Dongcheng District (东城区 Dōngchéng Qū) is in Beijing. It means "east city" and appropriately enough covers the eastern half of the old, imperial city. Most visitors to the city will come here to visit both Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the former imperial palace. It also has other features of old and new China that are major tourist draws, such as the city's ancient hutong and temples to modern shopping areas like Wangfujing Street.
In 2010 the Chongwen district to the south was merged with it; Wikivoyage continues to treat the two as separate districts.
Dongcheng is, for practical purposes, the center of Beijing. It is, as its name suggests, largely coterminous with the northeastern quadrant of the area inside the Second Ring Road, although some of its modern boundaries spill past that, reaching past even the Third Ring Road at the district's northern extreme. It includes all of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, amid a mix of neighborhoods historic and modern.
Neighboring Xicheng may have most of China's major government offices, Haidian the universities, and Chaoyang its corporate headquarters and commercial property. But Dongcheng is undeniably the city's cultural center, with attractions including more than a quarter of the city's national-level Major Cultural and Historical Sites, particularly some of its best-known temples. They are well-complemented by museums, galleries, theaters, shopping and nightlife. If you aren't staying there, your visit to Beijing will definitely be taking you to Dongcheng, probably more than once.
The biggest draw in Dongcheng is Tiananmen Square, the center of modern China's public life, and the Forbidden City to its north. The latter, the ancient imperial palace, dates to 1420. But even before then, settlement had begun in what is today's Dongcheng.
During the Liao dynasty, in the 10th century, the first small hamlets were established on the northeast of the wall protecting what was at that time the city, not just the imperial residence. Two centuries later, the Jin dynasty built the outer wall (along what is now the Second Ring Road) and incorporated the settlements into the city proper. By the time the Ming dynasty's emperor Zhongle built today's Forbidden City, Dongcheng had 15 lanes, the beginnings of today's hutongs.
As the Ming dynasty gave way to the Qing, China's last, in the 17th century, Dongcheng continued to thrive. Imperial officials who were not of high enough station to live in the Forbidden City, and merchants who sold to the court, built elaborate siheyuan, or courtyard houses, for themselves. Closer to the walls were the palace's food stores, which lent their names to many of the streets in that area. Eventually four divisions of the imperial army were stationed there as well.
By the end of the 19th century Dongcheng itself would become a combat zone, when anti-Western nationalists besieged foreign diplomats and Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter for two months during the Boxer Rebellion. After an 8-nation allied force sent from Tianjin relieved the legations, the foreign forces engaged in widespread looting of cultural treasures from neighborhoods already severely damaged by the Boxers. This humiliating experience led to the fall of the Qing dynasty 11 years later, and the establishment of the Republic of China.
What is today Dongcheng was opened to the public for the first time with the passing of imperial rule. It became an even more desirable place to live, with more of the affluent settling there. On May 4th 1919 a large protest march took place in Dongcheng, against Japan's "Twenty-One Demands" on China growing out of the Treaty of Versailles and the Chinese government's weak response. The "May 4 Movement" not only lent its name to Wusi (literally "5/4") Street, where the former university building stands, it also exerted a strong influence on all leftists and nationalists in China, including the Communist Party of China (CPC) which was founded a few years later. Mao Zedong led that party to victory in civil war 30 years later, establishing the People's Republic of China (PRC).
In power, Mao reshaped the district. He finally knocked down the city walls, save for fragments such as the Ancient Observatory. He had the plaza just south of the Forbidden City expanded into today's Tiananmen Square, the better to review large assemblies of troops and political rallies. In 1958 two previous districts were merged and formally renamed Dongcheng, the first time the name was used. The next year two of the Ten Great Buildings celebrating the 10th anniversary of the PRC, the National Museum of China and the city's main train station, were built in the district.
Dongcheng, also home to the country's premier acting school and its most prestigious theater companies, would continue to be one of the main stages on which China's national drama played out. Mao addressed huge rallies of the Red Guards in Tiananmen Square during the Cultural Revolution, and likewise the 1975 protests there following the death of Zhou Enlai heralded the end of that difficult period. Fourteen years later, the massive pro-democracy protests and their brutal suppression, symbolized by the iconic photograph of an unidentified protestor facing down a column of tanks in front of the Beijing Grand Hotel, inaugurated the country's current epoch of "socialism with Chinese characteristics." In the years since, the economic growth unleashed by those reforms has led to protracted struggles by historic preservationists trying to save Dongcheng's remaining hutongs from demolition for urban renewal projects generally benefiting wealthy developers and their patrons in government.
That brings us to today. Your sojourn in Dongcheng will likely give you a look at both the old and new Chinas. By day you may well walk Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and other examples of classical Chinese architecture, or take in the National Museum's impressive exhibit on the country's ancient history, while evening may find you shopping and dining at either the modern Wangfuxing pedestrian mall or the funky alleyways and bars of Nanluogoxiang or Guijie. Take your pick—it's a giant oyster with some of China's brightest pearls.
Dongcheng District is considered as a large region in Beijing. The main precincts you are likely to visit are:
Chongwen (崇文区; Chóngwénqū)
Chongwen is a former district covering the southern third of Dongcheng, including the Temple of Heaven.
