Stay in Style: The Best Locations to Stay in Beijing


Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Great Wall of China

Explore Beijing from The Ideal Home Base!

Planning a trip to Beijing but unsure of where to stay?

With so many neighborhoods to choose from, it can be overwhelming.

Here are a few factors to consider when deciding on the best area to stay in Beijing:

  1. >Travel companions: traveling alone is different from traveling with family. Finding a balance between everyone’s preferences is essential.
  2. Budget: decide whether you want to stay in a budget-friendly hotel/hostel in Hutong or opt for a luxury hotel in central Beijing.
  3. Modern vs. traditional hotels: do you prefer traditional Hutong Courtyard hotels or contemporary Western chains?
  4. Activities: do you love crowds and nightlife in Sanlitun or the peace and quiet of old Hutong?
  5. Transportation: consider how you will get around. Choose an area with convenient access to your planned activities.

Make your trip to Beijing a memorable one by finding the perfect neighborhood to stay in.

7 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Beijing

Luckily, we’ve narrowed down the top seven neighborhoods to help you find the perfect spot for your stay.

From shopping to nightlife to history, there’s something for everyone.

Check out our quick summary below and read on for more detailed descriptions of each neighborhood.

Quick Summary–7 Best Areas to Stay in Beijing

For those in a rush, here’s a quick summary. For detailed descriptions, keep reading:

  1. Wangfujing – Best for first-timers/families
  2. Qianmen – Best on a budget
  3. Xidan – Best for shopping
  4. Houhai – Best for romantics
  5. Nanluoguxiang – Best for food and restaurants
  6. Gulou – Best for a local vibe
  7. Sanlitun – Best for nightlife
best-location-to-stay-in-beijing Wangfujing

Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Great Wall of China

1: Wangfujing-Best Place to Stay in Beijing for First-Timers

The best place to stay in Beijing for first-time visitors is the Wangfujing neighborhood.

While central Beijing hotels can be expensive, staying outside the city center may end up costing you more in time and transportation.

Wangfujing is within walking distance of major tourist attractions, such as Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, making it easy to explore.

Additionally, the area has a variety of hotel options, from budget-friendly to luxurious.

Wangfujing Street, one of Beijing’s most famous shopping streets, is 1.5 km long and has plenty of shopping options.

For families, Wangfujing is perfect, offering attractions for all ages.

However, finding a taxi during weekdays can be a challenge.

wangfujing street
wangfujing street

Recommended Places to Stay in Wangfujing

Fancy Option: The Peninsula Beijing – Want to feel fancy in Beijing? The Peninsula has it all: super comfy rooms, yummy food, and even a spa to relax in! It’s like a fancy vacation spot right in the city. ($250-500/night)

Middle Option: Sunworld Dynasty Hotel – Right in the busy Wangfujing area, this hotel is the perfect mix of fun and rest. You get cool room views, tasty local food, and people ready to help anytime. Plus, the views are awesome! ($100-250/night)

Budget PickHutong Courtyard Beijing  – Stay in a cool old part of Beijing without spending a lot! This hotel feels like the old times but is still comfy. The best part? It’s super close to the famous Forbidden City and costs only $30-70 a night!

best area to stay in Beijing Qianmen street

Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Great Wall of China

2: Qianmen – Best Place to Stay in Beijing on a Budget

For budget travelers looking to stay in the heart of Beijing, Qianmen is the perfect neighborhood.

Once a famous red-light district during the Qing Dynasty, Qianmen now offers affordable accommodations, traditional snack stalls, global brand stores, Peking duck restaurants, and hidden bookstores in old hutongs and courthouses.

Qianmen is the historic center of Beijing and offers a mix of old and new, calm and energetic.

Visitors can enjoy walking along the iconic Qianmen Avenue and exploring cultural and historical attractions such as

  • the Forbidden City,
  • Tiananmen Square,
  • and the Temple of Heaven.

