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Forbidden City

This formerly restricted imperial palace complex is now a public museum that shows the splendor of the old China. It is one of Beijing’s most impressive sites.

The Forbidden City is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in Beijing, and in fact, the whole of China. For hundreds of years, only the royal entourage was allowed to enter  through the formidable walls, which is why the complex earned the name “Forbidden City.” Since 1925, its opulent plazas have been open to the public, attracting millions of tourists each year.

Surrounded by a moat and a high wall with corner watchtowers, this vast complex of ancient wooden palaces and religious structures was once a residence for Chinese emperors. Now managed by the Palace Museum, the authentic buildings, antique collections and manicured gardens within the compound are carefully preserved.

Most visitors spend at least half a day in the vast Forbidden City. Enter through the Gate of Heavenly Peace and pick up a map or digital audio tour at the ticketing office. Browse the expansive site with nearly a 1,000 structures yourself, or hire a reputable guide.

See if you can spot the architectural influences of many different cultures and enter the old halls and pavilions to find precious artifacts. See rare bronze objects, old paintings and everyday household items, which give you insight into what life was like behind these imperial walls.

You can’t miss the extravagant five-arch Meridian Gate and the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the largest among the many grand and lavishly decorated ceremonial halls in the complex. To end your visit, stroll through the Imperial Garden and exit through the Gate of Divine Might.

Located in the heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City is easy to reach on foot, or by bike or public transport. The subway Tian'anmen East and West stations are close to the South Gate. A city bus circles the complex on the outside, so you can get from one side to the other in a short time. Visit on a weekday if you want to avoid large crowds.


Guide to Exploring around Forbidden City


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Forbidden City

See all 1,265 Properties near Forbidden City
Grand Hyatt Beijing ¥18,119
Grand Hyatt Beijing

Grand Hyatt Beijing

1 East Chang An Avenue, Beijing, Beijing
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Dongdan, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Wangfujing Street, National Museum of China, and Tiananmen Square. Oriental Plaza and Forbidden City are also within 2 mi (3 km). Wangfujing Station is 6 minutes by foot and Dengshikou Station is 14 minutes.

    Hotel Kapok - Forbidden City
    Hotel Kapok - Forbidden City

    Hotel Kapok - Forbidden City

    16 Donghuamen Street, Beijing, Beijing
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dong Hua Men Night Market and Wangfujing Street. Forbidden City and The Palace Museum are also within 15 minutes. Dengshikou Station is 8 minutes by foot and Wangfujing Station is 14 minutes.

      Jade Garden Hotel Beijing Forbidden City
      Jade Garden Hotel Beijing Forbidden City

      Jade Garden Hotel Beijing Forbidden City

      No 1 Nanheyan Street, Beijing, Beijing
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dong Hua Men Night Market, Forbidden City, and The Palace Museum. Wangfujing Street and Tiananmen Square are also within 15 minutes. Dengshikou Station is 14 minutes by foot and Tian'anmen East Station is 18 minutes.

        Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing Hotel ¥16,609
        Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing Hotel

        Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing Hotel

        57 Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Downtown Beijing, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of National Art Museum of China and Wangfujing Street. Forbidden City and The Palace Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Dongsi Station is 11 minutes by foot and Dengshikou Station is 13 minutes.

          Hua Fu International Hotel Beijing
          Hua Fu International Hotel Beijing

          Hua Fu International Hotel Beijing

          53 Dongchengmen Avenue, Beijing, Beijing
             
            0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dong Hua Men Night Market, Wangfujing Street, and Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square and The Palace Museum are also within 15 minutes. Dengshikou Station is 12 minutes by foot and Wangfujing Station is 13 minutes.

            Beijing Xihua Jade Hotel Forbidden City ¥7,493
            Beijing Xihua Jade Hotel Forbidden City

            Beijing Xihua Jade Hotel Forbidden City

            No. 5 North Zhide Alley, Beiheyan Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Dong Hua Men Night Market, Forbidden City, and Wangfujing Street. Tiananmen Square and The Palace Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Dengshikou Station is 11 minutes by foot and Dongsi Station is 13 minutes.

              Tang Yue
              Tang Yue

              Tang Yue

              50-54 DONGHUAMEN STREET, DONGCHENGDISTRICT BEIJING P.R.C., Beijing, Beijin
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Downtown Beijing, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dong Hua Men Night Market, Wangfujing Street, and Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square and The Palace Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Dengshikou Station is 9 minutes by foot and Wangfujing Station is 12 minutes.

                Palace Hotel Forbidden City
                Palace Hotel Forbidden City

                Palace Hotel Forbidden City

                No.6 PuDusi Xi Xiang, Nanchizi Avenue, Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown Beijing, this guesthouse is within a 10-minute walk of Dong Hua Men Night Market, Wangfujing Street, and Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square and The Palace Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Dengshikou Station is 9 minutes by foot and Wangfujing Station is 13 minutes.