Drum Tower, Beijing – Ticket, Opening Hours, Highlights, and Tips

drum tower beijing

The Drum Tower (鼓楼) is an iconic landmark located in the heart of Beijing, China. It was built in 1272 during the Yuan Dynasty and rebuilt in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty. The tower is a magnificent two-story wooden structure with a height of 47 meters, consisting of three parts: the base, the body, and the roof.

The Drum Tower was originally built to announce the time to the city residents, as well as to signal important events such as fires and enemy attacks. The tower contains a large drum, which was beaten to signal the time of day. In ancient times, this was a crucial task, as it helped people to organize their daily lives and conduct important business.

Today, the Drum Tower is a popular tourist attraction and a window into the city’s history. Visitors can climb the tower to take in panoramic views of the surrounding area, and also watch drumming performances that take place regularly throughout the day.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour1 hour
Ticket Price20 RMB
Opening Hours9.30 – 17.30 (26th April – 25th October)
9.30 – 16.30 (26th October – 25th April the next year)

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Location and Transportation

The Drum Tower is located in the central district of Beijing. Its specific address is Gulou East Street, Di’anmenwai Avenue, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China. The tower is situated just north of the famous Houhai Lake area and is easily accessible by public transportation.

Bus: Take bus 5, 60, 82,107, 124, or 135 and get off at the Drum Tower (鼓楼).

Subway: Take subway line 8, get off at Shichahai Station (什刹海), and walk about 200 meters to the north to reach the tower.


History of Drum Tower

The Drum Tower, located in the central district of Beijing, has a long and fascinating history dating back to the 13th century. It was originally built in 1272 during the Yuan Dynasty and was used to announce the time to the city residents, as well as to signal important events such as fires and enemy attacks.

The original Drum Tower was built entirely out of wood and was subsequently rebuilt and renovated several times over the centuries. The current structure that stands today was built in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty, and its two-story wooden frame stands at a height of 47 meters.

In ancient times, the Drum Tower served an essential function in the daily lives of Beijing residents. Each day, drummers would climb up to the second level of the tower and beat the massive drum to signal the time of day. This helped people to organize their daily lives, conduct important business, and coordinate their activities.

In addition to its timekeeping function, the Drum Tower was also used as a military command center during times of war. Its elevated position allowed commanders to survey the city and respond quickly to any threats or attacks.

Over the years, the Drum Tower has undergone several restorations and renovations, with the most recent one taking place in the 1990s. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and an important symbol of Beijing’s cultural heritage.


Highlights of Drum Tower

Drumming Performances

drumming performance in beijing drum tower

The drumming performances feature skilled drummers playing large traditional Chinese drums, creating a powerful and captivating sound that reverberates throughout the tower and surrounding area. The drumming is done every hour (10.00, 11.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.00, 17.00), and the performance lasts around 15 minutes. Visitors can watch the drumming from the first floor of the tower, or climb to the top for a bird’s-eye view. The drumming performances are not only entertaining, but also offer a unique insight into traditional Chinese culture and music.


Panoramic Views

panoramic views from beijing drum tower

The Drum Tower of Beijing offers stunning panoramic views of the city from its top. Visitors who climb the steep stairs to the top of the tower will be rewarded with breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding hutongs and the old city of Beijing. From this vantage point, visitors can see the intricate layout of the traditional courtyard houses, the ancient city walls, and the modern skyscrapers in the distance. The views are especially beautiful at sunrise, sunset, or in the evening when the city lights up.


Architecture and Design

architecture and design of beijing drum tower

The Drum Tower of Beijing is an impressive example of traditional Chinese architecture. Its unique design features two floors with double eaves, supported by intricate wooden brackets and beams. The tower is decorated with beautiful carvings and colorful paintings, showcasing the traditional Chinese style. The top floor of the tower houses the drumming platform, where large traditional drums are played to mark the time of day.


Surrounding Area

shopping in shichahai hutong

The Drum Tower of Beijing is located in the heart of the historic hutong neighborhood, surrounded by traditional courtyard houses, narrow alleyways, and bustling markets. Visitors to the area can take a stroll through the hutongs and explore the local shops, restaurants, and tea houses. Just a short walk away is the Bell Tower, another iconic landmark of the city. The Houhai Lake area is also nearby, offering a scenic spot for a leisurely boat ride or walk.


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Tour Tips

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit the Drum Tower is early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and the heat. The tower is also particularly beautiful at sunset.

Climbing the Tower: The Drum Tower has steep stairs that can be a bit challenging to climb, so wear comfortable shoes and take your time. However, the view from the top of the tower is definitely worth it. You can see the surrounding hutongs and old Beijing city from a unique perspective.

Exploring the Hutongs: The Drum Tower is located in the heart of the hutongs, which are narrow alleys lined with traditional courtyard houses. Take some time to wander through the hutongs, and explore the local shops, tea houses, and restaurants. You can also take a rickshaw tour to get a more in-depth experience.


Attractions near the Drum Tower

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