Where to Stay in Beijing 🇨🇳: 7 Best Areas

Updated on June 24, 2024
by Alex Miller

Beijing, the bustling capital of China, is a city that seamlessly blends ancient history with modern marvels, offering a plethora of neighborhoods to stay in and explore. From the traditional hutongs to the vibrant shopping districts, Beijing has something for every type of traveler.

Whether you’re seeking the best places to visit in Beijing, looking to immerse yourself in the local culture, or simply trying to find out where to stay on a budget, this guide will help you navigate the city’s diverse neighborhoods and choose the perfect location for your Beijing itinerary.

Our Pick of the Best Hotels

As you plan your trip to Beijing, figuring out where to stay is crucial to making the most of your experience. The city boasts an array of neighborhoods, each with its unique character and charm. From the central Dongcheng district, home to many of the top Beijing attractions like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, to the trendy Sanlitun area known for its vibrant nightlife and international cuisine, there’s no shortage of options. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this guide will provide recommendations for places to stay in Beijing, taking into account factors such as proximity to popular sights, shopping, and transportation hubs like the Beijing railway station and airport.

Best Areas to Stay in Beijing: Quick Guide

  • 🏰 For first-time visitors: Dongcheng
  • 💎 For luxury shopping: Wangfujing
  • 🏞️ For history buffs: Qianmen
  • 🏖️ For lake lovers: Houhai
  • 🌃 For nightlife: Sanlitun
  • 🌺 For families: Chaoyang
  • For authentic culture lovers: Xicheng

1. Dongcheng: Exploring the Forbidden City and Beyond 🏯

🏰 Imperial grandeur: Dongcheng is the cultural and historical heart of Beijing, home to iconic landmarks like the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven. This district offers a fascinating blend of ancient imperial grandeur and modern urban life, with bustling shopping streets and vibrant nightlife scenes coexisting alongside serene temples and traditional hutong alleys.

📸 Iconic attractions: Dongcheng boasts an incredible concentration of world-famous attractions, from the majestic Forbidden City, a vast palace complex that served as the imperial residence for 24 emperors, to the expansive Tiananmen Square, the symbolic center of Beijing and a site of immense historical significance.

🌇 Must-see sights: The best sights in Dongcheng include the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its exquisite architecture and historical significance as a sacred imperial altar; the picturesque Beihai Park, featuring tranquil lakes, gardens, and ancient imperial buildings; and the lively Wangfujing Street, a popular pedestrian mall lined with shops, restaurants, and the iconic Wangfujing Snack Street.

🍜 Local eats: Dongcheng is a food lover‘s paradise. Here are some of my top picks:

  • Beijing Da Dong: Famous for its Peking Duck, this restaurant is a must-visit for a taste of Beijing’s culinary heritage.
  • Siji Minfu: Known for its traditional Chinese dishes, it’s a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
  • Black Sesame Kitchen: Offers a unique dining experience with a focus on traditional Chinese cuisine in an intimate setting.

🚉 Getting around: Dongcheng is well-connected to the rest of Beijing via an extensive public transportation network, including multiple subway lines and numerous bus routes, making it easy to explore the area and access other parts of the city.

Where to stay in Dongcheng

Expensive Hotels

  • Hotel Cote Cour: It is a charming boutique hotel located in a traditional Beijing hutong courtyard. It offers a unique and authentic experience of staying in Beijing. The hotel has beautifully decorated rooms with modern amenities and a peaceful garden.
  • Legendale Hotel: The hotel, located in the heart of Beijing, offers comfortable rooms and convenient access to popular attractions. The hotel has a restaurant and friendly staff.
  • Dongsi No 78 Boutique Apartment: Stylish apartments where you can feel at home in a convenient location. Each apartment is fully equipped with modern amenities, a kitchenette and a cozy living room, which is ideal for both short and long stops.

