Located 9 miles (15 kilometers) from central Beijing, this World Heritage Site is a popular tourist attraction. The Summer Palace is a breathtaking display of ancient art and architecture, lush royal gardens and amazing views. The Palace consists of numerous pavilions, towers, bridges and corridors and the gardens are some of the best preserved in China. First built in the Qing Dynasty in 1750 and known as the Garden of Clear Ripples, the Palace was almost completely destroyed in the war of 1860 and was restored in 1886. The Summer Palace is also known for its impressive 17-arch bridge and the Long Corridor decorated with brightly-colored paintings.
The Palace Museum, which is now the largest museum in China, was once the home of 24 different emperors. It is located in the center of Beijing and the Forbidden city. With 70 halls and 9,000 rooms, it is hard to imagine being able to see all of the museum's treasures in one trip. This incredible establishment offers up a journey through China's history and is a must-see during your stay in Beijing. Check out the museum's website for an extensive virtual tour of their pieces, which range from calligraphy to furniture; doing so may help you to determine which parts of this huge museum you would most like to spend your time in during your visit.
Located near the National Library of China, the Purple Bamboo Park, sometimes called Black Bamboo Park, is a traditionally landscaped garden. As the name suggests, the garden has a large variety of bamboo, more than 50 species all together, with the most prominent being the black bamboo. It covers an area of 14 hectares (34.5 acres), including three lakes and two small islands on the lakes. Five arched bridges connect the lakes, isles and main garden area and there are scattered corridors and pavilions throughout.
Altogether fun and educational, the Chinese Science and Technology Museum has some great hands-on exhibits dealing with electricity, gravity and all your favorite science experiments. Within the large Historical Exhibits hall you can learn about the lives of scientists, and see monthly exhibits, shows and displays. A giant circular screen shows films about evolution, modern science and space exploration.
While the National Center for the Performing Arts may be this building's official title, almost everyone refers to it as "The Giant Egg". When looking at this shiny, oval building, it is no wonder why this is so. The 12,000 square meter building was designed by French architect Paul Andreu and was completed in 2007. The exterior features titanium-edged glass plates that reflect in the man-made lake that completely surrounds the building. The Giant Egg houses an opera hall, a music hall, and a theater hall. Visitors can explore this modern architectural wonder on guided tours, or take in a show during the evening.
Situated in the heart of the capital, the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) is one of the largest art museums in the nation. It is dedicated to exhibiting, collecting and researching modern and contemporary Chinese art. The museum was constructed between 1958 and 1962, and renovated in 2004 through 2005. Spread over an area of 30,000 square meters, it is divided into 21 exhibition halls, NAMOC has a collection of over 100,000 ancient and contemporary Chinese and Western artworks, including folk arts, puppets, kites, embroidery and lacquer ware.