Best time to go to Beijing

March to May is one of the best times to discover the Chinese capital because the weather is pleasant and there are fewer tourists. Here are the best alternatives

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

8 min read

Best time to go to Beijing

Tiananmen Square | ©PublicDomainPictures

The weather is one of the aspects to take into account during your visit to Beijing, one of the most interesting cities in the world. The best time to visit the Chinese capital will depend on the travel plan you have in mind.

Traveling with children is not the same as having an economic trip as a premise, nor will it be the same if you want to visit the city with little tourist influx or prefer to visit it during the most important events of the year. In this article I tell you everything you need to know depending on the time of year in which you travel.

When is the best time to travel to Beijing?

Streets of Beijing| ©Pierre Metivier
Streets of Beijing| ©Pierre Metivier

Regardless of the more specific variables, March to May is the best time to discover the Chinese capital, as the weather is pleasant, rainfall is infrequent and you can discover some of Beijing's best attractions with fewer tourists. It is also a very economical time. Ideal to enjoy Beijing's most popular activities such as the tour of the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

  • Winter, which in China ends in March, is quite cold and can comfortably reach temperatures below freezing, so it is the least recommended time for your trip.
  • As spring approaches, the weather improves substantially, reaching average temperatures of 13°C, allowing you to enjoy most of Beijing's attractions in a pleasant way.
  • If you wait for the summer, temperatures will improve, reaching highs above 30 C°, although the heat could be stifling and, in addition, it is the time of the year with more tourism, so you will have to wait in long lines to access most of the activities and it will not be an economical time for the best tours of the Chinese capital.
  • Another ideal time for your trip to Beijing is during autumn, which runs from September to December, although it can be combined with Christmas, which is a time that increases the number of tourists.

Book the Great Wall of China, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square Tour

When is the best time to visit Beijing with children?

Beijing Zoo| ©John Luc
Beijing Zoo| ©John Luc

The best time of year to visit the city with children will depend on your personal preferences and the interests of your little ones, but generally speaking, it is during spring, from March to May, and during autumn, from September to November. Both are ideal times to book the Summer Palace, Lama Temple and Panda Garden tour or visit the Beijing Zoo, which is one of the most interesting plans to do with the family.

  • During spring, temperatures are pleasant and there is less rainfall compared to summer and winter snowfall, making it an ideal time to visit the city's tourist sites without worrying about the sweltering heat. In addition, during this time, the capital is full of flowers and there are events such as the Beijing International Garden Festival, which can be interesting for children.
  • Meanwhile, in autumn, temperatures are still bearable and there are fewer tourists compared to summer, making it a good time to visit tourist sites without having to deal with crowds. In addition, in October, the China National Holiday Festival is held, which is a great opportunity to experience the culture and daily life of the locals and an alternative to enjoy the best museums in Beijing.

In conclusion, spring and autumn are the best times of the year to visit Beijing with children, as they offer pleasant temperatures, less rainfall and fewer tourists, which makes it easier to enjoy the sights and activities the city has to offer, while having access to cheaper prices than those of summer, which is considered the city's high season.

Book the Summer Palace, Lama Temple & Panda Garden Tour

When is the best time to visit Beijing in the most economical way possible?

Forbidden City| ©cattan2011
Forbidden City| ©cattan2011

If you are looking for the cheapest time to visit Beijing, it is probably best to travel during the winter months, from December to February. During this time, hotel and tourist attraction prices are usually lower due to lower tourist demand and colder temperatures.

Keep in mind that the weather in Beijing in winter can be very extreme, with temperatures that can drop below 0 degrees Celsius, so be sure to bring appropriate clothing for the weather. You should also consider that during the winter months snowfalls can be frequent, which could alter some of your plans, such as visiting the Forbidden City or Tiananmen Square, all outdoor excursions.

However, if you decide to travel in winter anyway, you will find some plans available in Beijing such as booking tickets for an acrobatic show or going skiing at some of the city's most popular resorts, such as Nanshan Ski Village, Huaibei Ski Resort and Badaling Ski Resort. You can also stroll through the Chinese capital's best temples.

When is the best time to visit Beijing when the crowds are low?

Tourist Bus| ©zoesfolks
Tourist Bus| ©zoesfolks

Beijing is a city that has a lot to offer in terms of culture, history and tourist attractions. However, due to its popularity, it can be difficult to find times when it is not crowded with tourists.

  • November to March: If you want to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit is during the low season, November to March, the least crowded months of the year due to extreme cold and snowfall.
  • July and August: Although these months are considered part of the high season, many tourists avoid visiting Beijing during this period due to high temperatures and humidity. Therefore, if you can handle the warm weather, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the city without having to deal with the crowds.
  • During the week: Many tourists visit the city during the weekends, so if you have flexibility, you will find fewer tourists during the weekdays. Also, many of the attractions are open every day, so you won't miss anything. This is the best time to book a bus transfer to the Great Wall of China or take tours on the sightseeing buses.
  • Chinese public holidays: National Day or Chinese New Year can attract a lot of tourism and prices will be higher.