Mid-range Hotels

  • Xinxiang Yayuan Beijing Sihe courtyard: This boutique hotel combines traditional Chinese elements with modern design, creating a unique and attractive atmosphere. The hotel has well-equipped rooms, a restaurant with delicious local cuisine and a convenient location close to popular attractions.
  • Sunworld Hotel: The hotel is located in the lively Dongcheng district and offers comfortable rooms and excellent facilities. Guests can enjoy spacious rooms, a restaurant, a fitness center and
  • Howard Johnson Paragon Hotel: This hotel provides comfortable and convenient accommodation for both business travelers and vacationers. The hotel has well-equipped rooms, a restaurant, a business center and a convenient location close to major transport hubs and attractions.

Budget Hotels

  • Beijing Dongdan Hotel: The hotel is located in the heart of Beijing’s business district, making it a convenient starting point for exploring the city. Guests can stay in comfortable rooms, take advantage of the restaurant, fitness center and proximity to shopping and restaurant areas.
  • Refactoring Space: This unusual hotel offers a futuristic space-themed experience with modern amenities. The hotel offers creatively decorated rooms, a restaurant, a fitness center and a convenient location close to popular attractions.

2. Wangfujing: The Heart of Beijing ❤️

🌆 Bustling center: Wangfujing is the beating heart of Beijing, and it’s where I always recommend first-time visitors to stay. This bustling area is a shopper’s paradise, with a mix of high-end boutiques and traditional stores that offer a taste of both modern and ancient China. The main shopping street stretches along 1.6 km between Changan Avenue and the National Art Museum of China, making it a perfect spot for those who love to shop till they drop.

🏛️ Places of Interest

  • Tiananmen Square: Just a short walk away, this iconic square is a must-visit for its historical significance and grand scale.
  • The Forbidden City: Dive into China’s imperial past with a visit to this sprawling palace complex.
  • National Art Museum of China: For art lovers, this museum offers a deep dive into Chinese art and culture.

🍴 Culinary delights: The best places to eat in Wangfujing cater to diverse culinary preferences. For authentic Peking duck, Quanjude and Bianyifang are renowned establishments. Siji Minfu offers a classic Beijing dining experience, while Haidilao is a popular hotpot chain. International cuisines are also well-represented, with options like Bai Jia Da Yuan for imperial cuisine and Huas Courtyard for vegetarian fare.

🚉 Well-connected: Wangfujing is well-connected to the rest of Beijing via public transportation. The Wangfujing subway station on Line 1 and the Dengshikou station on Line 5 provide easy access to the area. Additionally, numerous bus routes serve the neighborhood, making it convenient to explore other parts of the city.

Where to stay in Wangfujing

Expensive Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels

Budget Hotels

3. Qianmen: A Glimpse into Old Beijing ⛩️

🏞️ Historic charm: Qianmen is a historic neighborhood in central Beijing, renowned for its well-preserved architecture and lively atmosphere. It offers a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage, with traditional hutong alleys, courtyard houses, and bustling street markets. The pedestrian-friendly Qianmen Street is lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, creating a vibrant and immersive experience for visitors.

🗼 Iconic landmarks: The best sights in Qianmen include the iconic Qianmen Gate, a magnificent archway that once served as the entrance to the Imperial City. The nearby Dashilan Street is a popular destination for shopping and exploring traditional Chinese crafts and souvenirs. The Zhengyangmen Gate, also known as the Archery Tower, is another architectural marvel that dates back to the Ming Dynasty.

🍲 Culinary delights: The best places to eat in Qianmen cater to a wide range of culinary preferences. For authentic Peking duck, Quanjude and Bianyifang are renowned establishments with a rich history. Duyichu Shaomai is famous for its delicious steamed dumplings, while Yitiaolong Mutton Restaurant offers a unique hotpot experience. Other notable options include Siji Minfu for classic Beijing cuisine and Haidilao for a lively hotpot experience.

🚉 Excellent connectivity: Qianmen is well-connected to the rest of Beijing via public transportation. The Qianmen Station on Line 2 and Line 8 of the Beijing Subway provides direct access to the area. Additionally, numerous bus routes serve the neighborhood, making it convenient to explore other parts of the city.

