How to spend a hot day in Beijing

By Madeline Hamiter
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 20, 2017

Editor's note: An American intern with set about exploring Beijing on a very hot day this week. As a first-time visitor to the city, she went to some of Beijing's best-known sites while somehow managing to get away from the heat.

A bird's eye view of the Forbidden City from the summit of Jingshan Park on June 14, 2017. [Photo by Zhang Jiaqi/]

Beijing is a beautiful city, and every year millions of domestic and foreign tourists flock to its streets to explore the rich Chinese history around nearly every corner. The best time to visit the city is during the spring and the fall, when the weather is pleasant and mild. Unfortunately, summer is the most convenient time to travel, especially for many foreigners; yet, summer temperatures can easily soar to become unbearably hot, so that many visitors do their best to find ways to escape the oppressive heat.

The morning is often the coolest part of the day, so any unavoidably hot activities should be scheduled first thing. A great morning activity is to hike up to the summit of Jingshan Park, which is a royal garden located near the North Gate of the Forbidden City. The park is filled with many interesting flora and architectural gems waiting to be discovered. There are often public exercise classes filled with local women dancing in time with the music while waving traditional Chinese fans and colorful scarves.

There are a lot of stairs on the way to the summit, so be prepared for a good work out. If you are willing to put in the effort, however, the view from the top is worth it. The summit of Jingshan hill is the highest point in central Beijing, which means that it is the best place to get a panoramic view of the surrounding cityscape and a unique bird's eye view of the Forbidden City.

After spending the morning exploring Jingshan Park and taking in the view, there are plenty of great lunch spots nearby. Anything from a casual bowl of Zha Jiang Mian (fried sauce noodles) to a full-fledged feast featuring the famous Peking duck is available; just make sure the restaurant has air conditioning!

The afternoon is normally the hottest part of the day, so it's important to choose an activity accordingly. Beijing is a city bursting with activities, and there are many indoor options including the National Museum of China, colossal shopping malls, and famous art galleries, all offering welcome air conditioning. For those who are itching to explore the outdoors, Beihai Park is also a great option. It is only a few steps away from Jingshan Park, so it's a perfect spot to visit to work off that good lunch.

Beihai Park is one of the oldest and best preserved ancient imperial gardens. It is so beautiful, with ancient willow trees framing a gently rippling lake. In July, the lotus flowers floating on the lake surface are in full bloom, blanketing the park with delicate pink blossoms. There are plenty of peaceful, shady spots to be found throughout the park, perfect for curling up with a good book or just contemplating the peaceful scene. A cool breeze coming off the water is very refreshing in the stagnant afternoon air.

A popular activity is to rent a paddle boat to explore the tranquil lake at the heart of the park. However, if that sounds too much like hard work, there are also traditional boats available that require minimum effort. A perfect way to relax is to discover the lake while lying back under a shaded covering and listening to the sound of the waves lapping on the hull of the boat. After spending a lazy afternoon soaking up the beautiful scenery, a great way to spend the evening is through exploring a few of the famous Beijing Hutongs. The Nanluoguxiang Hutong is only a short bike ride away from Beihai Park. Biking through the city wafted by a cool breeze is an excellent way to explore the city on a more intimate level. It's better than taking a taxi or the subway, because it is much easier to make quick pit stops to take photos, get interesting glimpses of daily life in Beijing, or grab some ice-cold refreshments. There are plenty of cold drinks vendors and little shops on the roadside. Don't forget to try some traditional Beijing ice cream!

Exploring the Nanluoguxiang Hutong, which is one of the oldest in Beijing, is a great way to spend the evening. There are numerous shops filled with unique souvenirs and luxury items. There are also plenty of restaurants, cafés, and small shops offering snacks to nibble. It's easy to spend an evening exploring all the different flavors of the streets, never knowing what you might stumble upon next. Spending time in a Hutong is also a great way to experience Beijing nightlife. Houhai, another Hutong that is directly North of Tian'anmen Square, is famous for its many bars and clubs, for example.

Of course, this is just one sample of how to spend a hot day in Beijing. Even on a day with sweltering heat, there is so much to explore and discover in Beijing that it becomes easier to ignore the heat and one can never really get bored.

1   2   3   4   5   Next  

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from