10 Things to Do in Beijing in July

July is one of the hottest months of the Beijing summer and the temperature can be sweltering, but it is also the month of festivals - check them out!

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

12 min read

10 Things to Do in Beijing in July

Beijing | ©Mr Thinktank

Summer is high season in Beijing, but it's still an ideal time for visitors looking to avoid the extreme cold of Beijing's winter. July, in particular, is one of the hottest months and also one of the wettest, so rain is common, but it's also the month of festivals and major celebrations.

Take in the best views of the skyline from the Olympic Tower, attend the Dance Festival, visit the Water Cube water park, get discounted tickets to the city's museums and enjoy the Beer Festival. Discover all the plans that characterise this month of the year.

1. Experience the Beijing Arts Celebration

Beijing Arts| ©Karen Roe
Beijing Arts| ©Karen Roe

Held every year in July, the Beijing International Performing Arts Festival presents a wide variety of performances, from traditional Chinese opera to ballet, experimental theatre and contemporary dance. The aim is to promote culture and the arts, as well as to foster international cultural exchange and cooperation, so if you're interested in local idiosyncrasies, it might be of interest to you.

It takes place in various venues around the city, including theatres, concert halls and open-air spaces, some close to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, so it's ideal once you've finished your tour of Beijing with the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The participating artists and groups come from both China and other Asian countries, allowing you to get to know different cultures and artistic styles. There are also parallel activities such as art exhibitions, workshops and conferences.

Admission to this festival has an initial cost of approximately €5 per person and some shows last less than an hour, so it is even compatible with a short stay in the city. If this is your case, here is a list of activities you can do to discover Beijing in 2 days.

Book a tour of Beijing with the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

2. Participate in the Beijing Beer Festival

Beijing Beer| ©Mr Thinktank
Beijing Beer| ©Mr Thinktank

The Beijing Beer Festival is one of the most popular non-traditional events in Beijing and is held every year in July in the Olympic Park. There you can enjoy a wide range of local and international craft beers, along with a wide variety of food and live music.

During the festival, the park is transformed into a kind of beer city, with several stages, commercial stalls and many food trucks that are part of Beijing's best food tours. Admission is free and includes access to see live bands and musicians performing and providing a festive and lively atmosphere.

This festival is an excellent opportunity to experience China's beer culture, taste local and worldwide beers, and enjoy the atmosphere of the city. It's an event that attracts thousands of visitors every year and is popular with locals and tourists alike - you won't want to miss it! And if you're left wanting to delve further into the local cuisine, book a food tour by tuk tuk.

Book a gastronomic tuk tuk tour

3. Attend the Beijing International Music Festival

Festival in the City| ©chinnian
Festival in the City| ©chinnian

The International Music Festival is an annual event held in July in Beijing since 1998 and has become one of the largest and most popular music festivals in China. During the 2 weeks of the festival, the city becomes a live music stage, with performances by local and international artists in various genres of music such as classical, opera, jazz, pop and rock.

The festival also includes cultural events, art exhibitions, educational programmes and even traditional Kung Fu shows. It also features unique collaborations and fusions of different cultures and musical genres performed by some of the world's leading artists such as Lang Lang, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell and Plácido Domingo.

If you want to enjoy a touring event in different parts of the city, this festival is a unique opportunity to enjoy music and culture in a vibrant setting, and is a celebration of music and cultural diversity in China and around the world, as well as one of the best things to do at night in Beijing.

4. Be dazzled by the Summer Palace

Panda Garden| ©Joaquín Montaño - Midjourney
Panda Garden| ©Joaquín Montaño - Midjourney

What better time than July to book a tour that includes a visit to the Summer Palace along with the Lama Temple and the Panda Garden, an experience of approximately seven hours in which you will discover some of the most emblematic places in Beijing with an expert guide who will give you all the details, stories and anecdotes of these enclaves.

On this tour you will also immerse yourself in Chinese gastronomy and enjoy a traditional Chinese lunch. And for your convenience, you should know that pick-up and return transfers from the hotels located in the centre are included.

Plus, if you bring your little ones along, they'll love watching the pandas play in the Panda Garden, so get your camera ready for some great shots!

Book a tour of the Summer Palace

5. Have fun at the Beijing Kite Festival

Kite Festival| ©Joe Tym
Kite Festival| ©Joe Tym

The International Kite Festival, an annual event held in July in Beijing, is one of the largest kite gatherings in the world, attracting participants and spectators from all over the world. For a few days, it changes the skyline of the Great Wall of China and fills the sky with kites.

It is organised in Chaoyang Park and, during the event, you can see thousands of kites of all shapes and sizes, from traditional Chinese kites to modern kites with creative designs, making it one of the best activities to do with children in the capital. In addition to the kite display, the festival also features kite races, parades and aerobatic kite flying shows. There are also food and drink stalls, as well as activities for children.

