A Walk Through The Most Beautiful Beijing Hutongs
Hutongs are the narrow alleyways in Beijing that are formed by traditional courtyard houses, also called siheyuan. The old center of Beijing consists of many hutongs and many of these are still residential. This guide shows you the most beautiful Beijing hutongs and how to find them.
Qianmen Street 前门
A great starting point for exploring the most beautiful Beijing hutongs is Qianmen. Just a stone’s throw away from Tian’anmen and the Forbidden City, the area near Qianmen includes several hutongs of historical significance. The avenue proceeding south from the Qianmen Gate is known as “Qianmen Street”, and has been a commercial center for several centuries, although it now mainly caters to tourists from other parts of China. Many renowned stores and restaurants started out here, including the most famous Peking duck restaurant, Quanjude (全聚德). Qianmen Street is also considered the origin of Beijing snack foods.
While the main Qianmen Street isn’t at all authentic and quiet hutong, the side streets are even more alluring. Take a walk west along Dashila’r, another well-known hutong street. Walk further west and explore smaller hutongs like Tan’er Hutong, Tiaozhou Hutong and Da’er Hutong for a glimpse into daily life in a real hutong. Here, you will find small courthouses, tiny antique and calligraphy stores, butcher shops and even bookstores – and you will barely find any tourists here.
How to get there: Take Subway Line 2 to Qianmen Station and get out from Exit B or C, or take Subway Line 7 to Zhushikou Station and get off from Exit A or C.
Nanluoguxiang is one of the hippest and most beautiful Beijing hutongs. The street is mostly commercial and also the third most popular bar street in Beijing, after Sanlitun and Houhai. For many, Nanluoguxiang has become too commercialized and touristy. This is sadly true but it is still a great area to shop and grab some food when in Beijing. On top of that, you can wander along one of the many side streets east and west of Nanluoguxiang and walk through some more residential and more authentic hutongs.
Tip: Check out the rooftop at Peking International Youth Hostel for amazing views of the street!
How to get there: Take Subway Line 6/ Line 8 directly to Nanluoguxiang.
Guanshuyuan Hutong 官书院
This lovely hutong is located on the east of the Confucious Temple. While it is a remodeled hutong, it still offers a slow-paced vibe. Plus, the houses make for total Instagram-worthy shots.
How to get there: Take Subway Line 2 or Line 3 to Yonghegong Lama Temple. Get out of exit C and cross the street into Guanshuyuan Hutong.
Wudaoying Hutong 五道营: most beautiful Beijing hutongs
One of my personal favorites is the Wudaoying Hutong, north of the Confucious Temple. I stumbled upon this lovely area our of pure luck while exploring this part of Beijing and it’s definitely one of the most beautiful Beijing hutongs. I think it is the perfect example of a remodeled hip hutong where tradition meets modernity. The street is filled with colorful houses on each side, some housing small cafes and shops. You’ll also see the iconic bird cages hanging outside residential homes.
How to get there: Take Subway Line 2 or Line 5 to the Yonghegong Lama Temple Station and exit through Exit D.
Guozijian Jie 国子监街
This hutong is home to the Imperial Academy, Guozijian. The street is 669 meters (2,195 feet) long and 11 meters (36 feet) wide. Guozijian Street is also the last remaining hutong with traditional arches. That’s why this part of Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, the authentic Beijing native style. Be sure to explore the Temple of Confucius when in Guozjian Street. This hutong is also on my Beijing layover itinerary and totally doable if you’re only in Beijing for a short time.
Tip: Join a Hutong Food Tour with UnTour Beijing to try all the delicious snacks the locals eat!
How to get there: Take Subway Line 2 or Line 5, get off at Yonghe Temple (Yonghe Gong) Station. Get out from Exit D and walk south.
[irp posts=”12140″ name=”Beijing Food Tour Through The Hutongs With UnTour Food Tours”]
Dashibei Hutong 大石碑
I also discovered this lovely hutong by pure chance when heading to the Drum and Bell Towers. This street has some cute shops, hostels and cafés that are worth checking out. I had some delicious frozen yogurt here – a welcome refreshment after walking through the hutongs in the sweaty summer heat.
How to get there: Take Subway Line 8 to the Shichahai Station and exit through Exit A2. Continue walking north and turn left into Dashibei Hutong on the second corner.
Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street 烟袋斜街
Located near the south end of Dashibei hutong lies “Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street”, also known as Yandai Xiejie in Chinese. This beautiful 232-meter long street comprises one of the oldest hutongs in Beijing. The street got its name due to the many smoking pipe stores located here during the Qing Dynasty. The hutong was redeveloped in 2007 to recover its historic features. When walking to the end of the street, pass over the Silver Ingot Bridge and you’ll reach the Houhai Bar Street area, perfect to finish your walk through Beijing’s most beautiful hutongs.
How to get there: Take Subway Line 8 to Shichahai, get out of the station from Exit A2, and then walk west for 1 minute. Turn north and keep walking for 5 minutes, you will enter the hutong.
Ready to check out Beijing’s Most Beautiful Hutongs?
A walk through one of the many hutongs Beijing has to offer is a great and relaxing way to explore the history of the city. Whether you’re exploring the hutongs near Qianmen in the southern part of the city or the ones near Lama Temple in the north, you’ll have amazing photo ops – and get cultured.
Recommended Hotels in Beijing
The hotels recommended below are hotels I have personally stayed at and recommend to other travelers.
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