One of the world's largest public squares, Tiananmen Square sprawls just south of Chang'an Avenue, along Beijing's traditional central axis.

At the heart of the square stands the Monument to the People's Heroes. To the west sits the Great Hall of the People and to the east is the National Museum. Across the street, the towering Tiananmen Gate overlooks the square.

Each morning and evening, crowds gather for the daily flag-raising and lowering ceremony. For first-time visitors to Beijing, catching this ritual is a must-do.

Come early for the morning flag-raising, as large crowds arrive before dawn. Allow 1-3 hours to take in the vast square and surroundings. Arrive early or visit during off-peak times to avoid the biggest crowds.

Subway Line 2 and numerous buses drop off just steps away. Stand in awe beneath the portrait of Chairman Mao and glimpse the seat of China's political power. Against the backdrop of historical monuments, appreciate the immensity of this symbolic public space at the heart of Beijing.