Beijing, capital of China, was founded by Kublai Khan in 13th century and called Khanbalik. The Ming Emperors built the lavish Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) and peerless Temple of Heaven. Today, contrary to what you might expect, the city has large green parks and lakes, where emperors and empresses once composed poetry amidst nature.

Tiananmen Square
Forbidden City
Greater Beijing

Summer Palace
The Great Wall
Explore the hutongs - Hutongs are traditional Chinese neighborhoods, houses built around courtyards, like a village in the city. Kids will enjoy a fascinating glimpse into Chinese family life, and the best way to explore the hutongs is with a tour.
At your hotel, ask to arrange a Hello Beijing bicycle rickshaw (pedicab) tour - riding through the narrow alleys in a bicycle rickshaw is part of the fun. On the tour, you'll stop at a market, visit an elementary school, have tea and snacks in a Chinese home. The school classrooms are a real eye-opener, and it's great way for your kids to meet other Chinese kids. The tour is two hours long, has excellent English speaking guides, highly recommended by one family on their visit to Beijing.
Tip: Taking taxis is a convenient way to get from here to there in Beijing. At your hotel, have them write down your destination(s) in Chinese, so you can hand this to the taxi driver. (And be sure to get your hotel address with directions in Chinese for the return trip.) Or, if your Beijing map has destinations in English and Chinese, point on the map where you want the taxi to go. Use taxis with meters, so there's no problem about the fare.
Fun food
Beijing is chock a block with fun snacks or small meals. In the morning, try baozi (steamed filled buns) with doujiang (soy milk). Huntun (wonton soup), xianbing (flat pancake with vegetable and eggs), miantiao (noodles fried or boiled with meat and vegetables) are great for quick bites. Kids will have fun at a hotpot restaurant - thin sliced beef or lamb is dipped into a simmering soup to cook, along with noodles, tofu, vegetables etc. For a treats, try youtiao (sweet deep fried dough twists).
There's no shortage of places to shop in Beijing, from individual shopping streets to mega shopping centers. Look for silk purses and silk quilts, small carved swords, Mao caps, calligraphy brush sets, jade jewelry, wooden combs with figures of Chinese gods, pearl hair pins, beaded bags and shoes.

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