Code: BJ-WK08

Old Beijing Walking Tour

Route: Qianmen Street - Zhubaoshi Street - Qianshi Hutong - Dashilar Street - Yangmeizhu Skew Street - Liulichang Cultural Street
Feature: This Beijing walking tour, starting from the city's central axis, takes you to bustling commercial blocks of the old days. The well-preserved layout and old brands reproduce the prosperous picture of the old city of Beijing. Besides, independent travelers can also have chances to experience the glamour of the traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy.
Walking Distance: 1.5 mi (2.5 km)
Time: 3 hours
Qianmen Street
The over 600-year-old Qianmen Street is a famous business street of Beijing, lined with time-honored stores. It lies along the central axis of the city, stretching about 900 yards from Zhengyangmen Arrow Tower to Tiantan Road. A leisure walk along this pedestrian street may be a good way to feel its prosperity. Taking the old-style dang-dang bus going along the street can also offer you an interesting experience.

You can take subway line 2 and get off at Qianmen Station; leave from Exit B or C and go through the Zhengyangmen Arrow Tower to start this independent walking tour. Go south along the Qianmen Street for about 230 yards and you will be at the Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, which is one of the most famous catering brands of the street. Here, you can have a taste of the delicious roast duck of the authentic Beijing flavor.
Heading a few yards forward, please turn right onto Dashilar Street, which has also been a prosperous commercial block for around 500 years. Turn south at the first crossing into Zhubaoshi Street to find the Liubiju Pickles Store. It started business from 1530 and has spent hundreds of years refining its only product, pickles, which have always been an important dish on the dining tables of the natives.

Near Liubiju is the 200-year-old Zhonghe Theater. Many famous actors performed here in ancient days, and now visitors can still appreciate some traditional Peking Opera pieces, storytelling, and some other kinds of folk arts while enjoying a cup of fragrant tea.
Dashilar Street
Go north along the street and get across the Dashilar Street. Be careful to find the Qianshi Hutong on your west. It is the narrowest alley in Beijing with an average width of only 2.3 feet. At the end of the hutong used to hide the official exchange market and workshops for casting silver ingots. You can still find the relics there. 

Then walk back to go along the Dashilar Business Street and visit the well-known stores one by one. The first brand is Ruifuxiang Silk Store with a history of around 150 years. The superior quality and elaborate design have won a good reputation for it. Tailor-making is the characteristic of Ruifuxiang. If you are interested in Chinese traditional clothing, you can customize your own clothes there. 

Continue to go west to Zhangyiyuan Tea Store, where you can find all kinds of high quality tea. Near the tea store is the well-known pharmacy, Tongrentang. With a long history of around 350 years, Tongrentang is still the first choice for buying traditional Chinese medicine due to its good quality and satisfying curative effect. 

Walking a few yards ahead and you will arrive at the Neiliansheng Cloth Shoes Store, which was opened in 1853 to tailor-make cloth boots for royal families and officials during the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). Later Neiliansheng extended the range to cloth shoes for ordinary people, as well as all kinds of leather shoes. The cloth shoes are light, comfortable, and of good breathability, so you are recommended to try.
Continue your independent walking tour to the Daguanlou Theater, the memorial place of the naissance of China movies, and also a good place to recapture the course of China movie. Although facilities in Daguanlou cannot be compared with some modern cinemas, it remains unshakable to locals as it reminds them of the old times and their childhood.

Turn north at the western end of Dashilar Street and keep hiking forward until you see the first hutong on your west. It is the Yangmeizhu Skew Street and many old stores and western-style buildings are well preserved there. Different from the busy and bustling Qianmen or Dashilar, this hutong is tranquil and also nostalgic.
Antique store in Liulichang Street
When you reach the west end of the street, take the alley on your right side at the first fork and still the right one at the second fork. Then turn left onto Liulichang Cultural Street, the most famous cultural block divided by the South Xinhua Road into eastern and western sections. The street smacks of antiquity and is full of fragrance of ink. Stroll along the street and you may find all of the stores with their own style. The most famous one is Cuiwenge, near the eastern entrance. It specializes in calligraphy, paintings, seal cuttings, and the four treasures of the study, namely brush, ink, paper, and ink stone.

A few yards ahead is another famous store named Yidege, which is renowned for its various kinds of high-quality ink. Sometime, there are exhibitions of traditional Chinese paintings.
Go westwards and get across the South Xinhua Street to reach the Liulichang West Street. At the entrance stands the building of Huaxia Calligraphy and Painting Society. Regarded as the landmark of Liulichang Street, it attracts visitors with its unique constructional style that demonstrates the traditional architecture and painting arts. It is also a good place to delve into the unique world of Chinese painting and calligraphy with plenty of simple but elegant works on display or sell. Continue to walk westwards along the street, you may find time-honored stores, like Rongbaozhai and China Bookstore.

When your independent Beijing walking tour ends, you may go back to South Xinhua Street. Either find Hepingmen Subway Station of subway line 2 at the northern end of the street or head down to the southern end to take subway line 7 at Hufangqiao Station to leave.
 Other Beijing Walking Tours:

Central Axis Hiking: A classic south-north route from Qianmen Street to Bell and Drum Towers.
Garden Walk: Follow the scenic hiking trail from Yuyuantan Park to Summer Palace.
Modern Beijing Walking Tour: Discover the city's metropolitan charm from Wangfujing Street to CBD.

Questions & Answers
Asked by Joy from USA | Mar. 17, 2016 12:39Reply
Beijing in a Day
I have 14 hours in Beijing. My Plan is PEK to Tiananmen Square / Forbidden City (2 hours) then to Silk Street (2 hours), then to Panjiayuan Flea Market (2 hours) and Dahongmen Shoes City (2 hours). Will I need more time at any of those places? Is that the best sequence to visit everything? Can you recommend the best place to eat from those places?
I plan on taking Airport Express Line of the Subway from T3 to Dongzhimen. Not sure from there.
How do I get from Tiananmen Square / Forbidden City (2 hours) then to Silk Street and so on?
Thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by John | Mar. 18, 2016 01:41

Forbidden City is one of the most popular places in Beijing. Two hours are not enough to visit it, at least 3 or 4 hours is recommended. You can take Airport Express Line to Dongzhimen, then change subway line 2 and get off at Qian Men, walk to the Tiananmen Square. Walk through the sqaure, you will get to the Forbidden City. From Forbidden City, you can take taxi to Silk Street (around CNY20). After that, you may take bus no. 99 to Panjiayuan or take subway line 1 to Guomao and then change line 10 to Panjiayuan(exit C1). From Panjiayuan to Dahongmen, you can take subway line 10 and get off at Dahongmen after 6 stops. There are many restaurants near the sites, if you have time, I suggest you go to Qianmen Street where you can find the famous Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant.
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