Wangfujing is a prestigious place in Beijing and features many famous shopping complexes and department stores that dominate the cityscape. It's considered the modern heart of the capital, having been developed on grand scale to be more inviting and attractive.
Gulou is considered the most charming area in Beijing. It is home to lakes and hutongs around the Drum Tower and Houhai. It's a unique experience to visit old courtyard houses and mansions.
Mostly known as Yonghe Lama Temple, the most important Buddhist Temple and Spiritual center in Northern China. It's an active place of worship, with a splendid mix of architectural styles and Chinese dynastic cultures.
Dongzhimen is the commercial precinct of the city. Originally, Dongzhimen was one of the gates in the old Beijing City fortifications. It has the most beautiful food street, Dongzhimen Inner Street (Gui Jie), which has the best loved specialities to feast on.
Tiananmen is considered the centre of major events of Chinese modern history. This place is famous for Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, National Centre of Performing Arts, the iconic portrait of Chairman Mao, China National Museum and many other famous magnificent buildings and monuments. The gate was originally the main gate into the Imperial City, and is the only one of the four gates that survives to this day.
- For general useful information about public transportation in Beijing, see here
There are many ways to get to Dongcheng via the city's subway system. Line 2, the loop line, runs along the north and east edges of the district. Line 1 bisects the district from east to west in its south, serving Tiananmen Square and other stops along Chang'an Avenue. In Dongcheng's north Line 6 takes a slight bend as it crosses the district from Nanluogoxiang to Chaoyangmen.
Line 5 is the only north-south line crossing the district at the moment, in its eastern section. It has stops near the Lama Temple, the Dengshikou business district, and Chongwenmen in the south. Line 8 is being built through the western neighborhoods, carefully avoiding the area under the Forbidden City. Its only stations in Dongcheng are in the Drum and Bell Tower neighborhood, at Shichahai and Nanluogoxiang, where transfer is available to Line 6. A stop at the National Museum of Art is expected to be open as of later in 2014. Line 13, the northern loop extension, and the Airport Express connect to Line 2 at Dongzhimen.
Most of the city's bus routes with numbers under 300 pass through Dongcheng at some point along their routes. Many other higher-numbered routes may start or end in the district as well. Beijing's taxi drivers know the district and its destinations well; however consider the advice here first.
If coming by private vehicle, several of the Beijing-area expressways terminate near Dongcheng. The S12 Airport Expressway connects to the Second Ring Road as the G101 at the district's northeast corner; it is a toll road from the Third Ring Road out to the airport. The S11 portion of the G45 expressway spills onto the Third Ring Road a short distance to the north. And from the end of the G6 expressway at the Third Ring Road, the G110 can be followed to the Second Ring Road at Deshengmen, then down Gulou Road West to the Drum and Bell Towers.
If you're up for the exercise, the air quality is good or moderate, and you're really willing to see Beijing at street level, consider walking around between subway stops and Dongcheng's many attractions. The terrain is mostly level, and the district has many different pedestrian experiences—from the wide sidewalks and overpasses of major arteries like Dongsi, to the more intimate narrow hutongs and foot-only spaces like Wangfujing and Tiananmen Square. The things you see along the district's streets might well turn out to be the sights that make your visit truly memorable.
For wheeled open-air short-distance options, there are bicycles and rickshaw-style cabs on motorbikes. See here for general information about getting around by the former method—due to China's rapid economic growth, the city is not as bike-friendly as it once was. In Dongcheng you can make your bicycling easier and safer by utilizing the hutongs and bike lanes on major roads to get between points. In the latter, remember to keep an eye out for minibikes coming up from behind, and sudden pedestrian jaywalks.
As for the rickshaws, who aggressively solicit the business of any foreigner they see walking anywhere beyond the main tourist areas, remember that you must negotiate the fare beforehand if you are to have any chance to avoid a scam. It helps considerably as well if you know some Mandarin and are familiar with the area your route will be taking you through.
Tiananmen Square (天安门广场; Tiānānménguǎngchǎng) is the largest square in the world. Built by Mao to impress, the square is surrounded by Soviet-style monuments and government buildings. It remains an astounding place and a spot to linger and see visitors from all over China, many visiting their capital for the first time. There is a flag raising and lowering ceremony at dawn and dusk at the north end of the square. There are four marble lions in front of the Tiananmen gate, the northwest one has a bullet hole on its stomach from the 1989 Tianamen Square massacre (the lions are enclosed by fences, so this is impossible to see up close).
The square is best reached by subway. Tiananmen East and Tiananmen West, both on line 1, are at the northern end of the square. Qianmen station on line 2 is at the southern end (use exit A).
Due to traffic restrictions, taxis cannot stop on the square, so if you come by taxi, the driver will have to let you out on a nearby side street. It is also necessary to pass through a security check before you go on the square itself or into the Forbidden City.