Where to stay in Qianmen

Expensive Hotels

  • New World Beijing Hotel: It is one of the best luxury hotels located in the heart of Beijing’s business district, offering easy access to major attractions. The hotel has elegantly decorated rooms and suites, several restaurants, an indoor pool, a fitness center and a spa.
  • JW Marriott Hotel Beijing Central: This hotel offers comfortable rooms and a convenient location. Guests can enjoy well-equipped rooms, a restaurant and easy access to nearby shopping and dining areas.
  • Beijing International Hotel: This landmark hotel, located in the city center, has been a landmark of Beijing since 1954. The hotel has spacious and well-equipped rooms, several restaurants, a fitness center, an indoor pool and a prime location near Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

Mid-Range Hotels

  • M Hotel - Beijing Tiananmen Square Qianmen: This hotel has an excellent location next to Tiananmen Square and Qianmen Metro Station, making it an ideal base for exploring Beijing. The hotel offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant and easy access to popular attractions.

Budget Hotels

  • Beijing Hyde Courtyard Hotel: This hotel offers comfortable and affordable accommodation in the heart of Beijing. The hotel has well-equipped rooms, a restaurant and a convenient location close to popular attractions and transport hubs.

4. Houhai: A Romantic Lakeside Retreat 🌊

🏞️ Serene escape: Houhai is a serene lakeside area in central Beijing, offering a tranquil escape from the bustling city. It features a picturesque lake surrounded by willow trees, traditional hutong alleys, and courtyard residences, providing a glimpse into Beijing’s rich cultural heritage. The area is particularly popular for its lively nightlife, with numerous bars and restaurants lining the lake’s shores.

🏛️ Places of Interest

  • Houhai Lake: This serene lake is perfect for a leisurely boat ride during the day. In winter, it transforms into a natural ice rink where you can skate and sled.
  • Beihai Park: Just south of Qianhai Lake, this park was once an imperial playground. It’s home to the iconic White Pagoda and offers beautiful gardens and historic architecture.
  • Bell and Drum Towers: These ancient towers were used for timekeeping during the Ming, Yuan, and Qing dynasties. They offer a glimpse into Beijing’s past and provide great views of the city.

🍽️ Culinary delights: The best places to eat in Houhai cater to diverse culinary preferences. For authentic Beijing cuisine, try Quanjude for its renowned Peking duck, Duyichu Shaomai for delicious steamed dumplings, or Siji Minfu for classic dishes. International options include Haidilao for hotpot, Bai Jia Da Yuan for imperial cuisine, and Huas Courtyard for vegetarian fare. The area is also famous for its street food stalls offering local snacks like tanghulu (candied fruit on a stick) and jianbing (savory crepes).

🚶‍♂️ Easy access: Houhai is easily accessible by public transportation. The nearest subway stations are Beihai North (Line 6) and Shichahai (Line 8), both within walking distance. Alternatively, visitors can take buses or taxis to reach the area.

Where to stay in Houhai

Expensive Hotels

  • Houhai Hotel: It is a four-star hotel located in the heart of Xicheng District in Beijing, known for its excellent location.
  • Nostalgia Hotel (Prince Gong Mansion): It is a unique themed hotel located near the Gongwangfu district in Beijing. This hotel offers a nostalgic experience thanks to its decor and atmosphere, making the stay unforgettable for the guests.
  •  Beijing Le Zai Nan Luo Gu Xiang Wang Fu Jing Forbidden City Courtyard Hotel: The hotel is located in the lively Nanluoguxiang district in Beijing, known for its traditional Hutong architecture and lively atmosphere.
  • The Orchid Hotel - Old Town & Drum Tower: It is a boutique hotel located in the traditional Hutong district of Beijing, offering a unique and intimate experience. Known for its personalized service and charming surroundings, The Orchid provides a cozy escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Mid-Range Hotels

  • Beijing Downtown Travelotel: It is a popular choice for budget travelers and backpackers, located in the lively Nanluogu Alley in Dongcheng District. The hostel offers various types of rooms, including dormitories and private rooms, as well as facilities such as free Wi-Fi, a shared kitchen and bicycle rental.
  • Guipu Beihai Courtyard Hotel: It is a budget hotel located in Xicheng District, close to many cultural and historical attractions in Beijing.
  • Beijing Rong Courtyard Boutique Hotel: It is a charming boutique hotel located in a traditional hutong in Dongcheng District, offering an authentic Beijing experience. The hotel has beautifully restored rooms with traditional Chinese decor and modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi and air conditioning.

