Best 4 Hutong Walking Routes
Outside the hutongs there’s a noisy modern society; inside the hutongs, there’s a quiet, laid-back atmosphere. Whether you are a local or an outsider, find some free time and a bicycle and start your hutong tour. Enjoy a leisurely, carefree time with the following recommended routes!
Route 1: Bell and Drum Towers – Yandai Xiejie – Shicha Hai Hutong
- Overall length: 1.5 km (about 1 mile)
- Highlights: 15 hutongs with palaces, gardens, and residences of former celebrities, as well as all kinds of Beijing local snacks
This is the classic route for a hutong tour, not too long, and with convenient transport and a variety of food.
Starting from Di’anmen Outer North Avenue (地安门外北大街), you can first visit Zhong Gu Lou (Bell and Drum Towers, 钟鼓楼).
Moving south from the towers you’ll see Yandai Xiejie (Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street, 烟袋斜街). This is Beijing’s oldest commercial street. It is north of Di’an Men, in front of the Drum Tower, and is about 230 meters long. All kinds of shops, restaurants, and bars make the street a lively place.
Walking out of “skewed street”, you’ll find the famous Yinding Qiao (Silver Ingot Bridge, 银锭桥). When you cross over, you can visit the hutongs of Shicha Hai (什刹海). These irregular and dense hutongs line up along the banks of Shicha Lake. You can discover traces of history as you walk through these hutongs and courtyards.
Route 2: South Luogu Lane – Ju’er Hutong – Bell and Drum Towers – Yandai Xiejie – Shicha Hai – Mao’er Hutong
- Overall length: 3 km (about 2 miles)
- Highlights: hutongs, courtyard houses, bar street, shopping, delicacies
In recent years, there have been more and more bars and fashion shops opening in Nanluogu Xiang (South Luogu Lane, 南锣鼓巷). Now it has become another popular bar street in Beijing, after Sanlitun and Shichahai. Let’s get on a bike to discover its past vicissitudes and present prosperity.
Nanluogu Xiang runs from north to south and there are 8 hutongs arranged in a line about 800 meters (0.5 miles) long. Walking northward for 600 meters to reach Ju’er Hutong (菊儿胡同), you can observe several well-preserved siheyuans (courtyards).
From Ju’er Hutong, you can go west to the Bell and Drum Towers, among the landmarks of Beijing. Yandai Xiejie is southwest. As you move through this lively slanting street, you can sit down beside Shicha Hai Lake and enjoy a relaxing afternoon tea.
Thereafter you can either end your tour and go back to your hotel or continue to visit the nearby Mao’er Hutong (帽儿胡同). After dinner when night falls, you can position yourself to enjoy the nightlife of Houhai Bar Street.
Route 3: Dongjiaomin Xiang – Dashilanr – Zhushi Kou – Liulichang – The Eight Hutongs
- Overall length: 4 km (about 2.5 miles)
- Highlights: western-style buildings, calligraphy, paintings, antiques, shopping, ancient Chinese stationery, and ancient red-light district
Going west along with Dongjiaomin Xiang (东交民巷), you’ll reach Tian’anmen Square.
Walking south for 700 meters (about 0.4 miles) along Qianmen Dajie (Front Door Avenue, 前门大街), in front of Tian’anmen Square, you’ll find Dashilanr (大栅栏). Food-lovers shouldn’t miss the Beijing-style snacks here.
Next, passing through Dashilanr Shopping Center and moving along the hutongs to the west for about 1 km (0.6 miles), you’ll see the famous Liulichang Ancient Culture Street, which is a paradise for people interested in Chinese calligraphy, painting, antiques, or ancient stationery.
Moving southward some 300 meters (0.2 miles) from Liulichang, you can visit the Eight Big Hutongs (八大胡同), which used to be the red-light district during the late Qing dynasty and the Republic of China (1912-1949) period.
Click The Top 10 Hutongs in Beijing to know more.
Route 4: Lama Temple – Fangjia Hutong – Guozijian Street – Wudaoying Hutong
- Overall length: 2 km (about 1.2 miles)
- Highlights: photography, local tour, Tibetan Buddhist temple, quiet hutong life, history, and culture
Take metro line 2 or line 5 and get off at Yonghegong Lama Temple (雍和宫) Station. Walk southward to the ticket office of Lama Temple. Now you can admire Yonghe Lama Temple, the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in Beijing.
After one or two hours at the temple, continue to walk south to Fangjia Hutong (方家胡同), a deep and quiet hutong full of snacks, bars, and art shops.
Wander along the hutong from east to west and then turn north to Guozijian (国子监) Street, which is famous for Guozijian Imperial College (the highest educational institution in feudal China) and the Temple of Confucius (孔庙).
If you want to understand more about the Chinese imperial examination system in ancient times, you’ll love it here.
From Guozijian, move north to Wudaoying hutong (五道营胡同). Adjacent to Lama Temple, Wudaoying runs east to west and is about 600 meters long.
There are various cafes, book bars, and boutique shops in the hutong. Households and courtyards are behind the stores. Wudaoying Hutong is quieter and less touristy than Nanluogu Xiang.
It is interesting to see local residents hanging out in the hutong in the morning, while in the evening the place becomes an assembly point for fashionable young artists.
Experience a Hutong Tour with China Travel
Want to deeply get into a Hutong family and experience the most authentic Chinese traditional arts, like calligraphy, paper-cutting, making Beijing opera facial masks, or taking a Chinese cooking class? You can contact us to customize your journey or just simply book our hand-picked hutong tours as below.