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10 Things To Do in Tiananmen Square in Beijing

Tiananmen Square is located in the center of the city of Beijing and is home to some of the most interesting places in the city. Discover them!

Andressa García

Andressa García

11 min read

10 Things To Do in Tiananmen Square in Beijing

Beijing's Tiananmen Square | ©Peter Connolly

The square became a historical and symbolic place of protest in China after seven weeks of demonstrations, which are known as the Tiananmen Square protest or movement. But beyond that, this square has a lot to show tourists, far from the more recent historical events.

The gate to the Forbidden City is one of the most interesting places to see in Tiananmen Square. You can also see some important symbols of the city and even spend some time walking around the square. Whatever you want to do, visiting Tiananmen Square is one of the best things to see and do in Beijing.

1. Enter the Mao Zedong Mausoleum

Mao Zedong Mausoleum| ©warwor3
Mao Zedong Mausoleum| ©warwor3

In the center of the square is the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, who was the founder of the People's Republic of China. This is one of the most popular and crowded tourist spots in Beijing, and it is also where the embalmed body of the famous communist leader is located. But before entering the mausoleum, you will have to leave your things in a locker at one end of the square.

Inside the mausoleum you will be able to see the body of the former leader Mao Zedong and, in addition, you will be impressed to see how the Chinese crowds show their respect for this character, giving floral offerings and bowing.

Something you should keep in mind when visiting this site is that it is important to show respect and act appropriately inside the enclosure. To visit this site I recommend you to book a tour of Beijing and Tiananmen Square.

Details of interest

  • Price: entrance is free if you have your passport with you.
  • Hours: you can enter every day from 5 am to 10 pm.
  • Location: located next to the south gate of the Forbidden City in Tiananmen Square.

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2. Stroll around Dashilar

In Dashilar| ©Robert Brauneis
In Dashilar| ©Robert Brauneis

If you are looking for an interesting place to stroll near Tiananmen Square, Dashilar is a very pleasant neighborhood to have a coffee, eat Peking-style lacquered duck, buy souvenirs and lose yourself in the small alleys typical of Beijing, known as hutongs.

Formerly the ground where merchant groups settled in the 13th century, after several reconstructions it has become a sort of theme park, but still an authentic place. I recommend you book a tour of Beijing and Tiananmen Square to discover it in detail.

It is also a site known for its old stores and traditional architecture, which has been preserved over the years. Something that is recognized to this site is that, although it has been rebuilt several times, it still retains its traditional appeal that has always characterized it. It is undoubtedly a good option to visit in the middle of a tour of the hutongs of Beijing.

Details of interest

  • Price: this is a public site, so you will not have to pay an entrance fee.
  • Hours: Dashilar is a pedestrian area that is usually open all day and night.
  • Location: Xicheng in Beijing, China

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3. Don't miss the Flag Raising and Lowering Show

In Tiananmen Square| ©watchsmart
In Tiananmen Square| ©watchsmart

It is an impressive monument about 38 meters high that represents the heritage and greatness of China. It is built of marble and granite, and features five gold stars representing the Communist Party of China and the four provinces of the country. Construction of the monument began in 1952 and was completed in 1958. It has since become one of Beijing' s most popular tourist attractions, as well as an important symbol of the motherland and national unity.

I recommend, if possible, booking a tour of Beijing and Tiananmen Square during sunrise and sunset to witness the flag raising and lowering ceremonies. During these events, the honor guard of the People's Liberation Army performs this act, which attracts many onlookers, especially local tourists from other provinces.

To see these ceremonies up close, you can specifically stand at the Gate of Heavenly Peace and watch the soldiers perform the flag salute while the national anthem plays. This is definitely an event you should put on your list of things to visit in the city, and for that I recommend signing up for a Beijing bike tour that takes you at sunset to see the lowering of the flag.