From backpacker hostels to boutique hotels, there is something for all travelers and budgets in this bustling neighborhood.

qianmen street

Recommended Places to Stay in Qianmen

Fancy OptionBeijing Qianmen Jianguo Hotel – Want to stay near the famous Qianmen street? This hotel is perfect! It feels both old and new, and everything is just so fancy. Get ready to feel like a star! ($200-450/night)

Middle OptionJi Hotel (Beijing Qianmen Courtyard) – Imagine living in an old Beijing home but with cool, new stuff. That’s this hotel! Plus, it’s super close to Qianmen Street, so there’s lots to see and do. Perfect for exploring and having fun! ($100-200/night)

Budget PickHyde Courtyard Hotel – On a budget? No problem! This hotel feels like old-timey Beijing but is still super cozy. You can relax, eat yummy food, and it doesn’t cost much. What a deal at $30-60 a night!

qianmen street

Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Great Wall of China

3: Xidan – Best Place to Stay in Beijing For Shopping

If you’re a shopaholic looking for a place to stay in Beijing, Xidan is the neighborhood for you.

This commercial hub offers an extensive street filled with shopping malls, boutiques, and clothing stores, featuring both fast fashion and classic international brands like Zara, H&M, and DKNY.

You can also find locally manufactured garments and accessories at affordable prices.

Beyond shopping, Xidan has a lot to offer in terms of dining and entertainment.

From trendy cafes to traditional restaurants, you’ll find a wide range of culinary options.

And if you’re interested in exploring the area’s history and culture, you can visit the nearby Xidan Cultural Square or the Great Hall of the People.

Accommodation options in Xidan are also plentiful, ranging from modest hotels to budget-friendly hostels.

Plus, the neighborhood’s central location puts it just two kilometers away from major attractions like Tiananmen Square, making it an ideal base for your Beijing adventure.

xidan street
qianmen street

Recommended Places to Stay in Xidan

Fancy OptionThe Ritz-Carlton Beijing Financial Street – Feel like a king or queen in this plush hotel! It’s more than a bed; it’s a royal experience. Be in the center of Beijing’s busy scene and enjoy awesome services. ($300-550/night)

Middle OptionPan Pacific Beijing – A comfy stay and fun adventures? This hotel has both! Be super close to Xidan’s shopping fun. And the food? It’s top-notch! ($150-300/night)

Budget PickBeijing Fuyou Street Hotel (Xidan Branch) – Want Xidan fun without spending a lot? This place is perfect! Feel at home, make new friends, and be close to cool spots. Perfect for shoppers and explorers. ($40-90/night)

xidan street

Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Great Wall of China

4: Houhai – Best Place to stay in Beijing for Romantics

Looking for a romantic destination in Beijing? Look no further than Houhai, also known as ‘rear lake.’

This tranquil area is perfect for couples and honeymooners, offering a peaceful oasis in the midst of the bustling capital.

Houhai is famous for its picturesque scenery, with serene waters and willow trees lining the banks of the lake.

But there’s more to this area than just pretty views.

Houhai is also home to a variety of unique shops, traditional tea houses, cafes, and cocktail lounges, making it an ideal destination for couples who want to slow down and enjoy each other’s company.

While there aren’t many must-see sights in Houhai, that only adds to the sense of exclusivity and intimacy.

Instead, the focus is on enjoying the natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere.

Activities such as paddle boating, diving, fishing, kite flying, and winter ice skating are available on the lake, providing plenty of opportunities for fun and romance.

For a truly unforgettable experience, consider spending Valentine’s Day or your honeymoon in Houhai.

Whether you’re strolling along the water, people-watching, or sipping tea in a cozy tea house, Houhai is the perfect place to enjoy some quality time together.

Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Great Wall of China

Recommended Places to Stay in Houhai & Gulou & Nanluoguxiang

Fancy OptionAncient City Old Courtyard Boutique Hotel – Ever dreamt of a royal sleepover in old Beijing? This hotel’s for you! It’s like a trip back in time, but with all the plush beds and fun gadgets we love today. Explore cool streets during the day and snooze like royalty at night! ($250-500/night)

Middle OptionCitiGO Hotel Nanluoguxiang Beijing – Picture this: A hotel that feels like old Beijing on the outside and super modern on the inside. You’re just a hop, skip, and jump away from cool old streets known as hutongs. Oh, and did I mention? The food here is mouth-wateringly local! ($100-250/night)

Budget PickPeking Youth Hostel – Looking for a pocket-friendly stay? Here you go! Dive into Beijing’s past without spending a lot. Everything you need, from comfy beds to fun nearby spots, is right here. And all for $30-80 a night!

houhai lake area
qianmen street

5: Nanluoguxiang – Best Place to stay in Beijing for Food and Restaurants

Best location to stay in Beijing Nanluoguxiang area

Nanluoguxiang is the ultimate destination for foodies and night owls alike.

