When they built the Temple of Heaven it was meant to be at the fringes of the city, what with the sacrificial alter and the space needed to do the ceremonies where the Emperor would ask the gods for sundry things for the Kingdom. Never could they have imagined the sprawling metropolis that would one day spring up merrily around the sacrificial alters. Yet, here we are. And now you can be whisked directly to the Temple of Heaven via metro, just one more way history is become more interactive.
After seeing the impressive temples and garden grounds you'll be famished. Luckily the subway can speed you a few stops north back to central civilization where you'll find countless dining options. Your best bet is to go north a few stops or take a cab north and dine around the Tiananmen Square area. There are dumpling shops, fast food and local cuisine available near the Temple of Heaven, but for a real hearty meal you'll want to head north. Here are a few close-by recommendations.
Since Beijing is famous for the aptly named Peking Duck, you'll want to give that a try while in town. Quanjude is the most famous duck restaurant, and once inside you'll stop wondering why. A bit on the 'fear factor' side for many, the duck tongue and duck-heart dumplings leave many squeamish eaters feeling like they'd rather go hungry. Nevertheless, this is an authentic experience.
For fine western fare, Ristorante Sadler, Capital M, Meat & Wine Co. and Maison Boulud are fine establishments in the area with consistently high ratings from locals and expats and a constant stream of contented tourists. These establishments offer western fare, fine decor, great service and memorable atmospheres smack in the heart of old Beijing.
38 Qū Xué Qīng Lù
Feng Ze Yuan Hotel, Xuanwu District
23 Qian Men Dong Dajie
Italian Flavors in authentic ways... read more
32 Qianmen Avenue
Beijing's definitive duck restaurant... read more
23 Qian Men East Avenue
Qian Men 23
Ch'ien Men 23, 23 Qianmen Dongdajie
Japanese culinary excellence in an upmarket setting... read more
158 Qian Men South Road
Xuan Wu District
An truly Chinese vegetarian experience... read more
3/F, 2 Qianmen Pedestrian Street (southeast of Qianmen), Chongwen District, 崇文区前门步行街2号3层
Bringing Shanghai Class to Beijing... read more
11 Beixiangfeng, Zhengyi Nanlu, Qianmen Dongdajie
Follow directions painted on the neighboring walls
24 Jianguomen Waidajie