Book a bus transfer to the Great Wall of China

When is the best time to visit Beijing and learn about its traditions?

Through the Tiananmen Gate| ©Shande Villa
Through the Tiananmen Gate| ©Shande Villa

There are several times to visit Beijing and discover its traditions:

  • Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year. This festival is celebrated in January or February each year, depending on the calendar, and is one of the most important festivities in China. Beijing is filled with colorful decorations and traditional activities such as dragon and lion parades, lion dances and fireworks displays. You can also enjoy a variety of traditional Chinese dishes, which are included if you book a gastronomic tuk tuk tour.
  • Mid-Autumn Festival, which is held in September or October each year, also depending on the local calendar. This festival focuses on the full moon and is an occasion to gather with family and friends to appreciate the beauty of the moon. You can enjoy delicious moon cakes and participate in traditional activities, such as dragon and lion dancing. The celebration can also coincide with National Day, which is celebrated on October 1 every year and has its epicenter at Tiananmen Square.

You should bear in mind that during these dates the city receives a large number of tourists, especially for internal transfers, and that prices may increase substantially. In addition, the opening hours of museums, theaters and some local restaurants and bars may be altered, since for many locals it is a holiday date.

Book a gastronomic tuk tuk tour

When is the best time to visit Beijing and discover its best sights?

Beijing Olympic Park| ©Yanli Guo
Beijing Olympic Park| ©Yanli Guo

In general, the best time to visit Beijing and enjoy its sights is during the autumn season, from September to November, as, during those months, the Chinese capital offers pleasant weather and temperatures are cool and comfortable. In addition, the city is filled with colorful autumn leaves that create spectacular scenery in parks such as Jingshan Park and the Temple of Heaven.

Autumn is dry so you can count on clear skies to enjoy the panoramic views from the Bell Tower or the Olympic Tower in the Beijing Olympic Village. It is also a good time to book an excursion to the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs, as the weather is cool, offering good conditions for walking long distances. And at this time, Beijing has less pollution and fog, which improves air quality and allows better visibility of monuments and scenery.

Also note that there are also fewer tourists in autumn compared to summer, which means fewer queues and more space to enjoy attractions and activities, which is no small feat in a city that tends to be packed with tourists for much of the year.

Book a tour to the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs

When is the best time to visit Beijing to avoid the cold and rain?

Beijing at night| ©Eneko Bidegain
Beijing at night| ©Eneko Bidegain

The weather is very changeable in Beijing. Even so, I will explain its main characteristics:

  • The obvious answer is to desist from visiting Beijing during winter if you are one of those who shy away from low temperatures, rain and big coats.
  • In summer, temperatures can reach a maximum of 35 °C, with averages of 22 °C, although you should keep in mind that the climate is very humid during the summer season, so rains are frequent. This could alter your plans for some attractions, especially those that are outdoors, such as the Forbidden City or the hutong tours.
  • During spring, in addition to a pleasant temperature, you will be able to see cherry blossoms in Yuyuantan Park and beautiful scenery at the Summer Palace. It is the ideal time to discover Beijing at night.
  • In autumn, you can also temporarily escape the cold and the weather is dry, although somewhat unstable. However, it is a good time for you to photograph the golden and red trees, which create a spectacular sight.

Also, keep in mind that in both spring and autumn, hotel and airfare prices are generally lower than in the peak summer season, when rates tend to skyrocket due to the large number of tourists flocking to the city.

Book Summer Palace, Lama Temple and Panda Garden tour

So... What is the best time to visit Beijing?

View of the Chinese Wall| ©Dennis Jarvis
View of the Chinese Wall| ©Dennis Jarvis

The answer will depend on your travel plan and the goal you have during your Beijing tour. The Chinese capital offers alternatives for all tourists, so if you are looking for a quiet tour, with good weather and cheap prices, you should travel in autumn or spring, that is, between the months of March and May and between September and November.

If instead you want to live typical experiences, such as the Chinese New Year, the National Day or the Autumn Festival, you should travel on specific dates, but you have to take into account that airline tickets, accommodation and excursions will be less economical. Besides, the city will be crowded with tourists, but you will be able to live a very interesting experience and enjoy the best things to see and do in Beijing.

Beyond all this, the least tempting time to travel to Beijing is during the winter, when temperatures easily reach -10 °C and record lows of -40 °C, which is an attempt against any kind of tourism, since most of the attractions are outdoors except for some plans such as acrobatic shows, which can be indoors, or ski resorts, although you should keep in mind that it is not a cheap kind of tourism.