This colourful event, which is free of charge, offers a unique opportunity to experience Chinese culture and tradition through kite making. If you find yourself in Beijing during July, this is one event you won't want to miss.

6. Attend Beijing Dance Festival

Dancers in Beijing| ©Ben
Dancers in Beijing| ©Ben

If you want to be part of one of the Chinese capital's traditional events, you can't miss the Dance Festival, an annual event held in July that features a variety of dance styles, from classical and contemporary to ethnic and traditional dances.

This festival takes place in various venues across the city, including theatres, concert halls and outdoor spaces. Some of the most prominent venues include the National Opera House of China, the Poly Theatre, the Tianqiao Theatre and the Capital Theatre, which is one of Beijing's classic venues.

Note that ticket prices are cheap at around €75 per person, although in some cases you may be able to find tickets for €15 or €20 if you book in advance. In any case, I recommend that you don't miss this event, which is one of the main events in Beijing during the summer.

7. Enjoy the Dragon Boat Festival

Kunming Lake| ©Kasia Halka
Kunming Lake| ©Kasia Halka

The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditionally Chinese event held every year on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which in the Gregorian calendar usually falls in July. It commemorates the death of the poet and patriot Qu Yuan and is celebrated throughout the country as well as in other parts of the world with large Chinese communities.

In Beijing, the Dragon Boat Festival takes place on Kunming Lake in Yuyuantan Forest Park. During the festival, teams of dragon boats, decorated with dragons and other popular Chinese motifs, compete in a race on the lake. You can get there by Metro, bus or taxi, or on Beijing's hop-on-hop-off sightseeing buses.

Admission to the park is generally free during the festival, but you may have to pay a fee to participate in certain activities or attractions. Another typical custom of this celebration is eating zongzi, a glutinous rice cake filled with different ingredients.

8. Visit the Great Wall of China on an organised tour

Great Wall of China| ©Joaquín Montaño - Midjourney
Great Wall of China| ©Joaquín Montaño - Midjourney

And of course, the ultimate plan, no matter what time of year you travel, is the Great Wall of China tour, an experience that lasts no less than eight hours.

It includes transfers to and from the Badaling section and the sacred Ming Tombs, the cemetery of the ancient emperors, where you will see three of the tombs with a local guide who will tell you the stories, curiosities and anecdotes of both sites.

To top it all off, you'll enjoy a delicious lunch of traditional Chinese dishes and explore the Longdi Jade Factory.

Book a Great Wall of China Tour

9. Take refuge from the heat in the shopping malls

Oriental Plaza| ©chinaretail
Oriental Plaza| ©chinaretail

July can be extremely hot in Beijing and an alternative option to take refuge from the heat is to visit the city's shopping malls, many of which are located in iconic locations, allowing visitors to soak up Beijing's vibrant atmosphere and take a break between each attraction.

Some of the city's largest and most popular shopping centres are the Oriental Plaza Shopping Centre or the Yansha Shopping Centre, both of which have retail outlets, but also cinemas, restaurants, spas and beauty salons, so you can spend an entire afternoon there if you wish. In Beijing's urban area you can also visit the Silk Market.

The city's shopping malls are a great place to take shelter from the heat in July, but they also offer much more than just air-conditioning. So if you're visiting Beijing in summer, feel free to explore these places while enjoying the cool atmosphere and all the services they have to offer.

10. Get discount tickets for the city's museums

Capital Museum| ©Gary Todd
Capital Museum| ©Gary Todd

During your visit in July you can visit Beijing's best museums and it's the ideal month to do it on a budget, as during the summer most of the exhibitions offer discounted tickets or days when you can get in for free, such as Mondays.

Other alternatives to get cheap tickets are to buy them in advance online, use discount coupons, which many tourist service providers offer when you book other excursions, or choose a guided tour that includes a visit to the city's main museums.

Bear in mind that during the hot summer, a visit to a museum is not only an economical option due to the discounts available, but also a good way to enjoy a cool environment away from the sweltering temperatures of the city's open-air attractions.

11. Take in the best views of the city from the Olympic Tower

Olympic Tower| ©edward stojakovic
Olympic Tower| ©edward stojakovic

The Beijing Olympic Tower was built for the 2008 Olympic Games and, at 258 metres tall, is one of the city's iconic structures. From here you can get spectacular views of the city and its surroundings and although it can be visited at any time of the year, July is especially recommended for viewing the Beijing skyline on a clear day.

