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Inside the National Library of China | © IQRemix / Flickr
Inside the National Library of China | © IQRemix / Flickr

The 11 Best Things to See and Do in Haidian, Beijing

Picture of Yufan Lu
Updated: 5 February 2018

The northwestern Beijing district of Haidian is multifaceted: it has the largest concentration of top universities in China; it boasts both the wonders of nature (Fragrant Hills, Phoenix Mountain) and the masterpieces of Chinese landscape garden design (the Summer Palace); it is also home to Beijing’s Silicon Valley, Zhongguancun. There are too many things to see and do in Haidian, but Culture Trip has managed to pick 11 to get you started.

Visit the Summer Palace on a sunny day

The Summer Palace was a prestigious imperial garden built in the Qing dynasty. As it was planned at the height of the dynasty, the palace reflects the top level of the Chinese landscape garden design. In the summer, there are marvelous blossoms of lotus flowers in the lake; in the winter, the Kunming Lake is turned into a ice skating playground. You mustn’t miss the Long Corridor by the lake – you’ll be amazed by the play of light and shadow caused by the corridor’s structure.

19 Xinjiangongmen Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China, +8610 62881144


Long Corridor, Summer Palace | © Kallgan / WikiCommons

See the Old Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is amazing, but it can’t compare with the Old Summer Palace, known as the “Garden of Gardens” in its heyday. But since the palace was destroyed by a fire set by the joint Anglo-French army during the Second Opium War, today you can only imagine the garden from its ruins.

28 Qinghua Xilu, Haidian District, Beijing, China, +8610 62628501


The Dashuifa Site of the Old Summer Palace | © Liu Zhuosheng / WikiCommons

Tour around the Peking University and the Tsinghua University

The two top universities in China, the dream destination for numerous Chinese high school students, are neighbors based in Haidian District. Stop by the lakeside of the Weiming Lake and watch the Boya Tower as dusk falls; take a stroll in the Tsinghua Garden, and see the vigorous youths flying past you on their bicycles – it just might give you the urge to go back to uni for a moment.

Peking University, 5 Yiheyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China

Tsinghua University, 30 Shuangqing Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China


Weiming Lake and the Boya Tower | © Pixabay

Go to the Beijing Forestry University in autumn

The best time of year to visit Beijing is autumn. One significant reason is that the gingko leaves only turn golden in autumn. Most people in Beijing know that Diaoyutai Gingko Boulevard is a nice place to appreciate gingko, but only the locals go to the much less popular, but beautiful all the same, Beijing Forestry University for the golden scenery.

35 Qinghua Donglu, Haidian District, Beijing, China

母校的银杏叶 #北京林业大学 #specialday #黑胖胖❤️

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Have an evening drink at LUSH

Beijing’s Wudaokou has a nickname: “the Center of the Universe.” That’s not only because of the shopping mall named “U-Center” in Wudaokou, but also thanks to the fact that the area boasts a large concentration of overseas students. The restaurant and bar LUSH is these overseas students’ base camp.

1 Huaqing Jiayuan, Haidian District, Beijing, China, +8610 82863566

Watch a movie at the China Film Archive

The China Film Archive is one of China’s most prestigious arthouse cinemas. Different from the ordinary cinemas that only screen the latest blockbusters, the CFA carefully choose critically acclaimed films from China and abroad for cinephiles. You may check their monthly movie list here.

3 Wenhuiyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China, +8610 82296008

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Read at the National Library of China

The most important library of China, with the largest collection of Chinese books, journals and newspapers, is located in Haidian District. It’s got more books in other languages than most other Chinese libraries, too. Even if you fail to find a foreign language book here, you may also try your luck at the nearby Beijing Foreign Studies University library.

33 Zhongguancun Nandajie, Haidian District, Beijing, China, +8610 88544114


Inside the National Library of China | © IQRemix / Flickr

Visit the Military Museum

The Military Museum is one of the ten buildings constructed in Beijing in the 1950s to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It is characteristic of a zealous age when the Great Leap Forward campaign was on the rise. It is now home to a collection of 340,000 military artifacts, a large proportion of which tell the outstanding achievements of the Chinese army.

9 Fuxing Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China, +8610 66866244

Have a cup of coffee at the 3W Coffee

The start-up fever in the Zhongguancun Hi-Tech Development Zone has even extended to the cafés in the area. They flaunt the banner of being a “start-up café,” attracting the single-minded start-up entrepreneurs and speculators who fill the cafés with tension. What makes the 3W Coffee stand out is that it was once visited by the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his tour of the start-up hub in 2015. The café even put the vanilla cappuccino that Li had tried under the name of “Premier’s Coffee” on its menu.

70 Haidian Xidajie, Haidian District, Beijing, China, +8610 56232857

#3wcoffee 总理咖啡😳

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Buy a book at the All Sages Bookstore

It’s no exaggeration to say that the All Sages Bookstore is the Mecca of Beijing’s literati. It is a long-established bookstore that specializes in Chinese literature, art, and social studies. As the owners enjoy a certain prestige in Beijing’s academic scene, many scholars and writers like to hold lectures at the bookstore.

59-1 Chengfu Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China, +8610 62768748

Go on an outing in the Fenghuangling Nature Park

The Fenghuangling Nature Park, also known as Phoenix Mountain, is a national AAAA scenic spot that covers around 4,000 acres with its curiously shaped peaks, vast forest, and refreshing springs. It is not as beautiful as the Fragrance Hills Park in autumn, but on the contrary it is a less treaded place where you can see and smell unspoiled nature.

1 Fenghuangling Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China