Interesting details

  • Price: you can visit the important monument without having to pay, because it is a public place.
  • Hours: you can visit this place during any time, but if you want to see the raising ceremony, you will have to go every sunrise and sunset.
  • Location: the flag is located in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

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4. Discover the Clock Tower

Beijing Drum Tower| ©Frühtau
Beijing Drum Tower| ©Frühtau

This 46.7-meter high tower is unique in many ways and is a popular tourist attraction. It is equipped with 25 huge drums and was originally intended to indicate Beijing time, a job it performed for six centuries under the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. It has witnessed important events in history, such as the Conquest of China from the Mongols and other similar situations.

Visiting the Drum Tower in Beijing, you will see that it is a very colorful and authentic building with two floors. Inside you will see the 25 drums that used to be used to mark the hours of the day. Although only one drum remains today, visiting this site is still, along with the Beijing kung fu shows, one of the must-do activities to do in the city, mainly because this drum is huge, measuring 1.4 meters in diameter and 2.2 meters in height.

This unique drum is no longer used to mark the hours of the day, however, you can still watch experts beat the drums for 15 minutes in a show that is performed four times a day, so it is certainly a good place to visit and meet locals and tourists alike. Find out more by booking a Beijing tour.

Interesting details

  • Price: you will have to pay about 4.5 dollars to enjoy the inner spaces of the Clock Tower.
  • Hours: visiting hours may vary, however, it is almost always open to the public between 9am and 5:30pm.
  • Location: you can find it on Gulou Dong Dajie Street in the Dongcheng district of Beijing, China.

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5. Admire the Tiananmen Gate

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

The Tiananmen Gate is a historical monument located in the center of the city. Book a tour of Beijing and Tiananmen Square and get to know this cultural and political icon, the place where the portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong is located and where important ceremonies and parades are held.

It is also known because in 1989 the Tiananmen massacre took place, where the Chinese government repressed demonstrators demanding democratic reforms.

It is also the entrance to the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasty, which you are obliged to visit if you travel to Beijing. The Tiananmen Gate is a place visited by tourists from all over the world, but it is also an important symbol for the history and politics of China.

Details of interest

  • Price: to enter the Tiananmen Gate you will have to pay about 9 € per person. If you travel with elderly and disabled people you can pay less money.
  • Hours: Tiananmen Gate is open every day between 8:30 am and 5 pm.
  • Location: It is located in the square of the same name.

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6.Admire the Monument to the People's Heroes

Monument to the People's Heroes| ©sftrajan
Monument to the People's Heroes| ©sftrajan

The Monument to the People's Heroes is a large granite obelisk located in Tiananmen Square and is the largest statue in the history of China. It was erected to commemorate the martyrs who fell in various revolutionary struggles of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is the point where commemorative acts of national mourning are usually held.

On the front of the monument reads the inscription: "The heroes of the people are immortal", carved in Mao's calligraphy. It is located exactly in the center of Tiananmen Square and was built in 1958. This statue is a reminder of the history and sacrifices others have made for the country and its people.

It is also important for you to know about this place, that it is a monument that represents a female figure that, in turn, symbolizes the unity and strength of the Chinese people. You can't miss the opportunity to book a tour of Beijing and Tiananmen Square, discover it in detail and take a couple of pictures.

Interesting details

  • Price: this is a public site, so you won't have to pay anything for the entrance.
  • Hours: you can go all day and night, with no time restrictions.
  • Location: this obelisk is located in the center of Tiananmen Square.

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7. Visit the Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven| ©m w
Temple of Heaven| ©m w

The Temple of Heaven is a place located at the southern end of the ancient city of Beijing, near Tiananmen Square, in the Xuan Wu district. It is a huge temple with an area almost twice the size of the Forbidden City, so it is definitely worth a visit on your tour of Beijing.

This was the place where the Ming and Qing emperors held rites and sacrifices to honor the sky and ask for good crops. Its organization is closely related to Chinese cosmology and is based on the emperor's attitude and respect for the rites. The colors, shapes, sounds and positions of the buildings represent the complex design of the universe.

