The Forbidden City was the Chinese palace between the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Although it served as the home to the emperors during these periods, it seemed to lack a homeliness with its vast open spaces and elaborate structures. That said, it was still marvelously detailed and colorful.
Tiananmen Square more than anything is an historical place. Unfortunately, the large concrete field that comprises the square almost pales in comparison to everything that has happened there. From government demonstrations of power to citizen protests, this square has been a central part of Chinese political history.
Old Beijing Street is relatively new, but is meant to represent how a shopping area might look in times past. The Starbucks and Haagen-Dazs ice cream may take away a little from the authenticity, but even these modern shops are set in themed buildings.
Jingshan park, located just north of the Forbidden City offers a fun hike to the top of the city to get an appreciation of the vastness and the layout of Beijing.
The Summer Palace was probably one of my favorite spots in Beijing, and not only because I got to dress up like a king. It is set next to a beautiful lake and both the serenity of the nature it is near along with the grandeur of towering Chinese palaces. It was nice to stroll through the palace and next to the lake.
The Temple of Heaven, a place used for worship, again is comprised of awe-inspiring structures laid out in a very methodical manner. And again, similar to the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven is surrounded by thousands of trees.