- 1 Chairman Mao Memorial Hall (At the south end, opposite the entrance to the Forbidden City). Open Tu-Su, 8AM to noon (but note it is sometimes closed without notice). The body of the founder of the People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong, has been preserved (against his own wishes) and is on display in here. Expect huge, but moving, queues. No bags, cameras or water bottles are allowed inside and must be dropped off (for a fee) at the bag-check building across the road to the east (mobile phones are permitted). Flowers can be purchased to lay at the feet of Mao's statue inside (although they are collected and resold at the end of the day) as well as leaflets for ¥1. There is disagreement among the locals as to whether the body is real or fake waxwork so make up your own mind. Mao souvenirs can be purchased at the exit. Free.
- 2 Monument to the People's Heroes (In the center of the square). A cenotaph with round-the-clock honor guard commemorating the PRC's veterans and war dead. Illuminated at night. Usually blocked off unless there is an important ceremony or visitors, but even then only those participating can go to the base of the cenotaph. However, you can usually get close enough to take pictures.
- 3 Tian'anmen Gate (天安门; Gate of Heavenly Peace) (Opposite N end of square). Tian'anmen Gate, and its large portrait of Chairman Mao, dominates the northern end of the square. This was originally the main gate into the Imperial City, and is the only one of the four gates that still survives. Pass beneath the gate to head north toward the Forbidden City. It costs nothing to pass through, but on the far side there is a ticket booth where you can pay admission to visit the gate. Although visiting the gate allows a good view over Tian'anmen Square, do not be fooled into thinking you are buying tickets to the Forbidden City; they are separate attractions. ¥15.
- Main article: Beijing/Forbidden City
- 4 Forbidden City (故宫 Gù Gōng, also known as the Palace Museum) (N side of Tiananmen Square). April 1st-October 31st: 8:30AM-5PM. November 1st-March 31st: 8:30AM-4:30PM. Closed on Mondays out of summer season.. China's last imperial palace occupies the centre of Beijing. All visitors must enter through the Meridian Gate from Tiananmen Square to the south; exit is via the north or east gates. Get there at opening time if you want to walk through the vast and spectacular courtyards in relative peace. This is truly the spot to appreciate the might and grandeur of the Imperial Chinese court during the height of its power in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Despite the transformation of Beijing around it, the Forbidden City, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in conjunction with the Mukden Palace in Shenyang, remains mercifully relatively untouched. There are a handful of cafes and gift shops, which are surprisingly affordable given the location and captive market. Only two-fifths of the area of the palace is open but more sections open all the time. Wandering to the right or left can yield some beautiful secluded courtyards and, of course, padlocked dead ends. You can rent an audio guided tour which explains certain temples along the central axis and their uses for ¥40 without deposit (more than three dozen languages available). The signs posted around and on buildings inside are fairly short and are written in both Chinese and English; some also include Korean, Japanese and Russian text. You can reach the Forbidden City via subway line 1 to Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East, or by bus lines 1, 4, 52 and 728. The lines 101, 109 and 810 stop at the north gate of Forbidden City when leaving. ¥60 summer/¥40 off-season/¥30 (seniors)/¥20 (students).
- 5 Yonghegong (雍和宮; Yōnghégōng; also known as Lama Temple or Palace of Peace), Yonghegong Dajie, at intersection of Second Ring road (Beside Yonghegong Lama Temple subway station, on lines 2 and 5). Closes at 4PM. The temple was built by Chinese emperors who harbored a deep fascination for the Tibetan (Tantric) version of Buddhism. Over the years, many Tibetan and Mongolian monks lived and taught here, and some are still in residence today. The temple is famous for its 18m (60 ft) statue of Maitreya Buddha carved from a single piece of sandalwood. The temple was saved from destructions during the Cultural Revolution by Zhou Enlai. Visitors are not allowed to take pictures of holy statues inside most of the temples. You can view most of the buildings in an hour or less. ¥25.
- 6 Zhihua Temple (智化寺; Zhìhuàsì; also known as Temple of Wisdom Attained), 5 Lumicang Hutong (禄米仓胡同5号; Lùmǐcānghútòng) (Bus 24 from Dongzhimen or Beijing Railway Station, get off at Lumicang), ☎ . 6AM-6PM. Buddhist temple built in 1443. One of the largest, oldest and best preserved wooden structures in Beijing. Houses the Ancient Music Center, which now and then gives concerts played by monks according to ancient traditions. Also houses the Beijing Cultural Exchange Museum. Recently renovated. ¥20.
- 7 Tongjiao Temple (通教寺; Tōngjiāosì; also known as Temple of Authoritative Teaching), 19 Zhenxian Hutong, Dongzhimen Beixiaojie (东直门北小街针线胡同19号; Dōngzhíménběixiǎojiē Zhēnxiànhútòng) (800m northwest of Dongzhimen Metro Station (lines 2 and 13). Across from W gate of Nanguan Park), ☎ . 8AM-5PM on 1st and 15th of the month. Originally used by eunuchs but now actively used by nuns. Free.
