Forbidden City Opening Hours

Forbidden City is open all year round, but its opening hours are subject to change between slack and peak seasons. When it occurs to holidays, the opening hours may be longer or shorter. If there is an important event or some special occasion, the Forbidden City opening hours may also change. Please pay attention to the latest notice on the Forbidden City’s official website before your visit.

 Note: Forbidden City is closed on Mondays except for Chinese legal holidays.

Forbidden City Opening Hours

April to October (Peak Season) November to March (Slack Season)
Opening Time 8:30 8:30
Last Ticket Time 16:00 15:30
Last Entry Time 16:10 15:40
Closing Time 17:00 16:30

 In the Forbidden City, Clock Gallery and Treasure Gallery have their own separate tickets. Their opening hours are the same as above.

Luggage Deposit Time: 8:30-18:00

Location of Luggage Deposit: the east side out of Meridian Gate
Location of Luggage Claim: the east side of Gate of Divine Prowess

Visitors can take their articles with them after receiving security check. As for the large luggage, you can deposit it at Meridian Gate for free for the visit day by showing your entry ticket. Staff will deliver your luggage to Gate of Divine Prowess in batches. When you finish your visit and get out from Gate of Divine Prowess, you can get your luggage before 18:00.

Forbidden City Opening Hours
Forbidden City, Beijing
Entrance to Forbidden City
Meridian Gate, Entrance to Forbidden City

What day is the Forbidden City Closed? – Every Monday

Except legal holidays in China, Forbidden City is closed on every Monday. If the holiday, like Chinese New Year, National Day, Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and so on, falls on Monday, Forbidden City would be open as usual. You can have a visit on such days.

Read more about Public Holidays in China.

Is Forbidden City open on Monday during the summer vacation?

No, it does not open on Mondays during the summer vacation. At the very beginning as Forbidden City was closed on Mondays, it was still open on the legal holidays as well as the summer vacation of July and August when it came to Monday. Later, in order to better protect the cultural heritage and to save more time for the restoration of ancient architecture and cultural relics, Forbidden City began to be closed on Monday all year round since June 2018, and only the legal holidays are the exception.

Go as early as possible, better before the Forbidden City opening time at 8:30.

The Forbidden City opening time is at 8:30 in the morning. However, tickets are on sale at 8:00, even earlier on holidays. In some fine days, people start to line up for tickets at 7:30. Thus it would be late and you may waste some time queuing if you get there at 8:30.  

Generally speaking, the number of visitors to Forbidden City increase on weekends, holidays and summer vacation. For example, during Chinese New Year, the grandest festival in China, Forbidden City received 116,000 people on a single day once in 2015. Later, the number of visitors was restricted to at most 80,000 one day, but there are still a large amount of visitors in peak times. The best choice is to get there as earlier as possible. With fewer visitors, you can have a better experience.

Before going to visit Forbidden City, remember to book the ticket online with your passport number in advance. When you get there, you can enter directly with your passport to save time. The ticket booking is available on this website. Forbidden City hours of the morning session is 8:30-12:00 and of the afternoon session is 12:00-16:10. You’d better book the morning ticket and arrive there earlier.

Why does the Forbidden City close early at 17:00?

The Forbidden City opening time is shorter than most scenic spots in China. In summer, it is still bright at 17:00. Why does Forbidden City close so early?

Close Early for Safety Instead of Supernatural Power

There are not a few superstitions about Forbidden City that related to supernatural stories, which says the death of many people for unwarranted charge there makes Forbidden City full of supernatural events in the evening or at night. Those are groundless rumors.

To close early is to prevent from stealing. In 1950s, a person hide in a toilet while Forbidden City was in a mess to close. He stole a relic made of gold at night and broke it to sell off for money. In a result, the precious relic was damaged even if the thief was arrested then. Since this case happened, the Forbidden City opening hours was shortened to avoid such things.

Meanwhile, Forbidden City is quite large, staff need much time to check relics and devices after closing; and if visitors lost there, they can be found early. All these things would be difficult when it is getting dark. So early close is beneficial to the safety of both visitors and collections.

Why does Forbidden City stop entry at 16:00?

Visitors can enter Forbidden City only from Meridian Gate, and come out from East Prosperity Gate or Gate of Divine Prowess. People usually leave Forbidden City from Gate of Divine Prowess after visiting main architectures on the central axis. The straight-line distance from the southernmost Meridian Gate to the northernmost Gate of Divine Prowess is 961 meters (3,153 feet), and a hurried and cursory glance spends at least one hour. If people enter Forbidden City after 16:00, they cannot finish the visit certainly.

 Futher Reading:
Are there Toilets in the Forbidden City?   

Imperial Icehouse: Currently a restaurant in the Forbidden City

- Last modified on May. 09, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Forbidden City Opening Hours
Asked by Chris from GERMANY | May. 09, 2021 05:18Reply
Buy ticket on site
We couldn’t book any ticket online for the forbidden City for May 11th. Is it possible to buy the tickets directly on site without booking online in advance (on May 11th)?

Thank you in advance!

Answers (1)
Answered by Harper | May. 09, 2021 19:51

No, I am afraid that you need to book the tickets online.
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