Budget Hotels

5. Sanlitun: Nightlife and International Vibe ✨

🌃 Nightlife hub: Sanlitun is the place to be if you’re looking for a vibrant nightlife and a cosmopolitan vibe in Beijing. This area in the Chaoyang District is a magnet for expats and locals alike, offering a mix of trendy bars, international restaurants, and high-end shopping. It’s the perfect spot to experience the modern side of Beijing.

🍸 Bar Street: Sanlitun Bar Street: This is the heart of Sanlitun’s nightlife. With over 80 bars, it’s the liveliest place in Beijing after dark. Whether you’re into live music, dancing, or just a quiet drink, you’ll find a spot that suits your mood.

🛍️ Shopping haven: Taikoo Li Sanlitun: A sprawling shopping complex with flagship stores of global brands like Apple, Nike, and Adidas. It’s a shopper‘s paradise and a great place to people-watch.

📷 Top attractions: The best sights in Sanlitun include the impressive embassy buildings representing countries from around the world, as well as architectural marvels like the iconic CCTV Headquarters by Rem Koolhaas.

🍽️ Best Restaurants

  • Dining scene: Sanlitun might be famous for its nightlife, but its dining scene is equally impressive. Here are some of my top recommendations:
  • Duck de Chine: Located in the 1949 The Hidden City complex, this restaurant is renowned for its Peking Duck, roasted over aged date tree wood for a unique flavor.
  • Mosto: A sophisticated spot in Nali Patio offering a blend of Chinese, South American, and European flavors. Perfect for a special night out.
  • San Yang Cai: If you’re craving authentic Sichuan food, this is the place to go. Located near the Workers’ Stadium, it serves up super-spicy dishes that are not for the faint-hearted.

🚇 Easy transit: Getting to and around Sanlitun is straightforward.

The area is well-served by the Beijing Subway, with Line 10 stopping at Tuanjiehu Station and Line 6 at Dongdaqiao Station. Taxis are also plentiful and relatively inexpensive, making it easy to hop from one hotspot to another.

Where to stay in Sanlitun

Expensive Hotels

  • Rosewood Beijing: It is a landmark hotel with stunning architecture and first-class facilities.
  • Fairmont Beijing: It is a luxury hotel with an excellent location in the heart of the embassy district.
  • CHAO Sanlitun Beijing: It is a luxury five-star hotel located in the lively Chaoyang district, known for its excellent location next to Sanlitun district. The hotel offers 24-hour check-in and check-out services, which is convenient for travelers with different schedules.

Mid-Range Hotels

  • Beijing Yasmine Seasons Park Apartment Hotel: It offers a homely living experience with fully furnished apartments, ideal for long stays. The conveniently located apartments provide easy access to public transport and nearby attractions.
  • Holiday Inn Express: It is a reliable hotel chain providing comfortable and affordable rooms.

Budget Hotels

  • 7Shang: It is a boutique hotel that combines modern design with traditional Chinese elements, offering a unique and stylish stay.
  • Tang Palace Hotel: Located next to the lively Sanlitun district, known for its vibrant nightlife and shopping opportunities. The hotel offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities including free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and a 24-hour front desk.
  • Atour X Hotel Beijing Sanlitun: It is a modern hotel located next to Sanlitun district, offering easy access to the Agricultural Exhibition Center. The hotel offers stylish rooms with modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, a fitness center and a business center.

6. Chaoyang: Modern Conveniences and Green Spaces 🏢

🏙️ Modern district: Chaoyang is Beijing’s bustling business and diplomatic district, known for its skyscrapers, embassies, and vibrant expat community. It’s a dynamic area that showcases the modern face of Beijing, making it a great place to stay for both business and leisure travelers.

