The first day, our tour group (China Focus -- I highly recommend them) visited Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City in the morning. The site of the 1989 student protests, Tian'anmen Square has always had a fond spot in my heart.
However, the cold made it hard to enjoy the experience. While 40s may not seem that cold, when it's windy, it can chill the bone. The vendors also didn't enhance the experience because they were swarming around like flies on shit offering good ranging from Mao watches to hats and postcards. It made me wish that Mom taught me some rude phrases in Chinese to tell the vendors to piss off. She refused my frequent requests to do so.
Off of the square is the Chairman Mao's tomb. I couldn't help but grumble about him. The single time I used the word "putz" and him in a sentence loudly, both Jeff and Mom attempted to quiet me before the government came and hauled me away. They also said that it wouldn't be considered favorable if I kicked Mao in the shins.
A short walk away from the square is the Forbidden City, home of the Emperors for thousands of years. Right now most of it is in green tarp as the city gets ready for the 2008 Olympics.
It's a huge area that housed the emperor and his family, concubines, staff and other people. All in all, it could hold approximately 10,000 people. The Forbidden City was amazing to see in reality, but like many things -- a bit dirtier and grimeier than some of the replicas I've seen in Florida.
For me, the better palace was the Summer Palace located on Kunming Lake.
Heck, a water view is always a good thing.
There were tons of other tour groups from around the world in Beijing. I heard British and Australian accents as well as Japanese, Korean and other languages. There were even people from other parts of China touring the city as well. One of those tourists even took a piss on the Forbidden City. I wish I had a photo of that, but I sadly don't.