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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


Best Lodging Options Near Forbidden City

See all 1,327 Properties near Forbidden City
Hilton Beijing Wangfujing ¥12,932
Hilton Beijing Wangfujing

Hilton Beijing Wangfujing

8 Wangfujing East Street, Dongcheng, Beijing, Beijing
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Beijing hotel is located in the business district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Wangfujing Street, Forbidden City, and The Palace Museum. Tiananmen Square and Tiananmen are also within 1 mi (2 km). Dengshikou Station is 8 minutes by foot and Wangfujing Station is 11 minutes.

    Grand Hyatt Beijing ¥12,919
    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 5-minute walk of Oriental Plaza and Wangfujing Street. National Museum of China and Tiananmen Square are also within 15 minutes. Wangfujing Station is 6 minutes by foot and Dengshikou Station is 14 minutes.

      Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing ¥9,395
      Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing

      Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing

      97 Jinbao St., Dongcheng District, Beijing, Beijing
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Dongdan, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Dong Hua Men Night Market and Wangfujing Street. Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are also within 2 mi (3 km). Dengshikou Station is 9 minutes by foot and Dongdan Station is 15 minutes.

        Novotel Beijing Peace ¥8,209
        Novotel Beijing Peace

        Novotel Beijing Peace

        No 3 Jinyu Hutong, Beijing, Beijing
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly Beijing hotel is located in the historical district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Wangfujing Street, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen. Tiananmen Square and Beihai Park are also within 2 mi (3 km). Dengshikou Station is only a 5-minute walk 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 Wangfujing Station is 14 minutes.

            Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing Hotel ¥13,798
            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 15 minutes. 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 ¥2,275
                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.