With Tiananmen Square at its heart, Beijing ripples outwards in six concentric ring roads, beyond which lies the Great Wall, the city's most famous attraction. Most of the key historical sites – the Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven – date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. But Beijing’s appeal extends far beyond its world-renowned relics. Traditional masters create handicrafts in ancient workshops, avant-garde installations and galleries pack the exploding 798 Art District, while winding hutongs and traditional teahouses whisper centuries-old secrets to those who take time to explore them.
The world-famous Beijing Opera, kung fu shows, and acrobatic troupes entertain at night, with the ever-popular district of Houhai attracting hip young things for summer bar-crawls and winter ice-skating on its central lake. The northern capital also counts the Spring, Lantern, Kite, Dragon Boat and Mid-Autumn festivals among its annual celebrations, cementing its appeal as one of Asia’s most upbeat and intriguing cities.
Below are brief descriptions of the major holidays, festivals and events in Beijing.
- New Year’s Day is celebrated in China, however the lunar new year is a far more important holiday often called Spring Festival. The annual New Year's concert at the National Centre for Performing Arts showcases the China National Symphony Orchestra, along with world-renowned musicians and conductors.
- Zhonghe Festival, (Longtaitou) falls on the second day of the second month in the lunar calendar and celebrates the dragon as humanity’s distant ancestor as well as the bringer of spring rains.
- The Laba Festival is the traditional start of celebrations for the Lunar New Year. People crowd to the Yonghegong Lama Temple, where the lamas chant sutras and give out steaming bowls of rice porridge, which are supposed to bring good luck.
- Spring Festival is the most important Chinese holiday and is marked by one of the grandest fireworks displays in the world. The dates vary each year, but it usually falls in late-January or early-February and lasts for 15 days.
- The Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the first lunar month, marks the end of China's new year celebrations. Traditional dancers in colourful costumes take to the streets. At night, lantern-lit parades illuminate the city of Beijing.
- Tomb Sweeping Festival, (Qingming) is a nationwide day for mourning the dead. The Chinese people use the occasion to pay their respects to their ancestors and to tidy tombs and grave sites by removing weeds and leaves. Babaoshan, Beijing's most famous cemetery and crematorium, is usually crowded around Qingming. This festival is also celebrated as a day that welcomes the coming of spring, when all is new and fresh.
- Beijing International Kite Festival begins with a vibrant opening ceremony incorporating traditional Chinese music, dragon dances and colourful kite displays. The festival attracts kite-flying teams from around the world and showcases ancient Chinese kites as well as current models. The kites, demonstrating artistic craftsmanship, present a feast for the eyes once they unite in the sky at Chaoyang Park.
- China International Gallery Exposition. Galleries from across the globe unite at the China World Trade Center for CIGE. Thousands come to see imaginative creations from well-established artists, and discover emerging Asian talent.
- International Labour Day, aka May Day, is celebrated as a public holiday in Beijing. Join the crowds of thousands in Tiananmen Square on May 1st to see the early-morning flag-raising ceremony.
- Dragon Boat Festival, (Duanwu) commemorates the death of ancient poet Qu Yuan. Locals eat zongzi (bamboo-wrapped rice dumplings) and watch the exciting and vibrant dragon boat races on nearby lakes, such as Qinglong and Houhai. Qu Yuan lived as a courtier in the Chou Dynasty until he was one day tossed into the sea at the hands of a corrupt and evil official. When the local fishermen heard of the poet's demise, they searched the waters to find him. Unsuccessful, they threw rice dumplings into the sea and slapped the water with their paddles to distract the fish from the poet's body.
- Beijing International Art Exposition. Each year, exhibitors and art lovers from around the world flock to the expo, also known as Contemporary Beijing, held at the China World Trade Center.
- The Beijing International Book Fair is where you can discover new must-reads or fresh insights into the authors you love. During one of the top four book fairs in the world, the huge China International Exhibition Center fills up with publishers, literary organizations, and writers from around the world. The exhibition attracts close to 2,000 publishing houses, has more than 160,000 titles on display and showcases the best writing from China and the rest of the globe.
- Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Signaling family reunion to the Chinese people, it is also one of the most important traditional festivals in China. Admiring the full moon and eating delicious moon cakes top the to-do list for this occasion.
- Beijing Marathon. One of the world's top 10 races, the annual race begins in Tiananmen Square and ends at the National Olympic Sports Centre. The event attracts over 30,000 competitors from all over the world, television viewers top 100 million and crowds line the streets to watch the race, which is recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), allowing participants to receive official IAAF scores.
- 798 Art Festival. Visit Beijing's 798 Art District, a bohemian cluster of trendy galleries, when it spills over with even more contemporary art than usual during its annual festival . Local venues feature special exhibitions and performances, while outdoor sculpture displays take over the streets.
- China Open Tennis Tournament: On the ATP and WTA tours, this tournament features world pros competing at Beijing's National Tennis Center, a former Olympic venue. The steep stands in the lotus-flower-shaped courts offer excellent views of every match.
- National Day. Brave the crowds on October 1st as National Day celebrations happen around Beijing. Marking the day the Communist Party came into power, the events include floral sculptures along Chang'an Street, concert series and large-scale fireworks displays in major parks.
- Beijing's Music Festival. One of the city's most popular events, the festival brings the best of Western classical music (including classical jazz, opera and chamber music) to the heart of the Chinese capital. Performances and master classes take place in grand city venues, such as the Forbidden City Concert Hall.
- Christmas is not a major holiday in China, but you'll find Beijing's saavier restaurants and bars catering to expats and diplomats, as well as winter tourists, with Christmas promotions. There is even a small Christmas market.
UTC +8 hours
Mandarin and English
The electrical current in China is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC). Adapters are available in guest rooms; additional ones can be requested through the Concierge.
Monday – Thursday
10:00 am – 9:30 pm
Friday – Sunday
10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Monday – Friday
8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Best available room rate. Our most flexible option.
CHINESE PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN 2017
|New Year's Day||January 1|
|Spring Festival||Jan 27–29|
|Tomb Sweeping Day||April 4|
|Labour Day||May 1|
|Dragon Boat Festival||May 30|
|National Day||October 1–3|
|Mid-Autumn Festival||October 4|