- 8 Confucius Temple (孔庙; Kǒngmiào), 13 Guozijian Street (国子监街13号; Guózǐjiànjiē) (500m southwest of Yonghegong Metro Station (lines 2 and 5)), ☎ . 9AM-6PM. The temple was built in 1302 and honors Confucius (孔子; Kǒngzi; 551-479 BC) who was one of China's greatest thinkers, still with significant influence on all aspects of daily life. The pavilions along either side have displays about Confucius and the history of Confucianism The courtyard is a pleasant place to relax or watch art students practice sketching. Open until 6pm in summer (May-October), 5pm in winter; last admittance 30 minutes before closing. ¥30 (2014), includes admission to Imperial Academy.
- 9 Imperial Academy (国子监; Guózǐjiàn) (Immediately to west of Confucius Temple). 9AM-6PM. The academy was the highest level college and location of examinations for the civil service in Imperial China. Very much related to the neighbouring Confucius Temple in that the studies and exams were conducted in the Confucian tradition. Displays documenting the history of the imperial exams system and the lives of students. Pleasant courtyard, slightly quieter than that of the temple. Open until 6pm in summer (May-October), 5pm in winter; last admittance 30 minutes before closing. ¥30 (2014), includes admission to Confucius Temple.
- 10 Imperial Ancestral Temple (太庙; Tàimiào) (After passing through Tiananmen, turn right before reaching the Forbidden City.). 7AM-5.30PM (winter); 6AM-7.30PM (summer). This was originally the temple where the emperors and other members of the royal family would pay respect to their ancestors. The buildings are original, though much of the interior, including the ancestral tablets, were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. It has since been repurposed as a museum dedicated to the working class Chinese. ¥2, does not include entry into buildings.
- 11 Beijing Police Museum (北京警察博物馆; Běijīng Jǐngchá Bówùguǎn), 36 Dongjiaomin Lane (东交民巷36号; Dōngjiāomín Xiàng) (1.5km east of the southern parts of Tian'anmen), ☎ . 9AM-4PM. Large museum on police history. ¥5.
- 12 Imperial City Art Museum (皇城艺术馆; Huángchéngyìshùguǎn), 9 Changpuheyan (菖蒲河沿9号; Chāngpúhéyàn) (north side of Changpu River Park, near corner of Nanchizi Jie), ☎ . 10AM-5:30PM. The Imperial City was the Manchu city that surrounded the Forbidden City during the Qing dynasty. The museum's centrepiece is a scale model of the Forbidden & Imperial Cities. There are also displays on lifestyle, costumes, arts & crafts of the Qing imperial city. Occasionally hosts special exhibits that cost extra. ¥20.
- 13 National Art Museum of China (中国美术馆, Zhōngguó Měishù Guǎn), 1 Wusi Street ( 五四大街1号 Wǔsì dàjiē) (N side of Wusi between Beiheyuan and Donghuamen streets; 300m west of Dongsi subway station), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. 9AM-5PM. China's premier art museum with over 35,000sqm of exhibition space in 21 halls on four stories. Collection exhibits both ancient and contemporary work, with some Western art as well. Should become easier to reach once planned subway stop opens. Free, but only 4,000 tickets available until 4PM daily.
- 14 National Museum of China (中国国家博物馆 Zhōngguó Guójiā Bówùguǎn), 16 East Chang'an St, (东长安街16马 Dōngcháng'ānjiē) (E side of Tienanmen Square), ☎ . 09:00-17:00, closed on Mondays. A huge museum containing the ancient and recent history of the Chinese nation. Modern history exhibit focuses on the successes of the Communist party (and obviously not the negatives). Most exhibits have short English explanations. Free; foreign visitors must show their passport.
- 15 [dead link]The Poly Museum (保利博物馆; Bǎolì Bówùguǎn), 14 Dongzhimen South Street (东直门南大街14号; Dōngzhímén Nándàjiē) (Just northeast of Dongsishitiao Metro Station (line 2)), ☎ , fax: . Mo-Sa 9:30AM-4:30PM. Small art museum specialising in bringing Chinese artifacts home to China from abroad. Main exhibitions cover ancient bronze art, ancient stone carvings and Buddha statues. ¥50.
- 16 Mao Dun Former Residence (茅盾故居; Máodùn Gùjū), 13 Yuanensi Hutong (后圆恩寺胡同13号; Hòuyuánēnsì Hútòng) (1.5km southeast of Beixinqiao Metro Station (line 5), or buses 113, 755 to Jiaodaokou South Station (交道口南)), ☎ . 9AM-4PM. Mao Dun (1896-1981) was a famous revolutionary writer. His former residence including personal effects and writings can be seen here. ¥5.
- 17 Dadu Museum of Art, No 28, Guozijan Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, ☎ . Opening Time 09:30 am - 17:30 pm ( After 16:00 No Entering and it's Closed in Mondays). Beijing Dadu Museum of Art, a high-profile institution in the public interest, was built with the strong support and assistance of the Beijing Culture & Art Foundation and China Oil Painting Society. The museum has opened to the public since 2013 after 04 years of construction. Covering an area of 11,000 square meters, the museum is located in Chenggxian Street in Beijing, a renowned historical and cultural area near Yonghegong Lama Temple and adjoining the Confucian Temple and Guozijianóthe former imperial college for ancient dynasties. Designed by the world-famous architect Tadao Ando, The Beijing Dadu Museum of Art building is itself a perfect work of art, emboyding a combination of Western modern design concept with Oriental classic aesthetic ideology. After its completion the museum will be a professional exhibition venue within Chinese oil paintig circles which will permanently shows its own collected paintings, in addition to holding themed exhibitions and mobile shows.“China Style - China Oil Painting Languge Research Exhibition” and “Character of Painting - 2013 Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition” were hold at the end of 2013 老人、军人、及残疾人士请携带相关证件，凭证件免票。 学生请携带学生证，购买学生票.
