Beijing's best city parks

Enjoy the outdoors without traveling out of the city at one of these parks


Beihai Park 北海公园

Beihai Park 北海公园

Beihai Park has a wonderful atmosphere all year round and is one of the biggest and most picturesque in the city. Over a thousand years old, Beihai served as an imperial pleasure ground for five dynasties. Its 69 hectares are filled with halls, pavilions, gateways and gardens – many of them built during the culturally proficient Emperor Qianlong’s dynasty. Its main feature is the Tibetan White Dagoba temple on the lake’s central Qiong islet. You can take a boat on to the lake when it’s not frozen and the park is also popular with old people exercise here in the mornings.

Beihai Park 1 Wenjin Jie, Xicheng district. Open June-Aug 6:30am-10pm daily, Sept-Oct 6am-9pm daily, Nov 6:30am-8:30pm daily. 西城区文津街1号


Best spot The White Dagoba is a must-see for tourists (though the same can be said for most of the park). While the Forbidden City crowds are heading into Jingshan, walk west and enjoy the extra space and more peaceful atmosphere at Beihai. 

Food A few Chinese restaurants are near the southern gate and there’s a handful of snack shops for a small bite or drink. 

Hours June-Aug 6.30am-10pm, Sept-Oct 6am-9pm, Nov 6.30am-8.30 pm. 

Entry 10 RMB

Chaoyang Park朝阳公园

Chaoyang Park朝阳公园

Beijing’s biggest and most popular city park. If you don’t mind crowds and lots of walking Chaoyang has everything from paths for walking and running, a lake, sports facilities and more. For families, the amusement rides make this like a mini Disneyland and is perfect for young children.

Chaoyang Park 1 Nongzhan Nan Lu, Chaoyang district. Open 6am-10pm daily. 朝阳区农展馆南路1号


Best spot Chaoyang Park is massive, but what we love is that it is just like a carnival. A bit of what's on offer is a haunted house (30RMB), bumper cars (20RMB), shooting games (5RMB a round to win a huge cuddly toy) and a sky trail (60RMB) which consists of you being strapped onto the climbing equipment and jumping from one piece to the next. 

Food There are lots of little stalls selling a variety of Chinese favorites, such as cow stomach (10 RMB) and duck blood noodles (15 RMB). If you are feeling a little less adventurous there are lamb skewers (20 RMB) or ice cream (15 RMB), plus plenty of places selling snack food. 

Boating A variety of electric and pedal-powered boats are available to rent. Depending on the type you choose the cost ranged from 10RMB to 10-15RMB per 30 minutes 

Hours Everything at the park is open from 6 am – 5pm however the park stays open until 10pm. 

Entry 5RMB, 2RMB (students)

Ditan Park 地坛公园

Ditan Park 地坛公园

Formerly known as Jing Zhao Park, Di Tan Park was once the site of religious worship in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Remnants of its rich historical past remain tucked among cricket courts and playgrounds. Visit the Earth God Worship House and Fangze Tan which don’t feel touristy or commercialised. There are no souvenir shops like similar sites around Beijing and they give off vibes of rustic authenticity that offer a glimpse of the past.

Ditan Park Andingmen Wai Dajie, Dongcheng district. Open 6am-9pm daily. 东城区安定门外大街


Must see Head to the northeast gate to watch one of the many weekly cricket matches. You can also sign up to play on a team. Walk along the path and take a stroll through the outdoor courtyards. People gather here to drink tea and play cards, you can see why—the courtyard is spacious and has many intricate statues. 

Food There were no restaurants located in the park. Luckily Wudaoying hutong is just a stones throw away. 

Hours 6am-8.30 pm 

Entry 2RMB

Purple Bamboo Park  紫竹院公园

Purple Bamboo Park 紫竹院公园

Located next to the National Library and although the bamboo is abundant, it is neither black nor purple. The park is lively with groups doing tai chi and lounging on the benches. If crowds aren’t your thing the park offers many other places to get away, up on a grassy hillside or on a tucked-away spot by the water. It’s a nice place to socialize with friends or relax and unwind in an idyllic setting.

