Code: BJ26-03

Qianmen and Dashilar Hutong Exploration

Qianmen and Dashilar are well-known commercial shopping areas in the center of Beijing. Different from modern business streets, many time-honored brands shops have rooted there for generations. Tracing the hutong alleys in Dashilar, you can feel the antique air of the city through these quaint stores, restaurants, and tea houses. To start your independent Beijing hutong tour, you can follow the itinerary as below.

Tour Route: Qianmen Street - Zhubaoshi Street - Liu Bi Ju Store - Dashilar Street - Rui Fu Xiang Silk Store - Bu Ying Zhai Shoes Store - Tong Ren Tang Medicine Shop - Goubuli Steamed Stuffed Buns Restaurant - Da Guan Lou Cinema
Qianmen Street
Subway line 7 leads to Zhushikou station, and you will enter Qianmen Street after taking exit A and walking east for a few yards. This 900-yard long street is the central axis of Beijing, which is also one of the busiest commercial quarters in the city. The street is clustered with a lot of age-old shops and restaurants. Keep strolling north along it, you will encounter workshops selling traditional clothes, foods, old bikes, and art crafts, as well as drug stores. The world famous Quanjude Roast Duck, a time-honored restaurant, is just located on Qianmen Street, and you are suggested to taste this local delicacy. Besides, there are vintage dang dang buses shuttling between the two ends of Qianmen Street, with a cost of CNY15 for a single journey, you may try it to view the scenes of old Beijing.
Through the crossings on the west side, you can enter the Zhubaoshi Hutong, where many local restaurants are scattered. Wandering nearly to the north end of the hutong, you will encounter the Liu Bi Ju Store. It is said that it was founded over 450 years ago. The name of the store means six must-have daily products in old times: firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, and vinegar. Nowadays their most popular products are pickles and sauces, indispensable appetizers on the locals' dining table.

At the crossing, turn west to Dashilar Street, which is the most bustling and hustling alley. Roaming through it, you will come across branded stores surviving for hundreds of years. The first popular one on your right side would be the Rui Fu Xiang Silk Store located at No. 5 of Dashilar Street. Since the very beginning of 1893, they have provided beautifully designed and superiorly woven silk. The first national flag of China was made by Rui Fu Xiang. Many people have their tailor-made clothes here and the cheongsams are women's favorites.
Dashilan Street
Strolling to the other side of the hutong, you will see another old-brand shop on your left, the Bu Ying Zhai Shoe Store. In the past 150 years they have produced high-quality handmade cloth shoes and enjoyed high reputation all over the country. Now they have expanded their business and you can find almost every kind of shoes here, all comfortable and classic.

Keep walking forward for about 60 yards, and you will get to the famous Tong Ren Tang Medicine Store. It is a reputed traditional Chinese medicine store which had served eight Chinese emperors in ancient time. For over 300 years, doctors and pharmacists in Tong Ren Tang have dedicated themselves to life-saving deeds and medicine study career. They help patients from all over the world with their traditional formulas, exquisite leech craft, and rich clinic experiences. 

Then on your right side stands Goubuli Steamed Stuffed Buns Restaurant, which is popular among both the locals and the independent travelers. Steamed buns are quite common in China, but the reason why Goubuli has been loved for more than 100 years lies in its fine ingredients and special cooking skills. You are highly recommended to have a taste of these buns.
The last site of this hutong tour is Da Guan Lou Cinema, which is about a few steps forward. The predecessor of the cinema was Da Heng Xuan Tea House, where people could enjoy fragrant tea and fantastic Peking Opera. In 1907 it turned into the first cinema in Beijing, and at that time watching movie was a trendy activity for people of all ages. Continuing its resplendence, now it is still a nice place to enjoy a leisure time.

Apart from all the old stores you have visited, another interesting part of Dashilar hutong tour is the traditional architectures and bustling atmosphere. The street keeps old style buildings, steles, and archways. You can also tour around the nearby hutongs with local residences inside and get close to the locals' daily life.
Tip: Finishing this hutong tour by bike may also be a good choice. You may still take subway line 7 but alight at Qiaowan Subway Station. You will see the bicycle rental point the moment you get out from Exit D. Get a bike there and then ride westwards for 950 yards to find the Qianmen Street on your right.
 More Beijing Hutong Tours:

Shichahai Area: 1-day route from Lotus Market to Bell and Drum Towers.
Houhai Tour: enjoy a leisure night in Houhai Bar Street.
Old Beijing City: visit old alleys near the ancient imperial city of Beijing.

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