In July the city of Beijing has warm weather, which means that the views from the tower are especially clear and sharp. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the city, including the skyscrapers of the financial district, the historic hutongs and the majestic Summer Palace. It's also the ideal time to watch the sunset from the tower's main observatory and to discover the exact moment when the sun slowly sinks behind the mountains surrounding the city and the Olympic Village.

Also in July, the Olympic Park is the site of the Olympic Beer Festival, so you can enjoy a wide variety of craft beers, local food and live entertainment while taking in the views from the tower.

Interesting details

  • Price: Entrance to the tower observatory costs approximately €10 per person.
  • Location: Olympic Village, Beijing.
  • Opening hours: Every day from 8.30am to 10pm.

12. Get a taste of the local cuisine with a tuk tuk tour

Woman cooking| ©Joaquín Montaño - Midjourney
Woman cooking| ©Joaquín Montaño - Midjourney

Another ideal suggestion for a summer evening in July is to book a gastronomic tour of Beijing in a tuk tuk, where you can explore the hutongs, the traditional alleyways of the old town, while enjoying different dishes and flavours in the stalls and restaurants in the area.

Plus, you won't have to rack your brains over where to eat, because you'll be accompanied by an expert guide who will take you to the best corners of the local cuisine to sample the tastiest dishes and craft beers you'll love.

Get to know the local flavours of traditional dishes, such as noodles and wraps, and captivate your palate in a most original activity.

Book a gastronomic tour of Beijing by tuk tuk

13. Visit the Olympic Village's Water Cube Water Park

Water Park by night| ©Nick Richards
Water Park by night| ©Nick Richards

If you are planning to visit Beijing with children or want a different summer experience in the city, you can check out the Olympic Village Water Cube Water Park, which was built as part of the 2008 Olympic Games and features a variety of water attractions such as water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools and play areas for the little ones.

The water park is known for its distinctive architecture, which includes a translucent acrylic bubble façade that covers most of the building. The façade resembles a giant water bubble and gives the site its name. Outside the building you will also find swimming pools and a relaxation area with benches and umbrellas for lounging.

The entrance fee is around €30 per person for adults, but prices may increase during weekends or public holidays. In addition, the park also offers discounts for children, seniors and large groups. Tickets can be purchased online or at the park's ticket office. Note that in some cases it may be included in the best tours of Beijing, so you may be able to get better prices.

Interesting details

  • Price: Entrance to the water park costs approximately €30 for adults and €15 for children aged 5-12.
  • Location: Water Cube, Olympic Village, Beijing.
  • Opening hours: Every day from 9.30am to 5pm.

Temperatures in Beijing in July

Beijing in July| ©Brad McCarthy
Beijing in July| ©Brad McCarthy

In July the Chinese capital offers warm and humid weather with temperatures averaging 31°C, with lows of 20°C and highs of 35°C - a far cry from what you'll find if you visit during the autumn months, which is one of the best times to avoid the sweltering heat.

Be aware that the humidity can make the weather feel hotter and stickier than the actual temperatures suggest and this can lead to some showers, so always carry adequate clothing, a mackintosh and umbrella.

Booking a Beijing tour with the Great Wall of China

Beijing's tourist crowds in July

Forbidden City| ©Seba Della y Sole Bossio
Forbidden City| ©Seba Della y Sole Bossio

July is part of the peak season in Beijing, as it coincides with the Chinese summer and school holidays. This means that you will find a large influx of local and foreign tourists visiting the city.

Beijing's main tourist sites, such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China and the city's most famous temples, tend to be quite busy in July, with long queues for entry and crowds of people at the sights, so be aware that you may be delayed at the ticket booths.

To avoid long waits, I advise you to book accommodation and sightseeing in advance to avoid the crowds.

Booking a food tour of Beijing

Prices in Beijing in July

Summer Palace| ©cattan2011
Summer Palace| ©cattan2011

July is considered one of the high season months, which means that some prices may be higher than at other times of the year, especially for accommodation and food. Even so, it is an ideal month to enjoy the best things to see and do in Beijing.

Attraction prices can vary according to popularity and demand, but are also usually higher for the most popular activities such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. However, many attractions, such as museums, also offer discounts to students and senior citizens.

Prices for public transport, such as buses and the Metro, remain stable throughout the year, although you should note that July is an economical time to visit Beijing.

Book a Beijing Tour with the Summer Palace

What to pack for a visit to Beijing in July

Luggage| ©Ezequiel Garrido
Luggage| ©Ezequiel Garrido

July is one of the hottest months of the year in Beijing, but it's also a wet and rainy time in the city, so I advise you to pack the following items in your suitcase:

  • Lightweight T-shirt.
  • Bathing suit.
  • Cool trousers.
  • Comfortable shoes.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Umbrella.
  • Mackintosh.
  • Light jacket.

Book a Great Wall Tour