Mao'er Hutong is among the ten great hutongs in Beijing. It is in the northwest of Dongcheng District, stretching from South Gong and Drum Lane to the Di'anmen Wai Street. This alley is 585 meters (1,919 feet) in length and 7 meters (23 feet) wide, and is famous for its old Beijing features and traditional local food. A lot of celebrities have lived here, such as Wan Rong, the last empress; Feng Guozhang, the Northern Warlord, and Hong Chengchou, a general in the Ming Dynasty (1368 –1644 AD), and many of their former residences are still remain.
If you want to taste the flavor of old Beijing, Mao'er Hutong would be a good choice. Going through hundreds of years, it still preserves the original style. The construction, people's activities and food are just like the old days. There are numerous courtyards, shops and former residences on both sides of the road. They are all brickworks with red lanterns and couplets. The plants in the alley have been there for a long time, and the branches stretch out giving people a place to rest in shade. Life in the Hutong looks contented and simple. In summer time, seniors sit under the trees waving their fans chatting with each other; children play games at the gate; people gather around the chess board, outwitting each other and laughing. In this atmosphere, you will feel really relaxed. It is also a place to enjoy the traditional local cuisine. The pie with donkey meat, Lvrou Huoshao in Chinese, sweetbread soup, Zasui Tang in Chinese, and other Beijing snacks can be tasted. They all look very mouth-watering. The flavor is absolutely authentic, and the price is not expensive. It would be a feast for your eyes and stomach.
Wan Rong’s Former Mansion (No. 35 and No. 37)
Wan Rong lived at No. 37 in Mao'er Hutong. The courtyard has four yards. There are seven rooms in the first yard along with a corridor. The second yard has an old floral-pendant gate. The red paint of it has faded and can’t be recognized. The third yard is where Wan Rong lived. Flowers and plants are growing in the yard making it very quiet.
Keyuan Garden (No. 9)
The constructions in the Keyuan Garden all used grey imbrex to construct the roof. The brick walls are without plaster, they are of the natural color of the brick, which creates a kind of simple and unadorned style. The beams are decorated with Suzhou-style patterns. The layout of this garden follows the central axis. There are various rockeries, pools and plants in the garden. The whole garden is representative of Beijing private gardens in late Qing Dynasty.
How to get to Mao'er Hutong
Take Subway Line 8, get off at Shichahai Station. Get out from Exit C, and you will find the destination on the east side of the road.
1. Take bus 60, 82, 107, or 124, get off at Di'anmen Wai Station.
2. Take bus 3, 13, 42, 60, 118, 612, or 701, get off at Di’anmen East Station.
3. Take bus 5, 60, 82, 107, 124, or 635, get off at Drum Tower Station.
Beijing Bus / Subway Search