An insider's favorite, the Coal Hill is the elevated feature right north of the Forbidden City. As a matter of fact, when leaving the Forbidden City via the north gate you just have to cross the street (by underpass) and you are there. Its opening times are changing constantly but if you go during the morning or early afternoon you will be sure to gain admission. A ticket is 2 RMB which is a steal. Jingshan Hill may well be the best bargain out of all the sights in Beijing.
Steep climb but with real payoff
What to expect
First and foremost, Jingshan Hill is what the name promises – a hill. It features a set of three pagodas at its peak which also double as visitor platforms. Expect a short hike up which is fast but surprisingly steep. From the top (the middle pagoda) you have an amazing view over the city given that the sky is clear. However, since the sky is not clear most of the time you may want to schedule several trips there to at least catch one on a nice day. It is worth it.
It's just great
If you are a Beijing regular and live in reasonable vicinity to the place you may end up going there whenever you have on of those “What should I do today” days. I have been to the hill countless times and every single time it was great – even on muggy days. Be it the Taichi practitioners at the foot of the hill, the sweating tourists at the peak or the unbeatable price, Jingshan is definitely worth many visits and my absolute top pick when Beijing sights are concerned.
Don't tell me it wasn't worth it