Winter is Beijing’s off season, making it the quietest time to visit the city’s best attractions. While the cold can get bitter in this northern capital, the city’s charm is magnified anytime it gets a fresh blanket of snow. From temple festivals and winter sports to world-class museums, there’s plenty to do in Beijing in winter.
Go Ice Skating
Since Beijing winters tend to get very cold, the city’s ponds and lakes transform into picturesque outdoor skating rinks. Kunming Lake in the Summer Palace offers ice skating as well as ice biking, fishing and sledding.
Visit Beijing Museums
On those days when the wind and cold get too bitter for outdoor activities, stay inside with a tour of Beijing’s many museums and art galleries. Don’t miss the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, Beijing Capital Museum and National Museum of China, some of the best in the city.
Attend the Beijing Lantern Festival
If your visit to Beijing coincides with the tail end of Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), you’ll have the chance to experience a Chinese holiday tradition, the Lantern Festival. From mid-January through Mid-February, Beijing’s Longqing Gorge lights up with brilliant ice sculptures and traditional Chinese lanterns.
Hit the Slopes
China probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think skiing, but there are several worthy resorts in the vicinity of Beijing where you can get your powder fix during the winter months.
Bathe in Hot Springs
There’s nothing quite as relaxing as soaking in an outdoor hot springs pool as snow flakes gently fall around you. There’s no guarantee of snow, but the relaxation is a certainty when you visit one of Beijing’s hot springs resorts. Chunhuiyuan Hot Springs Resort, Jiuhua Spa & Resort and Huaxia Hot Springs are your best bets.
Eat Hot Pot
If you ask a local what they most love to eat in winter, they’ll probably tell you hot pot. The steaming cauldron of bubbling spicy stew where you cook your choice of raw vegetables and meats satisfies the appetite and takes even the deepest chill off.