- 18 CourtYard Gallery (四合苑画廊; Sìhéyuànhuàláng), 53 Donganmen Dajie (东安门大街53号; Dōngānméndàjiē), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mo-Sa: 11AM-7PM; Su: Noon - 7PM. Founded in 1996. Exhibits emerging and mid-career artists working in a wide range of media. Free.
- 19 onemoon (一月当代; yīyuèdāngdài), Inside Ditan Park, Andingmenwai (安定门外地坛公园; Āndìngménwàidìtángōngyuán) (Just inside S gate), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. We-Su: 10AM-6PM. Chinese artist working in a range of media. Free.
- 20 Wan Fung Art Gallery, 136 Nanchizi Jie (150m N of E Chang'an Ave. Take Exit B from Tian'anmen East station), ☎ . Worth a peek if you're in the area. Housed in a side building in the courtyard of the Imperial Archives, which you can't go in, but is quite impressive. The courtyard itself is a quiet corner in an otherwise crowded area of the city. Free.
- 21 Zhongshan Park (中山公园; Zhōngshāngōngyuán), West side of Tian'anmen (天安门西侧; Tiānānménxīcè), ☎ . Summer 6AM-9PM, winter 6:30AM-8PM. Beautifully landscaped park with lots of trees and bamboo. Paddle boats for rent on the moat of the Forbidden City. Also an indoor playground for children, and bumper cars. Adults ¥3, children free.
- 22 Changpu River Park (菖蒲河公园; Chāngpúhé Gōngyuán) (East of Tian'anmen, parallel to Chang'an Jie). Narrow strip of landscaped park along a small stream. Begins in the east near the Beijing hotel and runs almost to Tian'anmen Gate. Free.
- 23 Ditan Park (地坛公园; Dìtán Gōngyuán; also known as Temple of Earth), Andingmenwai Street (安定门外大街; Āndìngménwài Dàjiē) (300m north of Yonghegong Metro Station (lines 2 and 5)), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 6AM-9PM. Park with a lot of cypresses and also a small amusement park area. ¥2.
- 24 Liuyin Park (柳荫公园; Liǔyìngōngyuán), Jiangzhaikou, Andingmenwai (安定门外蒋宅口; ānìngménwàiJiǎngzháikǒu) (Andingmen Metro Station and walk ten minutes; or bus 108 or 104 to Jiangzhaikou Station), ☎ . 6AM-9:30PM. Park showing what rural China looks like. Also contains children's playground and a tea house. ¥1.
- 25 Qingnianhu Park (青年湖公园; Qīngniánhúgōngyuán), Andingmenwai Street (安定门外大街; āndìngménwàidàjiē) (Between Andingmen and Gulou Outer streets just S of Andeli North Street.), ☎ . Park: summer 6AM-10PM, winter 6AM-9PM; Water world: summer 9AM-10PM, winter closed. The park contains basketball, croquet, golf, electric boats, paddleboards and an amusement zone. Waterland contains a large pool with waterslides. Entrance ¥1; Water world adults ¥15, children ¥10.
- 26 Drum and Bell Towers (钟鼓楼; Zhōnggǔlóu), Di'anmen Street (地安门大街; Dì'ānméndàjiē (200m N of Shichahai station on subway line 2, or accessible by bus 107 or 635 (from Dongzhimen)), ☎ . 9AM-5:00PM (ticket counter closes 4:40PM). The Drum Tower was built in 1272 and moved to a new location in 1800. The Bell Tower was built around 1700. Originally, the towers were used to play music and later on to tell Beijingers the time. Now they house a 63-ton ancient copper bell and a number of ancient/replica drums. Free guides start tours at specific times, and the Drum Tower also has performances every hour or so (usually around half-past). There are great views from the top of the towers, but be prepared to hike up the 60+ (very steep!) steps. Ignore the touts at the bottom who try to push off "hutong tours" in rickety tri-shaws. Drum tower: ¥20; Bell tower ¥15; Ticket for both ¥30; half-price for students.
- 27 Legation Quarter (E of Tiananmen Square). The legation quarter was once, as its name suggests, home to Beijing's many foreign diplomatic missions. During the 1900 Boxer Rebellion, the diplomats and Chinese Christians who sought their protection held out here until a 55-day siege was broken by foreign forces coming over the city walls. The embassies have since moved to larger quarters elsewhere, but the buildings remain. Now occupied by various Chinese government agencies and the military, they are a well-preserved collection of vintage buildings in European architectural styles popular in the late 19th century.