🌳 Green oasis: Chaoyang is a hub for outdoor recreation, featuring the vast Chaoyang Park, one of the largest urban parks in Beijing. The park offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, with lush greenery, lakes, and recreational facilities.

📷 Top attractions: The best sights in Chaoyang include the iconic Bird’s Nest (National Stadium) and the Water Cube (National Aquatics Center), both built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The 798 Art Zone, a former industrial complex turned into a vibrant art district, is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. Chaoyang Park, with its beautiful landscapes and recreational facilities, is another popular attraction.

🏛️ Places of Interest

  • Chaoyang Park: One of the largest parks in Beijing, it’s a green oasis in the middle of the city. Perfect for a morning jog, a leisurely walk, or a family picnic.
  • 798 Art District: This former industrial area has been transformed into a hub for contemporary art. It’s filled with galleries, studios, and cafes, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts.
  • CCTV Headquarters: An architectural marvel, this iconic building is a symbol of modern Beijing. It’s worth a visit just to marvel at its unique design.

🍴 Culinary delights: The best places to eat in Chaoyang cater to diverse culinary preferences. For authentic Peking duck, head to renowned establishments like Duck de Chine or Quanjude. Sanlitun, a trendy neighborhood, offers a wide range of international cuisines, from upscale restaurants to casual eateries. Haidilao Hot Pot and Middle 8 are popular choices for hotpot and Yunnan cuisine, respectively.

🚉 Excellent connectivity: Chaoyang is well-connected to the rest of Beijing via an extensive public transportation network, including multiple subway lines and numerous bus routes. The area is also home to the Beijing Capital International Airport, making it easily accessible for travelers.

Where to stay in Chaoyang

Expensive Hotels

  • Hilton Beijing Tongzhou: It is a luxury five-star hotel located in Tongzhou district, offering a combination of modern comfort and traditional Chinese hospitality.
  • The Sandalwood Beijing Marriott Executive Apartments: It offers a homely living experience with fully furnished apartments, ideal for long stays. Located in Chaoyang district, the apartments provide easy access to the Central Business District and popular shopping areas.
  • Oakwood Residence Damei Beijing: It is a modern hotel located in Chaoyang district, known for its stylish design and excellent service. The hotel offers well-equipped rooms with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and kitchen corners, suitable for both short and long-term stays.

Mid-Range Hotels

  • Beijing Sunflower Hotel: It is a modern hotel offering comfortable rooms with modern amenities. The hotel is conveniently located, providing easy access to local attractions and public transport.
  • Happy Dragon Universal Vacation Hotel: The hotel offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities including free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and a 24-hour front desk. Its excellent location and excellent facilities make it an ideal choice for travelers who want to explore local attractions and enjoy a comfortable stay.

Budget Hotels

  • Chaoyang Joy City Hardcover Apartment: It offers comfortable and modern accommodation in the lively Chaoyang district. The apartments are fully furnished and equipped with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and a kitchenette, making them ideal for both short and long-term stays.

7. Xicheng: Tranquil Oasis 🌿

🏯 Historic Oasis: Xicheng District is a tranquil oasis in the heart of Beijing, offering a respite from the city’s hustle and bustle. This area is ideal for families and those seeking a quieter atmosphere while still being within proximity to major attractions.

🌳 Scenic Landmarks

  • Beihai Park: A serene imperial garden with picturesque lakes, pavilions, and historic structures.
  • Shichahai: A charming neighborhood with traditional courtyard houses and a scenic lake.
  • Zhongnanhai: The former imperial garden and current headquarters of the Chinese government.

🏛️ Cultural Attractions

  • Jingshan Park: A peaceful park offering panoramic views of the Forbidden City and a serene escape from the city.
  • Prince Gong’s Mansion: A well-preserved Qing Dynasty mansion showcasing traditional Chinese architecture and gardens.
  • Beijing Ancient Observatory: An ancient astronomical observatory dating back to the Ming Dynasty.

