7 brilliant museums about Beijing

Get to know the ins and outs of our fair city

It'll come as no surprise that Beijing is full of historical interest. What better way to soak up the history and culture of our fair city than by heading to one of the capital's enlightening eponymous museums.

Capital Museum (首都博物馆)

The Capital Museum tells the story of Beijing from when it was a few mere rice paddies right up until the founding of the People’s Republic, and tells it well. The chronological order of the artefacts on the first floor – laid out in a huge timeline – helps visitors understand the narrative of ...

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16 Fuxingmenwai Dajie (Xicheng, Xicheng)Free

Shijia Hutong Museum (史家胡同博物馆)

Beijing’s hutongs have continually evolved (and at worst disappeared) in face of the city’s rapid and unrelenting growth, though this museum, halfway down the eponymous tree-lined alley, documents the ways of hutong living back in the good old days. Exhibits including a mockup family home ...

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24 Shijia Hutong (Wangfujing, Dongcheng)

Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall (北京市规划展览馆)

One of Beijing’s heavy-hitters in the museum world, the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall boasts two unexpected features: it’s much more interesting than its name suggests, and it’s pretty poorly planned. Don’t let the lack of clear navigation around the building put you off, though; wherever ...

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20 Qianmen Dong Dajie (Tiananmen, Dongcheng)

Beijing Police Museum (北京警察博物馆)

Nothing to do with Sting, this is actually a masterclass in subtle agitprop, full of pictures of smiling coppers saving lives. The museum gives a full history of the city’s police from the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) to the present day, using old uniforms, official papers and so on. Some ...

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36 Dongjiaomin Xiang (Tiananmen, Dongcheng)

Beijing Opera Museum (北京戏曲博物馆)

The mighty 200-year-old Huguang Guild Hall is the site of this museum, dedicated to one of the capital’s greatest cultural exports – the shrill and spectacular Peking opera. Inside the hall is the museum itself, a small but busy room that documents the history of both the building and the ...

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3 Hufang Lu (Xicheng, Xicheng)

Beijing Waterworks Museum (北京自来水博物馆)

Moisture is the essence of water, and water is the essence of one of Beijing’s most offbeat museum experiences. Formerly known, nay, famed as the Beijing Museum of Tap Water (in a city not exactly famed for the stuff), this place has in recent years moved home and upgraded, to become the more ...

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3 Xiangheyuan Jie (Dongzhimen, Dongcheng)

Red Star Erguotou Museum (北京二锅头酒博物馆)

The Red Star Erguotou Museum – way up in Huairou district – is worth the journey. Incredibly clean and well-maintained, the entire complex is a factory that’s still used to distil vats and vats of Erguotou – a brand of the throat-burning clear spirit, baijiu. At the entrance a ...

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1 Hongxing Lu

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