- 28 Ancient Observatory (古欢象台; Gǔhuānxiàngtái), 2 Dongbiaobei Hutong (东裱褙胡同2号; Dōngbiǎobèihútòng) (SW corner of Jianguomen Bridge, close to Beijing Railway Station. Subway line 1 or 2 to Jianguomen station), ☎ . 9AM-5PM (tickets must be bought by 4:30). The observatory, built in 1442, has been open to the public since 1983. Ancient star maps and instruments to watch stars can be seen here. Displays on the history of Chinese astronomy, and several large astronomical instruments set on top of an old watchtower of the city walls. ¥10.
- 29 Chaonei No. 81 (No. 81), 81 Chaoyangmen Inner St, 朝阳门街道内81号 (50m W of Douban Hutong on N side of street; bear left after crossing overpass from Chaoyangmen subway station Exit H). all day or night. This abandoned, overgrown Baroque Revival complex, dating to the early 20th century, has acquired an international reputation as the best-known allegedly haunted house in China. According to residents of the nearby hutongs, even the Red Guards moved out after a few days, supposedly scared off by the ghost of a Kuomintang officer's mistress who hanged herself when he fled to Taiwan without her. It inspired the 2014 film The House That Never Dies, the highest-grossing Chinese horror film. Although it has long remained unoccupied, it is currently being restored. You may still look at it and take pictures. Free.
- 1 Beijing North Theater (北兵马司剧场; Běibīngmǎsījùchǎng), 67 Jiaodaokou South Street (交道口大街67号; Jiāodàokǒudàjiē) (SE corner of Dongwang Hutong intersection), ☎ .
- 2 Beijing Seven-Color Light Children's Theater (北京七色光儿童剧院; Běijīngqīsèguāngértóngjùyuàn), 14 Ju'er Hutong, Jiaodaokou (交道口菊儿胡同14号; Jiāodàokǒujúérhútòng) (60m E of Nanluogoxiang intersrection), ☎ . As the name would suggest, shows for children
- 3 [dead link]Capital Theater (首都剧场; Shǒudūjùchǎng), 22 Wangfujing Street (王府井大街22号; Wángfǔjǐngdàjiē) (Three blocks south of Dongsi W and Wusi streets intersection; across from Wangfujing Grand Hotel), ☎ , fax: . Tu-Sa: 6PM. This theater is used by a number of different theater groups, including Beijing People's Art Theater. Performances include both contemporary and classical Chinese plays. Price range between ¥40-500 and ¥120-680.
- 4 Central Academy of Drama Theater (中央戏剧学院实验小剧场; Zhōngyāngxìjùxuéyuànshíyànxiǎojùchǎng), 39 Dongmianhua Hutong (东棉花胡同39号; Dōngmiánhuahútòng) (60m E of Nanluogoxiang), ☎ . Performances include both plays and dance.
- 5 Central Experimental Drama Theater (国家话剧院; Guójiāhuàjùyuàn), 45A Mao'er Hutong, Di'anmenwai Street (地安门外大街猫儿胡同45号; Dìānménwàidàjiēmāoérhútòng) (One block E of Di'anmen Outer St.), ☎ . Both Chinese and foreign plays and both classical and experimental.
- 6 [dead link]Chang'an Grand Theater (长安大戏院; Chángāndàxìyuàn), 7 Jianguomennei Street (建国门内大街7号; Jiànguóménnèidàjiē) (At Gongyuan West St., one block W of Jianguomen subway station exit A), ☎ , fax: . 9AM-7:30PM. Traditional Chinese performances with focus on Beijing Opera. Also has a shop with paintings and folk handicrafts.
- 7 China Children's Art Theater (中国儿童剧场; Zhōngguóértóngjùchǎng), 64 Donganmen Street (东安门大街64号; Dōngānméndàjiē) (SW corner of Wangfujing W St. intersection), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Established in 1956. Stages children's plays.
- 8 Dongyuan Theater (东苑戏楼; Dōngyuànxìlóu), Inside the Garden of Changpu River (菖蒲河公园内; Chāngpúhégōngyuánnèi) (End of Nanwanzi Hutong, off S Chizi St.).
- Poly Theatre (保利剧院; Bǎolìjùyuàn), 14 Donzhimen South Street (东直门南大街4号; Dōngzhíménnándàjiē) (Subway line 2, Dongsishitiao station, northeast exit. Same building as Poly Museum, above), ☎ , fax: . Large theater holding 1,428 seats, eight balcony boxes and two VIP boxes. Chinese, classical music, opera and ballet performances are staged here by both Chinese and international artist groups. The [Beijing Music Festival http://www.bmf.org.cn] is also held here. Prices range between ¥90-380 and ¥180-1,280.
- 9 Universal Theater (天地剧场; Tiāndìjùchǎng), 10 Dongzhimen South Street (东直门南大街10号; Dōngzhíménnándàjiē) (Subway line 2, Dongsishitiao station, northeast exit, along Second Ring road to the north of Poly plaza), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 7:15PM. Acrobatic show performed by China Acrobatic Troupe. The theater itself is less impressive than the show. ¥180-480.
