Explore Beijing, China

Districts of Beijing, China

Beijing Municipality is a large region, equal to a province or state. It includes the densely populated metropolitan area of Beijing and even greater area of suburban, semi-rural and mountainous terrain.

City districts

The two districts are located within or around the Second Ring Road and make-up the old walled city of yesteryear. Xicheng means West City and Dongcheng means East City. Surrounding these districts are Chaoyang, Fengtai and Hadian. These three districts hold impressive new urban and commercial development, have a population of many millions, and generate the economic prosperity of the city:

Dongcheng District

  • Covers the eastern half of the central city area approximately up to Third Ring Road to the north and Second Ring Road to the east and south. This is the most important tourist district of Beijing, including the Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square. Chongwen is a former district covering the southern third of Dongcheng, including the Temple of Heaven. Other important areas are Wangfujing (Walking Street), Gulou (the Drum Tower and Nanlougouxiang), Yonghegong (Yonghe Lama Temple) and Dongzhimen.

Xicheng District

  • Covers the western half of the central city area to just beyond Second Ring Road in the west and up to Third Ring Road to the north and south. It includes Beihai Park, Shichahai/Houhai area, Xidan, Beijing Zoo and the National Centre for Performing Arts. Xuanwu is a former district covering the southern third of Xicheng.

Chaoyang District

  • Covers a large area east of the central city area stretching from Second Ring Road until slightly beyond Fifth Ring Road to the east. Includes the CBD, Sanlitun (the Village and Workers’ Stadium), Olympic Green (Birds Nest, Water Cube and other Olympic venues), 798 Art Zone, Chaoyang Park, Ritan Park and various embassy areas

Haidian District

  • Covers the northwest of the main urban area. It includes the New and Old Summer Palaces, Wudaokou, the Zhongguancun high technology industry and business cluster and Beijing’s major concentration of universities.

Fengtai District  

  • covers the area south and west of Beijing. It includes Beijing West Railway Station

Outer suburbs and rural Beijing

The remaining eleven districts and counties are quite far from the centre. The main reason to go out is to visit the Great Wall of China, passing through Northern Rural Beijing. Each of the other districts has a number of less well-known attractions, such as the Ming Tombs, well worth exploring if time permits.

  • Shijingshan District covers the area just west of the main urban area, including parts of the Western Hills.
  • Tongzhou District
  • Northern suburbs (Changping and Shunyi )
  • Western and southern suburbs (Mentougou, Fangshan, Daxing)
  • Rural Beijing (Yanqing, Huairou, Miyun and Pinggu)

The Great Wall passes through this northern mountainous area.