🍽️ Culinary Delights

  • Dali Courtyard: A charming courtyard restaurant serving authentic Yunnan cuisine in a traditional setting.
  • Bao Yuan Jiu Xiang: A historic restaurant offering delectable Beijing cuisine in a nostalgic ambiance.
  • Huguosi Snack Street: A lively street food market with a wide variety of local snacks and delicacies.

🚇 Convenient Access:

  • Metro: Xicheng District is well-connected by the Beijing Subway, with stations like Shichahai and Beihai North providing easy access.
  • Taxis and Ride-sharing: Readily available throughout the area, making it convenient to navigate.

Where to Stay in Xicheng

Expensive Hotels

  • The Ritz-Carlton Beijing: It is one of the best luxury hotels located in the heart of Beijing’s financial district. The hotel offers elegantly decorated rooms with modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and marble bathrooms.
  • The Westin Beijing: The hotel offers spacious rooms with branded Heavenly Beds, free Wi-Fi and large work areas. Guests can take advantage of the hotel’s wellness facilities, including a fitness center, indoor pool and spa, as well as several restaurants that cater to different tastes.
  • Pan Pacific Beijing: It is a modern five-star hotel located next to the bustling commercial district of Xidan. The hotel offers stylish rooms with modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and luxurious bathrooms.

Mid-Range Hotels

  • Templeside Beijing: It offers a unique and traditional Chinese experience with courtyard-style accommodation. Located in Xicheng district, the guest house provides a cozy and intimate atmosphere with rooms decorated in a traditional style and modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi.
  • Guanganmen Grand Metropark Hotel: It is a four-star hotel located in Xicheng District, offering comfortable rooms with modern amenities. The hotel offers well-equipped rooms with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and mini-bars.
  • Grand Mercure Beijing Central: It is a centrally located hotel offering comfortable and affordable rooms in Xicheng district. The hotel offers well-equipped rooms with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and flat-screen TVs. Its excellent location next to the Xidan Commercial district makes it an excellent choice for travelers looking to explore Beijing’s shopping and entertainment opportunities.

Budget Hotels

  • Kellys Courtyard: It is a charming boutique hotel located in a traditional hutong in Xicheng district. The hotel offers a unique combination of modern comfort and traditional Chinese decor, with rooms equipped with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and private bathrooms.
  • Zhejiang Inn Beijing Xisi: It is a budget hotel located in Xicheng District offering clean and comfortable rooms. The hotel offers rooms with basic amenities such as free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and flat-screen TVs. Its convenient location provides easy access to public transport and nearby attractions, making it a practical choice for both business and leisure travelers.

Where to Stay in Beijing

Beijing is a captivating destination that offers something for every traveler. Whether you seek luxury, affordability, or a unique cultural experience, this ancient city has a wealth of accommodation options to suit your preferences.

By considering your travel style, budget, and desired location, you can find the perfect place to call home during your unforgettable journey through Beijing’s rich tapestry of history and modernity.

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best neighborhoods to stay in Beijing for first-time visitors?

For first-time visitors, staying near the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square is highly recommended. This central location provides easy access to many of Beijing’s iconic attractions and allows for a truly immersive cultural experience.

Is it better to stay in a hotel or a serviced apartment in Beijing?

The choice between a hotel and a serviced apartment depends on your travel preferences and the length of your stay. Hotels offer convenience and a range of amenities, while serviced apartments provide more space and the comforts of home, making them ideal for extended stays or families.

How far in advance should I book my accommodation in Beijing?

It’s advisable to book your accommodation well in advance, especially during peak travel seasons or major events. Popular hotels and areas tend to fill up quickly, so booking at least 2-3 months in advance is recommended to secure your preferred accommodation.

Are there any areas in Beijing that are particularly suitable for families?

The Sanlitun and Chaoyang Business District areas are well-suited for families, offering a wide range of family-friendly accommodations, international restaurants, and shopping malls. Additionally, the Summer Palace and Old City Hutongs provide a more cultural and historical experience for families.