The Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall in Tiananmen Square is a reminder that this vast plain once staged momentous events. Admire its symmetry and its modern spin on traditional Chinese architecture, built on a base of red Sichuan granite.
Dragon thrones, watch collections and Renaissance art are a fraction of the treasures of the Forbidden City. A quick tour of this maze-like palace complex takes 3 hours. It's unlikely that even its former residents managed to see each of the 8000 rooms.
The National Centre of Performing Arts, or The Egg, is a colossal titanium pod that seems to float on its man-made lake. This futuristic dome stages traditional opera and world-class contemporary performances from touring orchestras.
Don't Go Home Without
Discovering Beijing's hutongs. These alleyways were the city's arteries for centuries. Modernisation has led to their decline but many remain vital expressions of city life. Explore Yandaixie Street near the Back Lakes and shop at Nan Luogu Xiang.
Beijing is a city in perpetual flux with renovations affecting everything from the Subway to the Forbidden City. Ask Crowne Plaza Beijing International Airport for an up-to-date map and for tips on the best way to navigate this ever-changing metropolis.