Code: BJ-WK07

Beijing Central Axis Walking Tour

Route: Qianmen Street - Tiananmen Square - The Northeast Watchtower of Forbidden City - Jingshan Park - Jingshan West Street - Houhai Bar Street - Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street - Drum and Bell Towers
Feature: 1-day walking tour of Beijing's central axis leads independent travelers to hike along this south-north route passing ancient architecture heritage in the city's core area to the Hutong alleys full of native lifestyle.
Walking Distance: about 5 miles (8km)
Time: 5 - 6 hours
Tiananmen Square
Take subway line 7 to Zhushikou Station, take Exit A and walk east for 100 yards, you will be at the entrance of the Qianmen Street, the significant central axis of Beijing City. With a length of about 900 yards from north to south, it used to be the imperial path leading from Forbidden City to the Temple of Heaven, and now it is also a bustling business district for shopping. Walking northwards along Qianmen Street, you will have a glimpse of trendy shopping malls as well as age-old shops for roast duck, silk and traditional Chinese medicine. Besides purchasing distinctive souvenirs, you can appreciate the old architectures in the style of Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911) and taste local flavors. The vintage dang dang bus is also in operation in this broad path, worth a try. 

Approaching to the northern end of the street, you will encounter the Qianmen Arrow Tower. Across the tower stand the grand Tiananmen Square and the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao. A few paces forward to the center of the square, you would find the Monument to People's Heroes towering straight. At the west side lies the Great Hall of the People and National Museum of China is located in the east. If interested, you can go inside these buildings to have a further exploration. The solemn Tiananmen Tower, the landmark of Beijing, is right ahead of you. The tower witnesses the foundation of People's Republic of China, and you are suggested to take a picture with it.
Panoramic view of Forbidden City
Afterwards, walk east along the East Chang'an Street for 600 yards and turn left to enter the South Chizi Street and North Chizi Street. This straight lane is along the eastern fence wall of Forbidden City, the solemn imperial palace for ancient Chinese dynasties from the 15th to early 20th century. Strolling to the north end, you would come across the northeast watchtower of the Forbidden City, which is a perfect site for photographing.

Continue your independent walking tour to Jingshan Front Street, and you will see the main entrance of Jingshan Park after 500 yards' hiking westward. The Jingshan Hill inside is the highest point of the park, from where you can have a full view of the Forbidden City. Exit from the west gate and enter the West Jingshan Street, where a number of decent and reasonably-priced restaurants are clustered. You can choose one to have your lunch before the following central axis walking tour.

After reaching the north end of the West Jingshan Street, turn right to Jingshan Back Street for another 250 yards' walking forward. Then, turn left onto Di'anmen Inner Street and stroll about 1,200 yards north to the Shichahai Subway Station. Near the Exit A2, you can take the Wannian Hutong on your left side, and stroll westwards to the lakefront. Keep wandering along the bank in northwest direction to Houhai Beiyan Street. Many featured bars, cafés and tea houses are lined on this street, and you may stop at one to enjoy a leisure pastime.
Bell and Drum Towers
Afterwards, please backtrack to the Yingding Bridge, and on the northern side of the bridge, you can find a 40-yard straight alley leading to Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street. It is one of the most hustling hutongs of Beijing. As the street looks like a long-stemmed tobacco pipe, so it is given the name and later becomes a sound name card of old Beijing. Both sides of the alley are lined with quaint courtyards in Ming and Qing architectural style. The front part of the courtyards becomes time-honored shops, while local residents live in the backyards. There you can feel the rhythm of old Beijingers' life. Besides, you are suggested to select some funny gadgets as souvenirs or gifts.

The eastern end of the Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street links with the Di'anmen Outer Street, and from there, you should continue walking north for 100 yards to the Bell and Drum Towers. Those two towers face each other across a distance of about 200 yards. After the trip is finished, take a taxi or walk back to Shichahai Station to take subway line 8 to leave.
 Other Beijing Walking Tours:

Modern Beijing Walking Tour: Discover the city's metropolitan charm from Wangfujing Street to CBD.
Old Beijing Walking Tour: Feel traditional Chinese culture by a walk from Qianmen to Liulichang.
Garden Walk: Follow the scenic hiking trail from Yuyuantan Park to Summer Palace.

Questions & Answers
Asked by Aidan | Dec. 01, 2013 20:46Reply
Is this tour available during chinese new year 2014?
Answers (1)
Answered by Joyce | Dec. 01, 2013 21:40

This is an independent itinerary only for your reference. There are no price and guide for this itinerary. Actually, it is not a good idea to visit Inner Mongolia in winter as the weather is very cold and scenery is poor.
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