With a rich history dating back 700 years, this lively and walkable area is home to some of the best restaurants in Beijing.

The famous Ghost Street, just two kilometers away, is a must-visit spot for delicious nighttime eats.

Subway line 6 makes it easy to explore this area, with the Beixinqiao station conveniently located near Ghost Street.

Traditional courtyards, red lanterns, and hundreds of restaurants line the 1.5km-long street, offering Sichuan-style spicy crayfish, Peking duck, and much more.

Staying in Nanluoguxiang gives you the perfect opportunity to indulge in a variety of Chinese cuisines and experience the vibrant nightlife of Beijing.

best location to stay in Beijing Drum tower area

Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Great Wall of China

6: Gulou – Best Place to Stay in Beijing for a Local Vibe

Gulou, meaning “drum tower,” is the perfect neighborhood for visitors looking for an authentic Beijing experience.

This area is a haven of historic alleys and traditional courtyards that represent the city’s “real life.”

Gulou is the ideal mix of independent shops, neighborhood markets, and popular eateries that attract both locals and tourists.

It’s a fantastic place to wander and feel like you’ve traveled back in time.

On pleasant days, you can mingle with the locals at the nearby lake.

Although it’s becoming increasingly trendy, Gulou still maintains its authentic local vibe.

Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Great Wall of China

7: Sanlitun – Best Place to Stay in Beijing for Nightlife

Sanlitun is the perfect neighborhood for tourists looking for a vibrant nightlife scene.

The area is home to an eclectic mix of luxury boutiques, hipster coffee shops, upscale restaurants, and craft beer bars.

You can even catch live music or film screenings at some venues.

While Sanlitun can get crowded on weekends, it’s worth it to experience the party vibe that permeates the neighborhood.

It’s also a great place to explore different cuisines, as many ethnic communities call Sanlitun home.

For those looking for a hip and international atmosphere, Sanlitun is the coolest part of Beijing to stay in. Just be sure to do your research and prioritize the places that interest you the most.

sanlitun area
qianmen street

Recommended Places to Stay in Sanlitun

Fancy OptionThe Opposite House – Step into luxury here! This hotel is all about awesome design and cozy feels. After exploring, coming back to this place is like a dream come true! ($280-550/night)

Middle OptionBEI Zhaolong Hotel, JdV by Hyatt – The best of both worlds: cool modern touches with a hint of old Beijing. Stay in the middle of all the fun. And their food? A must-try — so yummy! ($150-320/night)

Budget PickBeijing’S First Platinum County Self-Service Apartment – Get the most bang for your buck right in the city center! It’s like your own home, packed with everything you need. Close to all the cool Sanlitun places, it’s a top pick for longer visits and exploring. ($40-95/night)

qianmen street

Best Places to Visit in Beijing

Beijing is one of my absolute favorite cities in the world. Below are my favorite sights in the absolute city center.

