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Top 10 Famous Beijing Hutongs — Travel Tips, Facts, and Features

The Beijing hutongs are situated in an interesting and authentic area where the most original ancient local residences are located. The area represents the cultural grassroots of the local people and carries numerous anecdotes, historic events, and the most authentic local lifestyle. Therefore, there is a saying that: if you haven't been to the hutongs, you can't understand the real Beijing.

Facts
  • Compared with imperial architectures, the Beijing hutongs are more authentic and interesting. You can experience another architectural style in Beijing.
  • Beijing is a multicultural city and not just a solemn imperial center; don't miss its real side. You can experience a simple and optimistic lifestyle there.
  • Explore the typical residential buildings in China. Chessboard-shaped buildings represent the Chinese people's culture and have a strong family concept.
1.    South Gong and Drum Lane

Length: 787 meters

History: 740 years

Location: Nanluogu Xiang, Dongcheng District, Beijing; it's about 5 kilometers away from Tian'anmen Square

Features: long history, delicious foods, one of the most ancient blocks in Beijing, the largest complete chessboard type residence in Beijing

Representative attractions: SenggelinqinPalace, Qibaishi's former residence, Maodun's former residence, Keyuan Garden, and Yi Park

Beijing City seems like a big chessboard while South Gong and Drum Lane is one of the most representative chessboard residences in Beijing. Various residences and all sorts of courtyards make it more cultural and authentic. South Gong and Drum Lane was the city center in the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368).

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), the most prosperous time had passed. Of course, Nanluogu Xiang is a historic hutong, which has witnessed some glorious events of Beijing and is listed as one of 25 protected historic and cultural ancient areas.  Therefore, visitors go there to feel the historic and cultural atmosphere of old Beijing.

2.    Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street

Length: 232 meters

Location: Yandai Xiejie, Xicheng District, Beijing; close to the Drum Tower in Beijing

Features: simple style, Beijing style, plenty of tobacco pouch stores

Interesting stores: tobacco stores, restaurants, antique stores, calligraphy and painting stores

Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street is known as Yandai Xiejie in Chinese, and is as famous as South Gong and Drum Lane. It is located at the east end of Di'anmen Street, and is honored as being one of the oldest hutongs in Beijing.

Different from other hutongs, it was an area where Beijingers would go to buy bronze tobacco pipes, jade pipes, and tobacco. It's said that local people were addicted to smoking shisha or tobacco, so tobacco stores were set up one by one on Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street. As its name implies, it really is a "tobacco street".

3.    Mao'er Hutong

Length: 585 meters

Location: between the Drum Tower and Di'anmen; it's about 5 kilometers north of Tian'anmen Square

Features: one of the 25 preserved hutongs, has 100 years' history, still retains its original appearance

Highlights: , 9, 11, 13, 35, 37, 45

In the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), it was famous for Wenchang Palace (immortals in Chinese myths held human civilization in place there). In the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), it became an area famous for making hats.     Although 100 years have passed, Mao'er Hutong still retains its original look. On the thick boulevards, fashionable cars and ancient tricycles are staggered by the red gates and gray walls. Life is simple and harmonious there: red lanterns and couplets are hanging on the fronts of gates, children happily chase each other, and elderly people are chatting with their old friends or neighbors. Everything is simple, every little thing is happiness.

4.    Guozijian Street

Length: 669 meters

History: over 700 years

Location: from the west of Yonghegong Bridge to the east of Andingmen Inner Street

Features: traditional Beijing-style layout and authentic local lifestyle

Guozijian Street is a meaningful ancient street, which has a perfect combination of Beijing's past and present. It was the location of the Directorate of the Imperial Academy, which was the highest institution in ancient times; so it is also honored as the "Chinese historical and cultural street".

Take a stroll along Guozijian Street and you can experience the typical old Beijing lifestyle by admiring various antique stores, drinking a cup of tea in a local teahouse, or hanging out at traditional Chinese stores. Enjoy and observe details of the local people's lifestyle, admiring their simple ways or optimistic attitude to the world.

