Here I will share with you the best 20 things to do when you travel to Beijing with children.
Traveling to China with kids adds a whole new dimension to your planning. Moving to China with children is an even bigger undertaking. Beijing isn’t the most child-focused city in China (I’ve heard Shenzhen is) but there are still quite a few places to take the kids. There are other places that aren’t on this list which kids may enjoy, so be sure to check out my 101 things to do in Beijing list if you want even more inspiration.
Whether you’re a tourist or expat, if you are heading to Beijing with children, here’s a listicle of 20 activities and places that are child-friendly. Note, most places in China don’t provide English translations, so these activities are partially or entirely in Mandarin.
1. Beijing zoo
Who doesn’t love going to the zoo? While my favourite zoo in China will always be the Shanghai zoo, the Beijing one is also very well-respected. It has a lot of Chinese animals, including cute pandas!
2. Beijing aquarium
The aquarium is in the same area as the zoo, and is the place to go for an indoor family-friendly afternoon of fun.
3. Palaeozoological museum of China
If your kids are going through their dinosaur phase, they are going to LOVE the palaeozoological museum of China. It has dinosaur skeletons like you would not believe. I come from a country with no dinosaurs, so this place was very exciting for me to see!
4. China science and technology museum
A child-focused museum themed around cool science, intriguing technology, and plenty of hands-on displays for children to touch and learn from.
5. The Central Radio and TV tower
Kids will love the revolving panoramic restaurant at the top to get a bird’s eye view of the city!
6. The Great Wall of China
I recommend the Mutianyu section for kids, as it is less busy than Badaling, and Mutianyu section of the wall has a giant slide to come back down to the car park, which kids will adore.
7. Beijing botanical garden
In-season, the bright colours of the beautiful flowers will capture the imagination of adults and children alike. Not so great for children who run off by themselves at random.
8. Zizhuyuan Park.
This park and lake combo is great for burning off energy with older children after a trip to the zoo. You can also take mini-cruises on the lake.
9. Beijing Planetarium.
Near the zoo and aquarium, get there in the morning as there’s a ticket limit and they often sell out. Also, be sure to book for one of the shows or there’s not a lot to see.
10. Ice skating
There are several ice rinks around the centre of Beijing. My favourites are:
The All Star Ice Stadium skating rink (on the east side of town). They have a website (use Google Translate either from outside China or via a VPN to see it in English, or use WeChat Translate), find them here.
Century Star Ice Skating club (on the west side of town, in the North Star Mall). Another excellent rink for skating or taking lessons. Website here.
11. Happy Valley Beijing
A theme park with rollercoasters, a train and live shows!
12. Beijing international sculpture park
For older children, the sculpture park is sure to fascinate! It’s mostly outdoors so take an umbrella for rainy days or a face mask for pollution days.
13. Beijing Shijingshan Juvenile Children Library
If your children read Mandarin, or even Pinyin, they will love this children’s library!
14. The Chinese Museum of Women and Children
A museum specializing in the history of women and children in China’s past.
15. China National Children’s Theatre
A theatre focused on family-friendly productions for children to enjoy in Mandarin.
16. Ritan Park and playground
Ritan park has a decent play area for children and it’s free entry, perfect for little ones who would prefer running around to looking at the many historic buildings in Beijing.
17. Ritan miniature golf course
Around the corner from the park there’s crazy golf! Sure to be a hit with kids and adults.
18. Songqingling Children Science and Technology Hall.
Yuyuantan South Road, Haidian District
This is another science and technology museum for children. There is play equipment and educational displays. Fab for preschool kids and less busy than the other science and technology museum but not free to visit.
19. Beijing National Aquatics Center
A magnificent architectural building, this is the best place to go swimming and there’s also a water park. It was originally built for the Olympics. Perfect for kids!
20. Beijing Book Building
The biggest book shop in Beijing, offering a range of books including children’s books, English-language books and new publications. Five floors of books! Perfect for little bookworms.
What are your favourite places to go with children in Beijing? Share them in the comments so others can find them too!