2. Summer Palace
One of the greatest hidden gems in Beijing (well, maybe not “hidden,” but not as promoted as, say, the Forbidden City or Tiananmen), the Summer Palace is the largest royal garden in China, offering a much-needed natural respite from the cement playground that is Beijing. This historical summer retreat for China’s emperors is now open to and enjoyed by the “common folk,” and provides visitors with acres upon acres of mansions, temples, ancient pavilions, bridges and the massive lake of Kunming. Allow an all-day venture for the imperial retreat, as it covers over 10 square miles, and you’re not going to want to miss an inch of it.