5.    Liulichang Cultural Street

Length: 800 meters

Located: to the south of the Peace Gate in Xuanwu District

Features: historic, cultural, ancient stores, ancient classic books

Highlights: cultural street, China bookstore, studio of glorious Treasures, the scholar's four jewels

Liulichang Cultural Street, a very famous ancient cultural street, was originated in the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912). At that time, Beijing was also the country's capital and the final destination of the imperial examination (the main way to select officials).   People lived there to prepare for the most important exam in their life. Therefore, various pen stores, book stores, and paper stores are also together on Liulichang Cultural Street.

It's had a deeply cultural atmosphere since the Qing Dynasty. It is not only an ancient hutong but is also a cultural highlight in Beijing. Visitors from around the world enjoy an authentic and traditional Chinese cultural

6.    Jinyu Hutong

Length: 567 meters

Location: stretching west from North Dongdan Street to Wangfujing Street

Features: brand hotels, advanced markets, beautiful night scenery

Jinyu Hutong was known as "Jinyin Hutong", which means gold and silver. As its name suggests, in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), there were many gold and silver stores on this street. In the Qing Dynasty, it was the location of the residence of a very famous scholar named Na Tong.

However, it gradually became an entertainment center for local people. In fact, Jinyu Hutong is not a small alley but rather a broad and busy street. It's close to the shopping center in Wangfujing; you can enter a modern world from this ancient hutong.

7.    Dongjiaomin Lane

Length: 1.6 kilometers

Location: to the east of Tian'anmen Square

Features: Legation Street, a witness of China's modern history

Dongjiaomin Lane is a witness of China's history. After the complication of the Tonghui River in 1292, it was a grain trade center for local people. However, during the time of unrest after the Second Opium War, it became an area where legations were concentrated from around the world, including England, America, France, Japan, Russia, and Italy. It was also renamed as Legation Street and is preserved by the local government in memory of its history.

8.    Xijiaomin Lane

Length: 6.5 kilometers

Location: stretching west from Tian'anmen Square West Road to North Xinhua Street

Highlights: the longest hutong in Beijing, 146 house numbers, Chinese-funded banks

Xijiaomin Lane is the longest hutong in Beijing. It is quieter but full of Chinese and Western culture and architectures. It was regarded as the "Financial Street of Beijing" at the end of the Qing Dynasty. Central Bank Peking Branch, the Continental Bank, and the Commercial Guarantee Bank of the Beiyang Government were typical buildings to show off its glory days.

9.    Ju'er Hutong

Length: 438 meters

Location: start of Jiaodaokou South Avenue to Nanluogu Xiang, Dongcheng District

Features: glorious past, famous official residences, new style architectures

Perhaps the most historic hutong is Ju'er Hutong, which displays old Beijing's culture and history by ancient buildings. Every hutong has its glorious stories and astonishing past. For example, 3, 5, and 7 formed the residence of a minister named Ronglu under the reign of Guangxu.

However, at the end of Ju'er Hutong is Sanlitun, which is a popular nightlife haven for local people. Go through Ju'er Hutong to Sanlitun and it seems like you've entered another world: from an ancient mysterious time to a modern crazy life.

10.   Bada Hutong

Location: it's close to Qianmen; about 2 kilometers from Tian'anmen Square

Features: red-light district in ancient Beijing, not just eight hutongs

Bada Hutong doesn't just consist of eight hutongs but eight famous hutongs and numerous small hutongs. During the Qing Dynasty, it was famous for having hundreds of brothels, and officials usually went there to relax. Today, it is no longer a red-light area but an ancient Beijing hutong where you can experience the authentic lifestyle.

Join Our Deep Tour to Visit  Beijing Hutongs

Tempted to visit these authentic, cultural, and interesting Beijing hutongs? Check out our range of small group tours to start your adventure in Beijing:

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