Purple Bamboo Park 35 Zhongguancun Nan Dajie, Haidian district. Open 6am-9pm daily. 海淀区中关村南大街35号


Best spot The waterside pavilion to sit alongside the lake. The shady trees and passing boats make it an ideal place to set up a picnic. Escape the crowds to wander off the beaten path and you might happen upon secluded enclaves with picturesque small bridges and gazebos. 

Food The park doesn’t offer too many food options aside from the standard skewers but there are a few teahouses scattered throughout the park. You can choose from a wide variety of Chinese teas and enjoy them all al fresco on the patio. 

Boating Boats seat up to 14 people and cost 10RMB a person for each 20 minutes. A rower mans each boat so all you need to do is sit back and relax, 

Hours 6am-9pm 

Entry Free

Ritan Park 日坛公园

Ritan Park 日坛公园

One of Beijing’s more peaceful parks. Ritan is one of the best spots to see old folk practise t’ai chi, swordplay or twirling napkins in the morning without hordes of tourists flooding the place. If you’re looking for a bit of activity yourself try the climbing wall, children’s play park or local exercise yard filled with seniors that will put you to shame.

Ritan Park 6 Ritan Bei Lu, Chaoyang district. Open 6am-8pm daily. 北京市朝阳区日坛北路6号


Best spot Head to the Stone Boat Café (or the general facility) to listen to live bands on Friday nights during the summer. It's primarily blues and jazz bands on stage.

Food This park has a few of restaurants, so is perfect to take someone on a working lunch or date. Try the Stone Boat Café for drinks and snacks or Schofferhofer Weizen for German food and beers. 

Hours 6am-midnight 

Entry Free

Tuanjiehu Park 团结湖公园

Tuanjiehu Park 团结湖公园

At dusk (or dawn) you’ll find, dotted in concrete courtyards and beneath willow trees, locals congregating. Elderly men and women practice tai chi; ordinarily timid office workers jump up and down to vigorous aerobics routines; and amorous couples stare longingly at each other while lilting to the Viennese Waltz. Elsewhere, old comrades bellow out communist, red songs under dimly-lit rotundas; university students feed docile carp from a stone bridge running over a lake and children float around on peddle boats while their parents watch on.

Tuanjiehu Park 16 Tuanjiehu Nanli Chaoyang district. Open 10am-9pm daily. 朝阳区团结湖南里16号. 


Best spot Head to the lake. There are plenty of benches for a snacking or picnicking spot. 

Food You’ll need to bring your own snacks into the park. Outside the gates you’ll find lots of local options and 

Hours 6.30am–7pm 

Entry Free



This garden is a historical landmark and a popular tourist destination. The park offers plenty of options. You can explore the ruins and learn about its history or lounge by the lakeside. The park is very big but you can pay for a tram ride to get around faster and see more the park. (Avoid the gallery of zodiac animals on weekends, it’s way too crowded. The Black Swan Lake is also pretty disappointing with only three black swans).

Yuan Ming Yuan 28 Qinghua Xi Lu, Haidian district. 海淀区清华西路28号 Open 7am-7pm daily. 


Best spot The Fuhai area provides very historically significant context. The garden ruins give you a peek of the destruction caused by the Opium Wars and is a good place to channel your inner Indiana Jones. There’s also a maze where guests can try to find their way to a gazebo. It’s not very challenging and you can figure it out fairly quickly just by following the path of those exiting the maze. It’s a fun idea but avoid this when it’s crowded when you’ll just end up dodging swarms of toddlers instead. 

Food In addition to the many refreshment stands offering hot dogs on a stick or a Chinese pancake, there are a few fast food restaurants. Fast eats like braised pork and rice and beef noodles are available. There are also a few restaurants that serve cafeteria-style dishes. 

Boating Rowers take passengers around the lake in a bigger version of a gondola. It’s not crowded and it’s a good way to see further expanses of the park without walking. 20RMB per person per 30 minutes. 

Hours (seasonal) May-Aug 7am-9pm; Apr, Sep-Oct 7am-8.30pm; Jan-Mar 7am-7.30pm 

Entry 10RMB gets you to the lake but for 25RMB, you get access to the unrestored ruins of the gardens.

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