The Temple of Heaven is one of the most important and interesting places in the city, considering that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. Around the temple you can also visit a large park where you will see Beijingers practicing Taijiquan and Qigong or even having fun with dancing and singing.

Details of interest

  • Price: to enter the Temple of Heaven you will have to pay about 5 € per person.
  • Hours: you can visit this place between 6 am and 10 pm. But you have to keep in mind that the last admission time is around 9 pm.
  • Location: it is located in the Xuan Wu district, very close to Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

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8. See the Great Hall of the People

Great Hall of the People| ©thokaty
Great Hall of the People| ©thokaty

The Great Hall of the People is a very important building in Beijing. This place was opened in 1959 as one of the "Ten Great Buildings" to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the People's Republic of China. Since then it has become one of the most interesting places to see in the square and in the whole city.

This super construction is located at the western end of Tiananmen Square and is one of the most representative icons for the government of the People's Republic of China and the Communist Party. As it is a politically strategic site, it hosts the meeting of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which has been held every five years since 1982, and the Central Committee of the party, which is an annual event.

The Great Hall of the People accepts visitors, however, to enter this place you can only enter through the East Gate, which has an emblem of the People's Republic of China above it. After this gate you will find a large hallway that will lead you to the Central Hall. Inside you will also be able to see the Grand Auditorium, which has a capacity of almost 10,000 people.

Details of interest

  • Price: you will have to pay about 5 € per person to enjoy this place.
  • Hours: You can visit the Great Hall of the People from 6 am to 10 pm.
  • Location: enda Huitang West Road, at the western end of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China.

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9. Appreciate the structure of the National Opera House

National Opera House| ©Enrique RG
National Opera House| ©Enrique RG

One of the best things to see and do in Beijing, especially if you are passionate about opera is to see the National Grand Theater, also known as "The Egg". It is a uniquely designed building created by French architect Paul Andreu, which opened its doors in June 2007.

You can access the theater through a lobby that is located below an artificial lake, and once inside, you can enjoy a space that has a capacity for almost 6,500 people. You will love to see the outside of the theater, which is a titanium and glass dome that floats on the water, which makes it, without a doubt, one of the most emblematic buildings in the city.

One of the most striking things about this site is that inside it has different spaces as if it were an urban district. You can find streets, squares, commercial and rest areas, waiting rooms and restaurants. So if you enter the Opera, you will think you are entering the interior of a city within the city. Also, inside you can find different art spaces and exhibitions that remain open to the public.

Details of interest

  • Price: to visit this impressive building you will have to pay about 5 € per person.
  • Hours: you can visit this place between 9 am and 5:30 pm. It is also open every day of the week except Mondays.
  • Location: it is located right next to Tiananmen Square.

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10. Approach the Gate of Heavenly Peace

Gate of Heavenly Peace| ©Julien Mercier
Gate of Heavenly Peace| ©Julien Mercier

The Gate of Heavenly Peace is the largest and most iconic monument in Beijing's Forbidden City. You will be impressed by the enormous size of this gate that has a wide and high arch with three passages, the central one is reserved for the Emperor. On the outside of the gate there are huge pillars made of marble, as well as statues of imperial guards.

At the top of the gate you will see a golden inscription known as "Zhengyangmen". You will also see a pair of bronze lions, one on each side of the gate, representing power and good fortune.

Today, this place is quite important for Chinese communist thought and, in fact, Mao Zedong 's portrait guards the entrance to the Forbidden City. The reason is because it was here that Mao proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, after the fall of the Qing dynasty and the departure of the last emperor. Do not hesitate to book one of the best tours of Beijing and get to know all the history.

Interesting details

  • Price: there is no charge to see the Heavenly Gate because it is a public place, so you can enter without paying.
  • Hours: you can see this place every day between 8:30 am and 5 pm.
  • Location: it is located in Tiananmen Square.

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