The Secret Guide to Beijing’s Prettiest Streets
Beijing is a city best explored on foot, and one of the best bits about walking around town is veering off into residential areas to discover pretty streets lined with characterful houses. These streets highlight the peace and serenity that really does exist in the bustling capital. The following streets are especially worth exploring:
1.Wudaoying Hutong Street
Known primarily for its abundance of historic hutongs, this historic street manages to escape the touristy feel that has crept into some of the city’s other hutong destinations.
Situated near the Lama Temple, Wudaoying Hutong Street is home to several charming shops that offer a variety of unique products at reasonable prices.
Sometimes referred to as Tobacco Pipe Street, this lovely destination is best known as Beijing’s oldest commercial district. The street is said to look a lot like a tobacco pipe, but this is by no means the only factor influencing its memorable nickname — Yandaixie was once tobacco shop central.
Today, it mostly features boutiques and street food. Although it was renovated just in time for the Olympics, it retains several intriguing historical features.
The narrow alley known as Nanluoguxiang Street dates back over 1,000 years but did not receive its current name until the Qing Dynasty in the 1700s. Today, it’s notable not only for its restaurants and specialty stores, but also for its courtyards and siheyuan structures, which provide a window into life in ancient Beijing.
4.Shichahai Bar Street
At Shichahai Bar Street, you’ll find one of the city’s most idyllic scenes, complete with memorable views of multiple lakes. Take your time as you stroll this popular, yet peaceful destination, which attracts its fair share of recreational visitors.
Consider beginning your visit at sunset, when you can see lovely colors over the lake before glimpsing the glow of the street’s bars and restaurants.
As one of Beijing’s busiest commercial areas, Wangfujing Street delivers a vibrant atmosphere that should not be missed. It boasts a wonderful blend of traditional and modern shops, as well as plenty of excellent places to grab a quick bite. Keep an eye out for the street’s mansions, which grant several areas a decidedly elegant feel.
This intimate shopping street retains a uniquely authentic feel. Depending on when you visit, it can serve as the perfect escape from the usual hustle and bustle of Beijing.
This is the perfect destination for methodical strolling and shopping. You’ll notice a blend of historic and modern structures, as well as a variety of affordable souvenirs and enticing snack shops.
7.Dong Jiao Min Xiang Street
Head to Dong Jiao Min Xiang Street for a memorable look at a variety of European-style buildings built during the 1800s. The street’s name actually means “East Foreign Residents Alley,” but it is sometimes now referred to as the “Former Legation Quarter.” A stroll along this tree-lined alley can be incredibly relaxing, particularly when autumn colors take over.
8.Liulichang Cultural Street
Folk art abounds throughout the small shops of Liulichang Cultural Street. There, you’ll find pottery, calligraphy, and everything in between. Antique shops are also common here, but watch out — some vendors sell imitations.
If you don’t care to purchase souvenirs, you’ll find that simply browsing is enjoyable. The buildings themselves are just as gorgeous as the artwork and antiques they contain, especially following a notable period of renovation.
9.Diaoyutai Ginkgo Street
The inherent beauty of Diaoyutai Ginkgo Street can easily be ascertained based on its descriptive name. Lined with stunning ginkgo tress, this iconic avenue provides an especially breathtaking view during the autumn months, when it comes alive with golden leaves. Regardless of the season, however, this street is always worth a visit.
10.Sanlitun Bar Street
The world-famous Sanlitun Bar Street should not be missed. The ultimate symbol of Beijing’s thriving nightlife, this bustling street provides something for everyone. Although Sanlitun is a visual treat throughout the day, it is most impressive after the sun goes down, with the lights of local restaurants, bars, and clubs granting the area a decidedly festive feel.
The more streets you explore, the better sense you’ll get for all that makes Beijing special. Set aside plenty of time to leisurely stroll the city’s most beautiful streets — you’ll emerge with wonderful pictures and even better memories.