
When travelling to Beijing with kids it is important to have a hotel with good access to amenities and indoor activities as well as being in close proximity to the main tourist sites.
Our recommendation for families traveling to Beijing with kids is to head to the luxurious and exceptionally family friendly Grand Hyatt Beijing!
You can read our full review here
Other things to consider when visiting Beijing with Kids
As alluded to above the main concern for lots of people – parents or not – travelling to Beijing is the air pollution! Travelling with an asthmatic and a child this was our biggest concern. There are lots of apps that can tell you about the pollution hourly which we recommend downloading!
For full information check out our post on dealing with Beijing air pollution
How To Get Around Beijing with Kids
There are lots of ways of exploring the city with kids. We chose our hotel so we could explore a lot of the city by foot and took a private excursion out to the Wall. However if you want to use public transport you can use
The Beijing Metro covers the whole city but doesn’t cut down on walking too much. Not all stations are accessible if you are planning on using a stroller in Beijing. New stations and lines have elevators but not the older ones.
Also, the Metro can get VERY busy. It serves 10 million people a day and can feel like it. If you are travelling with young children to Beijing it may be quite overwhelming for these.
But on the plus side using the Metro is very cheap.
When I travel I always take a car seat with me. For this reason we didn’t use the taxi when we were sightseeing in Beijing.
I had read online before we went to Beijing that not all taxis would be set up to take car seats so rather than risk this we organised private transfers via Black Lane to get us to and from the airport which I was pleased we did.
What are your top tips and recommendations for visiting Beijing with kids? What are your top things to do in Beijing with kids?