The hutongs are narrow lanes and streets found in Beijing. These little alleys connect the many siheyuan (square or courtyard) that many local Beijing people live in. These hutongs create a special kind of neighborhood in Beijing, a unique place to see how traditional people in Beijing live.
I once read this quote about Siheyuan, which explains it well:
“Siheyuan is to Beijing as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris and the pyramids are to Egypt. It is a unique urban symbol formed by a certain architectural form which continues to this day.”
After I moved to Beijing I spent some time exploring the hutongs. I loved the local traditional feeling and quickly moved into a hutong (and I’ve lived in it for almost 2 years now!
When you visit Beijing, it’s an absolute must to visit a hutong area and take a look around. But with many hutong areas in Beijing, how do you choose? I’ll tell you 3 of my favorites!
Lama Temple/Beixin Hutong
I’m a bit biased about this hutong area because it’s close to where I live. It’s a very traditional residential hutong neighborhood, filled with families, local shops, and a few restaurants. It’s not the top hutong to see in Beijing if you have limited time, but it’s nice for a stroll through if you want to see local Beijing hutong life.
Things to do: Go to Silence Coffee, a cute little coffee shop with a great rooftop view. Try a local restaurant or little bar.
Wudaoying Hutong is a lively hutong street filled with cafes, restaurants, bars, and lots of little shops. It’s a fun place to walk around if you want to see am more renovated hutong area. If you don’t have much time in Beijing, I highly recommend you visit this hutong!
Things to do: Try a few of the coffee shops and bars! A few of my favorites: VA bar, L’Fusion Coffee Shop (with cats!), Pebbles, and Regain Elements.
In Beijing’s Gulou area you’ll find Nanluoguxiang Pedestrian Street, another popular hutong area. This is one of the more touristy hutongs in Beijing, and is popular for both foreign and local Chinese to walk around. There are lots of fun shops that sell traditional Chinese items like fans, umbrellas, clothing, and more. There is also a lot of street vendors and snack shops to try all kinds of foods!
There are so many other hutong areas in Beijing! A few other popular ones to visit are:
- Guozijian Hutong near the Confucious Temple
- Bada Hutong near Qianmen
- Beihai Lake/Houhai Lake Hutongs
Have you been to the hutongs? Which hutong area is your favorite?
Check out my other favorite things to do in Beijing:
- Longqing Gorge: Day Trip from Beijing
- 25 Best Things To Do In Beijing
- Which Section of the Great Wall Is Best To Visit?