The city of Beijing is one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in China. During the summer, the city comes alive with a plethora of unique festivals and cultural events taking place throughout the city. In this article, I will tell you about some of the most outstanding festivals and events that take place in Beijing during the summer months.
If you want to know what are the best things to do in Beijing let me tell you that the list is quite extensive. This city has it all, with its mix of modernity, tradition, delicious cuisine, events, temples, architecture and, of course, the Great Wall, visiting Beijing is an endless adventure.
1. Join the Beijing Art and Culture Festival
The Beijing Culture and Arts Festival is an event held every year in China's capital during the summer months. This festival, which began in 1987, aims to promote traditional and contemporary Chinese culture. It spans several weeks and features a wide variety of events, including opera performances, music, dance, theater, film and art exhibitions. There are also sporting events, such as bicycle races and horse races, and a host of cultural activities for children.
During the festival, top artists perform at various venues around the city, including the National Theater of Beijing and the Grand Palace Theater. In addition, many international artists are invited to participate in the festival, making it a truly global event. One of the highlights of the festival is when the ** Peking Opera competition** takes place. Performers compete for prizes in a variety of categories, including acting, costume design and makeup.
2. Plan a visit to the Summer Palace in the best season for it
Take the day to explore Beijing's enchanting Summer Palace. This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China. This majestic palace and garden complex was built during the Qing Dynasty and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the summer resting place of the emperor, so what better than touring it yourself in the summer months.
It is a vast complex covering an area of more than 290 hectares. It has an artificial lake, hills, gardens, pavilions and bridges that combine to create an atmosphere of tranquility and natural beauty. This place is known as the largest and best preserved imperial garden in China. One of the highlights of the Summer Palace is the Great Hall of Supreme Harmony, an impressive palace that used to be the venue for official ceremonies and imperial audiences.
The gardens of the Summer Palace are especially impressive. With a design that mimics nature, these gardens feature waterfalls, streams and pavilions that combine to create an environment of great beauty and tranquility. You can walk through the gardens, enjoy the scenery and relax while taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
3. Enjoy the International Music Festival in Beijing
Attend the International Music Festival! This is one of the largest and most prestigious music events on the Asian continent, held in the summer. It features a wide variety of musical genres, including classical music, jazz, rock, electronic music, as well as traditional Chinese music. The event features renowned national and international artists, as well as emerging young talents from around the world.
During the festival, you can enjoy various concerts at some of the city's most iconic venues, such as the Beijing National Theater, the Poly Theater and the Beijing City Theater. Outdoor concerts are also held in parks and squares throughout the city, allowing Beijingers and visitors to enjoy music in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
The Beijing International Music Festival is not only an event for music lovers, but also plays an important role in promoting international culture and understanding. In addition to concerts, you can participate in workshops, lectures and exhibitions, which are designed to foster cultural exchange and dialogue between artists and audiences from around the world.
4. Experience all the magic of the Beijing International Film Festival
If you are a lover of the seventh art, you cannot miss the Beijing International Film Festival, also known as BJIFF, is one of the most important film events in Asia and is held annually in the city of Beijing. This festival, which began in 2011, aims to promote cultural exchange and cooperation in film between China and other countries.
During the festival, you can watch films from all over the world, including feature films and documentaries, from both established filmmakers and new talents. The event features competitions to award the best films in different categories, as well as presentations of classic films and retrospectives of influential filmmakers.
In addition to film screenings, the festival also includes a series of activities to encourage exchange between filmmakers and the public, such as lectures, seminars and workshops. There are also opportunities for filmmakers to present their films and engage in discussions with the public. The festival does not have a fixed date, it varies from year to year, but it always takes place in the summer. Check on social networks and official websites before traveling.
5. Visit one of the 7 wonders of the world: the Great Wall of China
Visiting the Great Wall is one of the must of every trip to China. Considered one of the 7 wonders of the world, this stone structure was built to defend against possible invaders. It is the only man-made work that can be seen from space. There are several sections to visit the Great Wall, but the best is undoubtedly the one known as Mutianyu.
In summer, temperatures are pleasant, so it is a very good time to join one of the best all-day tours to the Great Wall. This kind of excursions are perfect to learn more about China's millenary history, since you will learn a lot from your guide. In addition, on this particular section of the Great Wall, the scenery is truly breathtaking and the views are unbeatable.
6. Relax and enjoy the great outdoors at Jingshan Park
Located just north of the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park is a wonderful place to take a break from the heat. It is a historic park in the center of Beijing, full of trails and viewpoints that allow you to enjoy exceptional panoramic views of the entire city, including the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and Kunming Lake. It is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, due to its stunning scenery, rich history and role in Chinese culture.
