The club's first incarnation came in 1951 when the local government sports body decided to take part in China's first fully nationalized national football league tournament and decided to form a football team with the best players from Beijing and Tianjin to create the North China team. The team name was taken from the football team in the 1910 multi-sport event Chinese National Games that also represented the same regions. The team ended up finishing fourth in their debut season and with the football league gradually expanding, the players from Beijing and Tianjin were allowed to separate and the local Beijing government sports body was allowed to reform the club as Beijing Football Club in 1956. The club would make its debut appearance in the 1956 season, where they were allowed to also enter their youth team called Beijing Youth B who actually went on to win the league title while Beijing came sixth that season. The club would strengthen their hold on the following seasons when they went out and won the 1957 as well as the 1958 league titles. With these results, the club would become a major force within Chinese football, and with the club's youth team still participating within the top tier, there was a constant supply of players coming into the team to fight for places. Being China's capital city and for their success on the field, the club would become a feeder team for the Chinese national team. This often saw the club unable to complete a full championship schedule and the youth team were often used to represent the club, which did little to diminish Beijing football and actually resulted in the youth team to win the 1963 championship for the second time, showing the strength in depth of the region of Beijing football until 1966 when the Chinese Cultural Revolution halted football within the country. When football returned to the China, Beijing would win the 1973 league title in the newly re-established footballing league. While Beijing once again re-established themselves as major title contenders, they didn't win any major titles until 1982 league title, which was then followed by the 1984 league title and 1985 Chinese FA Cup title. After this period, the club would start to decline in their performances and were relegated for the first time in their history at the end of the 1988 season, however, their time within the second tier was short lived and they won the division title and promotion to the first tier at the end of the 1990 season. In total, Beijing would have won the league title five times during the old Chinese National Football League era before the club was given full professionalism in 1992.
Beijing Guoan was formed on December 31, 1992, as a result of the Chinese football reform. The club was set up by the CITIC Group and the Beijing Municipal Sports Committee. In 2003, the club signed an endorsement contract with Beijing Hyundai and the men's football team of the club changed its name to Beijing Hyundai. The contract ended in early 2006 and the team's original name was restored. The team finished in second place of the Chinese Jia-A League in 1995 and third place in 1997, 1998 and 2002. The team also made it to the final of the Chinese FA Cup 5 times and won the tournament 3 times. The team produced a number of notable Chinese footballers, including the former 1860 Munich and Energie Cottbus midfielder Shao Jiayi and former Eintracht Frankfurt striker Yang Chen. The team hired Liobu Petrović, former head coach of Red Star Belgrade, as head coach during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.The club sold a part of its ownership to Real Madrid in 2006, hoping to achieve better popularity and results. He was fired after only placing 9th in the 2003 season. Due to renovation for the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing Guoan moved to new home stadium, the Beijing Fengtai Stadium for three years. In 2009, the club went back to its previous home stadium, the Workers Stadium. Beijing made a good start to the 2009 season, challenging near the top of the Chinese Super League, though they crashed out of the AFC Champions League at the group stage. In October 2009, Beijing Guoan beat Hangzhou Greentown 4-0 and won their first ever Chinese Super League title and became the 5th team to win the Chinese Super League title. In recent years, Beijing has enjoyed successful seasons with the team being second place in the 2011 season and placing third place in the 2012 season.