- 10 Goldsail Concert Hall (金帆音乐厅; Jīnfānyīnyuètīng), 24 Wangfujing Street (24 Wangfujing Street (王府井大街24号; Wángfǔjǐngdàjiē) (Next to Capital Theatre, across from Wangfujing Grand Hotel, three blocks south of Wusi and Dongsi W streets intersection), ☎ . Small concert hall without speakers. Suitable for chamber music also.
Hutongs are the old neighbourhoods and alleyways of Beijing. While all four inner districts still have hutong neighbourhoods (for now), Dongcheng's are among the most extensive and best preserved, and most enjoyable for wandering. Turn off any major thoroughfare in the northern half of the district, and you will find yourself in real, living neighbourhoods, filled with local residents, small shops and food stalls and markets. For a good introduction to the hutongs, the area between Bell Tower and Lama Temple is easy for exploration, as most of the lanes run east-west, making it quite easy to wander from Bell Tower to Lama Temple or vice-versa, which should take about half an hour. The restored touristy hutong of Nanluoguxiang is worth a visit for shopping, eating, and drinking, and here too you can easily branch off down the side alleys for a glimpse of the less restored and more authentic hutongs. If walking is not your thing, try a rickshaw tour. Rickshaws converge during the day in the square between Drum and Bell Towers. You can try your luck bargaining with the drivers, or there is a fixed-price ticket booth in northwest corner of the square, offering hutong rickshaw tours for ¥180.
- 11 Culture Yard (天井越洋 Tiānjǐng yuèyáng), 10 Shique Hutong (石雀胡同10号) (400m E of Beixingqiao station exit C), ☎ . 9AM-7PM Mo-Fr, 10AM-7PM Sa. Explore Chinese culture through various workshops. Culture Yard is a foreign-run cultural centre in the heart of Beijing that offers language courses as well as cultural workshops, which focus on introducing Chinese culture to the international community, and foreign culture to the local community. Culture Yard hosts film, mahjong, tea, calligraphy, discussion seminars, art classes, Mandarin and other language study programs, and wine tastings. ¥1,400 per course.
- 12 Hutong Cuisine Cooking School, 35 Dengcao Hutong (灯草胡同35号) (At SE corner of Dongsi S St intersection 200m S of Dongsi subway stop Exit C), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 10:30AM, every day. A few places around Nanluoguxiang now offer Chinese cooking classes. One such place, Hutong Cuisine, is run by an English-speaking chef in a small hutong home. Classes are small. Reservations are necessary. Optional market tours are also conducted before cooking classes commence. ¥300 per person.
- 13 New China Children's Store (新中国儿童用品商店; Xīnzhōngguóértóngyòngpǐnshāngdiàn), 168 Wangfujing Street (王府井大街168号; Wángfǔjǐngdàjiē) (In pedestrian area on E side, across from Beijing Dept. Store, two blocks S of Dong'anmen St. and Jinyu Hutong intersection), ☎ . 9AM-10PM. Play center for children where the kids can catch goldfish, play in the gigantic sandpit or other. They also sell all kind of gear for children. ¥10-20 each ride.
- 14 Natooke (Natooke), 19-1 Wudaoying Hutong 五道营胡同甲19-1号 (near the Lama Temple and Yonghegong Station exit D), ☎ . Daily 10am-7pm. Bicycle shop for hire, purchases and upgrades owned by a champion bike acrobat.
- 1 Wangfujing (王府井大街 Wángfǔjǐng Dàjiē) (Subway line 1, Wangfujing station). Beijing's most famous shopping street, nowadays with mostly the same international brands and modern malls you will find anywhere else in the world. The street is pedestrianised for several blocks, making it pleasant to walk around. Several large malls in the area such as Oriental Plaza (see below) and Sun Dong An plaza. One useful shop is the Foreign Language Bookstore, at the northern end of the pedestrian area, which has a good selection of guidebooks and maps (although expensive). Wangfujing snack street (see also "Eat") in the alleys just to the east has vendors selling souvenirs and crafts. Bargain hard.
- 2 The Malls at Oriental Plaza (东方新天地 Dōngfāng Xīn Tiāndì), East of Tian'anmen Square, on Wangfujing (Wangfujing station on line 1 has an exit that leads directly in to the mall at its west end. Dongdan station on lines 1 & 5 is at the east end). At one time this was the largest mall in Asia. Modern shopping mall is expensive but provides you with a lot of buying opportunities from diamonds, to real (affordable) DVD's, (international) music CD's and food. You can find lots of brands in Oriental Plaza, from high-end to low. Besides shopping, you also can eat here, from Western cuisine to traditional Chinese food.
- 3 Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷; Nánluógǔxiàng; some partly translated signs say 'South Luogu Alley'). This restored hutong, just east of Drum Tower and Houhai, is lined with boutiques and small shops. Not the place for bargains, but this is where to come for unique and distinct gifts including T-shirts, pottery, jewellery, etc.
- 4 NagQu (那曲), No.67 Wudaoying Hutong 东城区五道营胡同67号 (near the Lama Temple and Yonghegong Station exit D), ☎ . A small shop selling handcrafted bags, scarfs and pottery made with natural materials.
