Top Reasons to See Beijing in Winter
Every season brings something special to Beijing. Winter, in particular, is full of delight. Many travel enthusiasts, however, only visit the city during tourist season. In doing so, they miss out on a uniquely authentic and laid-back side of Beijing. There’s a lot to love about winter in Beijing, including the following travel benefits:
1. Fewer Crowds
Peak tourist season typically hits Beijing between April and October, when the weather is often comfortable and the views are spectacular. Winter, however, sees a considerable slow-down.
While there’s no such thing as a ‘quiet’ season in Beijing, reduced tourist traffic can make a huge difference in wait times for top attractions, while also keeping crowds to a minimum. This could prove beneficial if you’re nervous about navigating the city’s busy streets.
2. A Unique Look at the Great Wall of China
The Great Wall may be gorgeous all year long, but it achieves a special kind of beauty in the winter. If you’re lucky, a layer of snow will blanket the surrounding hills, transforming the area into a true winter wonderland. If you opt to visit one of the sections of the Great Wall situated closest to the city, you may also find smaller crowds. Chinese New Year is a notable exception, as locals typically descend on Badaling for the holiday.
3. Exciting Skiing And Skating Opportunities
If you dream of exploring Beijing on skis or skates, you’ll definitely want to visit during the winter months. Beijing is home to a surprisingly vast array of outdoor recreational opportunities, including several charming ski villages and resorts. Whether you’re a beginner or a longtime ski enthusiast, you’ll love the excellent grooming and the challenges that nearby ski locations provide.
If you prefer a low-key experience, stop in at one of the city’s many open-air or indoor skating rinks. Outdoor skating, in particular, is enjoyable in Beijing, as many of the city’s top destinations provide spectacular views. The Kunming Lake Skate Rink at the renowned Summer Palace is especially worth checking out.
4. Authentic Local Experience
As tourist season dies down, locals settle into their normal routines. As a result, a winter visit will grant you a better idea of what it is actually like to live and work in Beijing. When you visit top attractions during the off-season, you’ll encounter fewer tourists and more locals, many of whom are willing to interact on a personal basis.
5. Festivals And Temple Fairs
Beijing takes on a decidedly festive atmosphere in January and February, when several of the city’s best events are scheduled. These special occasions grant you an inside look at the region’s prized traditions. Temple fairs are especially worth observing. Also referred to as miaohui or yíngshén sàihuì, these traditional gatherings take place at the city’s most notable temples, where locals visit to pray for good fortune — and to have fun.
Be sure to add the following events to your itinerary:
- Lantern Festival
- Spring Festival (also known as Chinese New Year)
- Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival
- Ditan Park Temple Fair
- Longtan Temple Fair
6. Off-Peak Hotel Rates
If you’re determined to visit Beijing on a budget, you’ll find this goal most within reach during the winter, when several hotels offer significant discounts in hopes of attracting off-season tourists. Conversely, you may encounter sky-high rates during the peak of the tourist season — if you’re able to find vacancies at all. During the winter, it’s shockingly easy to score luxury accommodations for a fraction of the usual price. Take advantage of this exciting opportunity to pamper yourself and your loved ones.
No matter when you visit Beijing, you will encounter a thriving city filled with awe-inspiring attractions, mouthwatering cuisine, and friendly locals. On or off-season, this vibrant destination is definitely worth checking out.
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