  1. Tiananmen or Tiananmen Square –  This is clearly one of the most visited sights in Beijing.  Having your picture taken in front of Tiananmen Square is as much a must for Chinese families. In 1949, the late Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the Chinese People’s Republic on the Square.
  2. Mao Zedong Mausoleum – built in 1977 to honor the great leader of the Communist Party, you can see the preserved body of Chairman Mao Zedong. Visiting Mao Zedong Mausoleum is an unforgettable experience of a lifetime!
  3. Great Hall of the People – The Great Hall of the People was built in 1959. State guests are received and state celebrations are held in this sacred hall.
  4. Chinese National Museum – to learn more about China’s history, a visit to this museum is worthwhile.
  5. National Theater – Just a few meters west of Tiananmen is the National Theater. It was completed in 2007 and is famous for its futuristic architecture.
  6. Zhengyangmen or Qianmen Gate – The Zhengyangmen Gate is a magnificent city gate. This was the main gate of the Inner City in both the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 to 1911 A.D). Only the Emperor was allowed to pass through this passageway on his way to the Temple of Heaven.
  7. The Forbidden Citythe largest palace complex in the world. The imperial family resided here and the common people were forbidden to enter, so it’s called Forbidden City. From 1406 to 1420 a million workers and 100,000 artisans were employed to build this huge palace complex. For a long time, no building in Beijing was allowed to be higher than the Forbidden City. You should spend several hours exploring this sight.
  8. Temple of Heavena temple complex built in 1420. The emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties prayed for a good harvest once a year. It is a masterpiece of Chinese architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entire complex is larger than the Forbidden City.
  9. Summer Palace – one of the largest and most beautiful Chinese landscape parks in Beijing. This was completed in 1750. Emperors could relax on summer days to escape the hot summer in Beijing.
  10. The Great Wall of China – one of the most famous sights in all of China. You can reach the most popular part of the Great Wall – Mutianyu – from Beijing in about 90 minutes. A little less well-known, but still on the tourist radar, is the Jinshanling and Jiankou section of the Wall. For those who are interested in night tours of Beijing, visiting Badaling Great Wall at night brings you a unique experience. Both private tours and group tours are available to see Badaling Great Wall at night.
  11. Drum Tower and Bell Tower – built in 1272 and served, among other things, to tell the time. The morning was announced from the Bell Tower with a chime, while the evening was signaled from the Drum Tower with a drumbeat. You should visit the two adjacent lakes of Qianhai and Houhai nearby if time permits.
  12. Beijing opera – Peking opera has existed for about 200 years. It mixes many artistic elements such as singing, dancing, acrobatics, performing arts, and martial arts. Watching Beijing opera is a great way to learn about local culture.

Map of 7 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Beijing

Stay Near a Subway or Train Station in Beijing

Although exploring Beijing on foot is enjoyable, the city’s vastness makes it almost impossible.

Luckily, Beijing has an efficient and extensive subway system.

It is the fastest, most efficient, and cheapest way to travel around the city.

Staying in hotels within walking distance of major subway/train stations is highly recommended to save time, money, and energy.

The subway system is easy to navigate, allowing you to explore Beijing’s top seven neighborhoods by subway, no matter where you make your base.

  • Line 1 is one of the most convenient lines in Beijing for tourists as it crosses Tiananmen Square, Xidan, Wangfujing, and the military museum. You can quickly get to National Grand Theater, Forbidden City, Qianmen, and Wangfujing Street from Tiananmen Square. It is a heavily used line because it crosses Beijing from west to east.
  • Line 2 serves important stations, particularly for tourists, such as Yonghe Lamasery Temple, Drum & Bell Towers, Qianmen Street, Houhai, and Ghost Street. It’s a good idea to pick a hotel within 5 minutes’ walking distance of a subway or train station in the central area of Beijing, which is bounded by the circular Loop Line 2.
  • Line 4 will take you to key spots like the Summer Palace, Yuanmingyuan Park, Beijing Zoo (Panda House), Xidan, and Peking University. Line 4 runs across Beijing from northwest to southeast.
  • Line 5 serves these three famous stations the Temple of Heaven, Nanluogu Xiang, and the National Art Museum of China. It crosses​​ Beijing from north to south.
  • Line 8 passes by Olympic National Stadium (Bird’s Nest), Gulou, Shichahai, Nanluoguxiang, and National Art Museum. It was created exclusively for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
  • Line 10 mainly serves Sanlitun Bar Street (Tuanjiehu station), Agriculture Exhibition Center, and Guomao (Beijing Central business district). It’s the longest subway loop line in Beijing.

Is Beijing Safe For Tourists?

In short, Beijing is a safe destination for visitors. The city boasts a low crime rate, and tourists can rely on the friendly and vigilant police force to keep them protected.

However, it is still advisable for visitors to exercise caution and take safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

With that said, let’s take a closer look at why Beijing is considered one of the safest big cities globally and what measures tourists can take to stay safe

How Many Days Do You Need in Beijing?

3-5 days in Beijing is the perfect amount if it’s your first visit. It is also the best compromise when considering time, budget, and the number of attractions.

You can spend two days in Beijing, but it’s cutting it close–and you’ll need to come back again.

It’s also a great idea to do a one-week Beijing itinerary for all willing to spend up to 7 days in the capital city.

How Do You Get Around in Beijing?

