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Cultural Treasures

China’s massive capital city is a study in contrast. Find ancient relics housed in cutting-edge architectural wonders, centuries-old temples sharing a skyline with modern skyscrapers, and narrow, winding hutongs tucked next to wide swaths of cypress tree-lined green spaces. Spend three days savoring Beijing’s cultural treasures, from the enigmatic Forbidden City to the contemporary Arts District and more.

Day

1

MORNING
  • The Heart of Beijing.

    Plan to spend the entire morning exploring the epic Forbidden City. Start with the central destinations like the Palace Museum and Hall of Supreme Harmony, but don’t miss the less trodden eastern and western perimeters of this massive UNESCO World Heritage site.

MIDDAY
  • Soaring Souvenir.

    On the way to your next destination, stop by the family-run Three Stones Kite Company to peruse the stock of exquisite handmade kites. Choose among the colorful butterflies, fish, turtles and more, crafted from paper or silk. Flying kites is a popular pastime in China.  

  • Panoramic City View.

    North of the Forbidden City, the Drum Tower is situated next to the Bell Tower. There’s no need to ascend the steep steps of both, so choose the former to hear a musical performance on replicas of the drums that inhabit the tower and to see panoramic views of Beijing.  

AFTERNOON
  • Spa Break.

    The 90-minute Imperial Treasures massage draws on traditional Chinese acupressure and an herbal poultice to refresh the senses. The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Beijing, Financial Street is an inviting haven in the middle of the bustling city.

EVENING
  • Night at the Opera.

    Affectionately nicknamed the Giant Egg, the National Centre for the Performing Arts is a visually stunning titanium and glass dome that features traditional Peking operas as well as ballets, concerts and other performances. Spend a pleasant evening exploring the building’s architecture and taking in a show.

Day

2

MORNING
  • Early Art Education.

    Enjoy an art-filled morning browsing some of the 100,000 pieces — including an impressive collection of 20th-century modern Chinese works — at the National Art Museum of China.

MIDDAY
  • Take a Shopping Detour.

    Located next to The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street the Seasons Place Shopping Mall is the perfect place to find a special gift or pick up a new suit for your next business meeting. Home to a variety of international luxury brands such as Bottega Veneta, Brioni, Chloe, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, I.T, Louis Vuitton, MaxMara and Salvatore Ferragamo, the mall also provides a full range of dining selections. Be sure to peruse the wares at the Lane Crawford Department store, which has been a shopping destination since 1850.

  • Lunch Break.

    Stop for a quick lunch at any one of Beijing’s many dumpling shops. The Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung specializes in tender xiao long bao (steamed buns and soup dumplings) adored by locals and has locations peppered throughout the city.  

AFTERNOON
  • Beijing’s Past.

    Just west of The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street, the Capital Museum showcases over 200,000 cultural relics, including paintings, calligraphy, jade and porcelain — many unearthed in the capital city — in a sleek, glass-walled building.

EVENING
  • Decadent Dinner.

    Return to the hotel for an elegant and relaxing dinner at Qi, specializing in traditional Cantonese cuisine with a contemporary twist using seasonal ingredients.  

Day

3

MORNING
  • Exercise or Unwind.

    Even if an early exercise session isn’t appealing, take a dip in the hotel’s heated lap pool or relax in the sauna or steam room before embarking on another exciting day.

MIDDAY
  • Spot the Bird’s Nest.

    Constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing National Stadium is also known as the Bird’s Nest for its crisscrossing steel beams and open-air top. Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron led the project that was inspired by Chinese ceramics, with famed Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei consulting.

AFTERNOON
  • Explore the Beijing Arts District.

    Northeast of the city center, not far from the stadium, find the 798 Arts District. Spend an afternoon in the repurposed factories now filled with contemporary art, cafés and design shops, and soak up the creative energy buzzing around you. Don’t miss the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, and stop in at Spin Ceramics for some of the city’s most beautiful contemporary ceramics made by hand using traditional Chinese techniques.  

EVENING
  • A Different Kind of Art.

    Just west of Temple of Heaven, Wansheng Juchang is the performance center that’s home to the Beijing Acrobatic Troupe. The traditional Chinese art combines body contortion, jumping and plate spinning for an entertaining evening.