The park was built in the 13th century, during the Yuan Dynasty, as a private imperial garden for the emperors of China. At that time it was considered one of the most beautiful places in the city. During the Ming dynasty, it became a resting place for the emperors, and during the Qing dynasty, it was expanded and became a recreational place for the citizens of the court.
In the center of the park is the Iron Dragon Pavilion, a three-story wooden structure built in 1750 during the Qing dynasty. This structure is one of the park's most famous symbols and is said to have been built by the Qianlong Emperor to enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. Thanks to the pleasant temperatures, strolling through Jingshan Park is one of the best things to do in Beijing in July or any summer month.
7. Stroll through Beijing's typical hutongs
Strolling through Beijing's classic hutongs is a must-do on your trip. Summer is a perfect time to wander through these ancient alleys, which are an important part of the city's history and culture. So if you are wondering what to do in summer, don't hesitate to sign up for one of the best hutong tours.
You can choose between day or night tours, where, besides touring the hutongs, you will taste local street food, have some drinks and visit some of Beijing's highlights. Along the hutongs you will see a lot of traditional siheyuan style houses. Visiting the hutongs is a unique experience that gives you a glimpse into the authentic daily life of the inhabitants of the Chinese capital.
For centuries, the hutongs have been the heart of Beijing's social and cultural life. They are home to numerous markets, stores, restaurants and teahouses, as well as temples and inner courtyards where locals gather to chat and engage in daily activities. One of the most popular ways to explore the hutongs is by bicycle or on foot, as the streets are too narrow for vehicular traffic. It is also possible to take a tuk tuk tour.
8. Take a bike tour in Beijing
Arriving in a new city can be both exciting and overwhelming, so one recommendation I always make is to take a bike tour, this way you can explore with the peace of mind of having a mapped out route and a guide. In the case of Beijing, which has so much to know, it is a very good way to build a mental map of the attractions that the city has to offer, and get to places that you could not access in other types of excursions.
The summer months are ideal for this type of tours, although I recommend doing them in the afternoon, when the sun begins to fall. This way you can see how the city lights up and not suffer so much from the heat. You will visit some of the most important sites in Beijing, such as the Summer Palace or the Forbidden City, former residence of the emperor.
These tours usually include all the necessary equipment, so you will not have to worry about anything, just enjoy.
9. Enjoy the Beijing Beer Festival
What's better than an ice-cold beer in summer? The Beijing Beer Festival is an annual event held in the Chinese capital that attracts thousands of beer lovers from all over the world. This festival is one of the largest and most popular of its kind in Asia and takes place during the first days of September, i.e. in late summer.
At the festival you can sample a wide variety of beers from around the world, from the best-known brands to craft and local beers. There is also a wide selection of food to accompany the beers, from traditional Chinese food to food from all over the world. In addition, you can take part in a number of beer-related activities and games, such as drinking contests, games of skill and guided tastings.
The festival also offers entertainment, including live music, dance performances and comedy shows. This is undoubtedly one of the top 10 things to do in Beijing in September.
10. Behold the art in the 798 Art District
The 798 Art District was formerly the site of former electronics industry factories, including the state-owned 798 factory. After these factories moved out, the district has become a new landmark of Beijing's urban culture.
In this district you can find art galleries, cultural centers and numerous bars. A variety of exhibitions are also held throughout the year to showcase the new trend of fashion and art. Visiting the 798 Art District is one of the best things to do in Beijing in summer, as the weather is mild and pleasant for walking around the outdoor area.
In addition, the number of visitors decreases, allowing you to enjoy the exhibits and artworks in much more comfort. This place will allow you to experience the unique energy and lifestyle of Beijing's modern urban culture.
Temperatures in Beijing in summer
Beijing summer temperatures usually range from 20 to 32 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is very frequent at this time of the year, due to the monsoons, so it is advisable to pack a raincoat in your suitcase. Anyway, if you have any excursion planned, I recommend that you always check what the weather in Beijing is going to be for that particular day.
The tourist flow in Beijing in the summertime
Due to the frequent rains, the number of tourists in Beijing in summer is usually lower. That is why, at this time of the year, you can find better prices both in accommodations and in many of the attractions.
Prices in Beijing in summer
Prices in Beijing in summer tend to be lower, due to the lower number of tourists and the abundant rainfall and warm temperatures. There is no doubt that you can get great deals on accommodation, attractions and city tours.
What to pack to visit Beijing in summer
Due to the frequent summer rains, it is advisable to bring a raincoat and an umbrella. Otherwise, keep in mind that temperatures are hot and humid, so you will not need any kind of coat. Try to wear cool and comfortable clothing, especially footwear.
Alternative plans for protection from the cold / heat / rain in Beijing in summer
Beijing is a very cosmopolitan city, so in case of rain you have very good alternatives to have a great time. Visit one of the 10 best museums in Beijing, or its incredible temples, two options that will allow you to learn more about the culture and traditions of China.