  • Subways. The easiest and quickest way to travel around Beijing is by subway. Riding the subway is also a fantastic way to feel like a local during your stay in Beijing. Sometimes subway routes change, or trains temporarily stop running—especially on weekends and late nights during weekdays—so be sure to check for up-to-date subway service information by subway.
  • Buses. Public buses are a scenic way to see the city and reach destinations not convenient to a subway stop. And a large number of Beijing buses are hybrid-electric and electric models. Buses run about every 15 to 30 minutes, or at longer intervals, depending on the time of day.
  • Taxis. Grabbing a cab can be ideal when tired feet, heavy luggage, or shopping bags weigh you down. Taxis are available 24 hours a day, but you might not even see a cab nearby, depending on the area and time of day, especially during rush hour.
  • Car. There are numerous local car services and popular app-based options like Didi to get you from place to place. They don’t have the same pricing system as cabs, and they’re usually cheaper than taxis.
  • Bike. Biking in the city is the most fun and quick way. It’s good for the environment and your body and can often be faster and cheaper than fuel-powered transportation. Cycling hot spots like Houhai and Nanluogxiang are great options for hitting the city on two wheels.
  • Walking. Walking is a healthy, accessible, and environmentally-friendly way to get around Beijing. Walking means you can beat the traffic while soaking up the view. Many landmarks like Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are closer than you might think, so walking can often save time. Remember that cars drive on the right in China, so be careful to look in the correct direction for oncoming traffic when crossing the road.
  • Boat: Travelling by river is a great way to get around Beijing. You’ll beat the traffic and enjoy fantastic views of willows and peach trees along the way. Change river cruise starts at the Beijing Exhibition Center harbor and ends at the Summer Palace. You will see Beijing’s famous landmarks from the water.


Since you would wish to visit as many tourist attractions, markets, shows, and restaurants, make sure that you take your time to identify the best location to stay.

Determining beforehand what you want for your Beijing vacation is an excellent starting point.

Planning a trip to the vibrant city of Beijing? You’ll find these articles about exciting activities and local hotspots in Beijing particularly helpful:

List of Hotels/Hostels Used by Our Previous Clients

You can print the address in English and Chinese to get to your place by taxi.

  • Xiao Yuan Alley Courtyard Hotel(小院客栈-东城区朝阳门内南小街礼士胡同12号近王府井大街 65212658)
  • Red Wall Garden Shijia Hotel (红墙史家花园酒店 – 东城区史家胡同41号近东四南大街51692222 )
  • Crowne Plaza International Airport Beijing hotel (临空皇冠假日酒店 北京市顺义区天竺地区府前一街60号 58108888 )
  • Ibis Beijing Jianguomen (宜必思(北京建国门酒店) 朝阳区建华南路6号院1号楼地杰长安驿 65671588)
  • Citytel inn (都季商务快捷酒店 -南河沿大街华龙街D座 85116665)
  • Holiday Inn Express Shangdi (上地智选假日酒店海淀区上地东路33号 82709999)
  • Inner City (清风雅筑四合院客栈 – 西城区赵登禹路大茶叶胡同20号 66160200)
  • Hotel Holiday Inn Dongzhimen (东直门智选假日酒店 -春秀路1号 64169999)
  • Days Inn Forbidden City 北京香江戴斯酒店 – 东城区南河沿大街南湾子胡同1号 65127788
  • Somerset ZongGuanCun Beijing 盛捷中关村服务公寓 海淀区海淀中街15号(近中关村海龙大厦)58730088
  • Beijing Hyde hotel
  • Crown Plaza Hotel 48 Wangfujing Ave Dongchen District
  • Lee Garden Service Apartments 18 Jinyu Hutong Wangfujing
  • Downtown Backpackers Nanluoguxiang
  • Liuhe Courtyard Hotel
  • Novotel Peace Hotel
  • JW Marriott Hotel
  • City Walls Courtyard House 57 Nianzi Hutong Jingshanhoujie Dongcheng District
  • Flowering House Courtyard Hostel Beijing
  • Holiday Inn Express Temple of Heaven
  • Park Plaza Hotel (丽亭酒店 – 东城区金宝街97号(地铁5号线灯市口站C口出东行50米)85221999)
  • The Opposite House Beijing Building 1, No. 11 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District
  • Hotel G Beijing
Most Popular Posts

Which part of the Great Wall is the best to visit

Mutianyu Great Wall travel guide

When is the best time to visit the Great Wall of China

How long should I stay in Beijing