Nanluogu Xiang Hutong
Nanluogu Xiang Hutong (南锣鼓巷; Dongcheng district; Nanluoguxiang station, Exit E) is most popular and one of the oldest and most interesting Hutongs in Beijing. This street is 769 meters long and 8 meters wide and it is convenient to reach regarding the fact it is near Forbidden City. With its history of about 800 years old, it is one of the most important historical heritage sites in Beijing, considering the fact it witnessed the destinies of many generations and dynasties. Although it is quite commercialized in last decade, it is still one of the best representative of Chinese culture and the tradition regarding lifestyle, cuisine and habits of ordinary people. Out of many alleys that remained today, Nanluogu Xiang Hutong preserved the biggest part of traditional courtyards, and it would be enough just to visit this part of the city to get the impression of how life looked like in the past in China.
Nanluogu Xiang Hutong is the pedestrian zone, but that doesn’t mean you can walk there hassle free. It can be crowded, and sometimes (especially at weekends) you will have to go through the flow of people and rickshaws
Don’t stick just to the main street, but also explore side streets and you will find more exciting spots. The main street can be crowded and it is in a way commercialized, but side streets offer more authentic and quieter experience. At night, some of the side streets are unlighted, though.
Here, not just architecture is traditional, but also food, so if you planned to make a lunch break, you should definitely do it in some of the nearby restaurants. There are restaurants with modern (fast)food too, but all our recommendations go to the traditional one.
In Nanluogu Xiang are many specialty and souvenir shops, but since it is a very popular street for both domestic and foreign tourists, prices are higher than elsewhere in Beijing. Nanluogu Xiang is often highlighted as one of the best shopping zones in Beijing, but there are better bargains in Beijing.
The area around Nanluogu Xiang Hutong is great to find accommodation for those who don’t mind crowds and noise because it is close to the city center and it is a lively place all day round.