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Bell and Drum Towers

Climb the steep steps to the top of these ancient Beijing landmarks to learn about their history and enjoy panoramic views over the old city below.

Beijing’s Bell and Drum Towers are historic landmarks in the heart of the metropolis. Their booms and chimes can be heard tolling across the old part of the city. Spend a few hours climbing to the top of the two towers for panoramic views and discover more about their history.

Start at the Drum Tower, the grand red-painted structure which stands in the middle of the hútòng alleys. The tower has been Beijing’s official timekeeper since 1272, when it stood in the heart of what was then the Mongol capital of Dàdū. The tower you see today isn’t the original, but rather a replacement dating back to 1420 and the Ming Dynasty. 

Climb the steep inner stairs of the 153-foot (47-meter) high two-story building. Head for the exhibition area to examine the original big drum, known as the Night Watchman’s Drum, which according to tradition, would have been beaten 108 times. Time your visit right and you’ll get to witness one of the drumming performances that take place at regular intervals throughout the day. From the top of the drum tower, soak up the wonderful bird’s-eye view of the labyrinth of hútòng alleys, which are filled with traditional houses, market stalls and rickshaw bicycles.

Located just behind the Drum Tower is the slightly taller Bell Tower, which rises 157 feet (48 meters) above the old city. Made from brick and stone, its weathered façade makes it looks older than its sister Drum Tower, but, in fact, the two have a shared history and age. See the vast bell, which is one of the largest and heaviest in all of China. The bell weighs an astonishing 63 tons (57 tonnes) and measures 23 feet (7 meters) in height. Hear the ringing long before you make your way up to see it for yourself.

The Bell and Drum Towers are located at the north end of Di'anmen Street. This busy area of Beijing is best accessed by public transportation and on foot as parking is difficult. Regular buses serve the area. Alternatively, take the subway to Shichahai or Guloudajie stations, both of which are within walking distance.


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Huali Jiahe Express Hotel

Huali Jiahe Express Hotel

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    1.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Xicheng, this hotel is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Houhai Lake and within 3 mi (5 km) of Wangfujing Street and Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square and Yonghe Temple are also within 3 mi (5 km). Gulou Dajie Station is 20 minutes by foot and Beixinqiao Station is 25 minutes.

    Welcome Home Courtyard - White Boutique
    Welcome Home Courtyard - White Boutique

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    1 Houhai Nanyan, Xicheng District, Beijing
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Xicheng, this apartment building is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Houhai Lake and within 3 mi (5 km) of Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street. Tiananmen Square and Yonghe Temple are also within 3 mi (5 km). Gulou Dajie Station is 19 minutes by foot and Jishuitan Station is 28 minutes.

      Welcome Home Courtyard-Black Boutique
      Welcome Home Courtyard-Black Boutique

      Welcome Home Courtyard-Black Boutique

      1 Houhai Nanyan, Xicheng District, Beijing
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Xicheng, this apartment building is 0.2 mi (0.4 km) from Houhai Park and within 3 mi (5 km) of Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street. Tiananmen Square and Yonghe Temple are also within 3 mi (5 km). Gulou Dajie Station is 22 minutes by foot and Jishuitan Station is 25 minutes.

        Welcome Home Courtyard - Back Lakes View
        Welcome Home Courtyard - Back Lakes View

        Welcome Home Courtyard - Back Lakes View

        No. 1 Houhai Nan Yan, Xicheng District, Beijing, Beijing
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Xicheng, this apartment building is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Houhai Lake and within 3 mi (5 km) of Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street. Tiananmen Square and Yonghe Temple are also within 3 mi (5 km). Gulou Dajie Station is 19 minutes by foot and Jishuitan Station is 28 minutes.

          Old Beijing Square
          Old Beijing Square

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            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Xicheng, this luxury inn is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Bell and Drum Towers and within 3 mi (5 km) of Wangfujing Street and Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square and Yonghe Temple are also within 3 mi (5 km). Gulou Dajie Station is 17 minutes by foot and Beixinqiao Station is 22 minutes.

            Welcome Home Courtyard- BackLake 15 Cube
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            Welcome Home Courtyard- BackLake 15 Cube

            No.50 Houhai Bei Yan, Xicheng District, Beijing, Beijing
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Xicheng, this apartment building is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Houhai Lake and within 3 mi (5 km) of Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street. Yonghe Temple and The Palace Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km). Gulou Dajie Station is 18 minutes by foot and Jishuitan Station is 24 minutes.

              Beijing CityCourt Hotel $38
              Beijing CityCourt Hotel

              Beijing CityCourt Hotel

              14 Liulisi Xiang, Baochao Hutong, East Gulou Street, Dongcheng Dist., Beijing, Beijing
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Dongcheng, this hotel is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from Houhai Lake and within 3 mi (5 km) of Wangfujing Street and Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square and Yonghe Temple are also within 3 mi (5 km). Gulou Dajie Station is 18 minutes by foot and Yonghegong Lama Temple Station is 19 minutes.

                Beijing Drum Tower Youth Hostel
                Beijing Drum Tower Youth Hostel

                Beijing Drum Tower Youth Hostel

                51 Jiugulou Dajie, Xicheng, Beijing
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Xicheng, this hostel is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) from Houhai Lake and within 3 mi (5 km) of Wangfujing Street and Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square and Yonghe Temple are also within 3 mi (5 km). Gulou Dajie Station is 15 minutes by foot and Yonghegong Lama Temple Station is 19 minutes.