- 1 Poetry Cafe (诗意栖居旅行咖啡馆), NO 15 Nanchizi street Dongcheng District Beijing (南池子大街15号故宫东华门旁 (Exit B of TianAnMen East Station, North of NanChiZi Street.), ☎ . 10:00-22:00. A beautiful cafe with soul as its name "Poetry", is operated by a lovely young lady, who enjoy travel and photography, that she successfully gather a group of 'specialists' in those fields; thus, customers can get tonnes of information about travel and photography. Customers can enjoy a view of the Forbidden City over a perfectly brewed coffee.
- 2 Wangfujing Snack Street (王府井小吃街; Wángfǔjǐngxiǎochījiē) (In the alley to the west of the pedestrian zone on Wangfujing Dajie). Many stalls selling Beijing-style snacks, both sweet and savoury.
- 3 Donghuamen Night Market (东华门夜市; Dōnghuāmén Yèshì) (Along Dong'anmen Dajie, at the north end of the Wangfujing pedestrian area). Late afternoon and evening only. The place to come for exotic snacks such as scorpions, starfish, and silkworm grubs. You can also buy more typical snacks like fried noodles, dumplings, and kebabs. More expensive than a "real" neighbourhood market, but still reasonably priced. ¥5-20 per item.
- 4 Oriental Dumpling King (东方饺子王; Dōngfāngjiǎoziwáng), 14 Chaoyangmen Nanxiaojie (朝阳门南小街14号楼; Cháoyángménnánxiǎojiē) (On east side of street near Lumicang. Bus 24 from Dongzhimen or Beijing Railway Station. No English sign.), ☎ . 10AM-10PM. Cheap and delicious Dongbei (northeast) style dumplings. This is a chain, one of several around town. Their location in Harbin is recommended in several guidebooks, but if you're not going there you can get the same dumplings in Beijing. A few dozen different kinds, and can be boiled or fried. As with many dumpling places, order by weight: An order is usually two liang (èr liǎng) which is 100g, about 10-12 dumplings.
- 5 Guijie (簋街/鬼街; Guǐjiē) (Beixinqiao subway station on Line 5 is at the west end of the strip). Beijing's most famous food street is probably Guijie (sometimes called Ghost Street), which runs east-west along Dongzhimen Nei Dajie from Jiaodaokou Dong Dajie to Dongzhimen Lijiaomen Bridge on the Second Ring Road, Dongcheng District. Red lanterns, traditional courtyards, hundreds of restaurants along the street. Eating on Ghost Street is about more than food and drink, it's a way of life for many Beijingers. Take your pick of restaurants, there are all kinds here.
- 6 Huajiayiyuan (花家怡园; Huājiāyíyuán), Dongzhimennei Street 235 (东直门内大街235号; Dōngzhíménnèi Dàjiē) (On the north side of the street, nearer western end), ☎ . One of the largest tourist traps. Tasteless food in lovely plates though. Housed in a series of interconnected courtyards. Not as much for people who like Chinese food; rather those who like taking pictures of food. Try places where you see locals waiting on benches to be seated instead.
- Donglaishun (东来顺; Dōngláishùn). Daily 11AM-2PM and 5PM-9PM. This king of Beijing hotpot has been around since the 19th century. Founded by the Hui (ethnic Muslims), Donglaishun serves halal cuts of top-quality lamb and beef. Also serves cooked-by-chef dishes, including traditional Beijing sweets.
- 7 Wangfujing branch, 198 Wangfujing Dajie (东城区王府井大街198号) (Opposite Wangfujing Snack Street), ☎ . Subway: Line 1 to Wangfujing
- Yuxin Sichuan Restaurant (渝信川菜; Yúxìn Chuāncài). M-F 10AM-10PM, Sa-Su 11AM-10PM. One of the contenders in the ongoing competition for Beijing's best Sichuanese, Yuxin delivers on authenticity, flavor, and service. It's always busy, and always good. ¥30-50 per person.
- 8 7 Jiangguomen Nei Dajie (In Bright China Chang'an Bldg at Gongyuan W St, near Chang'an Theater). (长安大剧院，建国门内大街7号 Chángān Dàjùyuàn, Jiànguómén Nèidàjiē Qī hào). (Take the subway Lines 1 or 2 to Jianguomen, take Exit A, and walk west). Try their location in the Chang'an Grand Theatre for a calmer setting decorated in a traditional style, with alcoves divided by bamboo screens.
- 9 Yuxiang Renjia (渝乡人家), Hepingli Dongjie (和平里东街) (One (long) block E of E entrance to Ditan Park (on the next major road). Bus 117 or 123 from Dongzhimen.), ☎ . Delicious Sichuan food. If you want to try Sichuan but are a little afraid of the spiciness, this place is a good choice: It's still spicy, but not as mouth-numbing as some other places. Reasonable prices, and a faux rural-village decor. There are a dozen locations around town.
- 10 Mr Shi's Dumplings (老石饺子馆), 74 Baochao Hutong 宝钞胡同74号, ☎ . 10am-10pm. Mr. Shi’s Dumplings restaurant is different from other dumpling hot spots in Beijing, in that although it is good, it totally caters to foreigners.
For vegetarians, Beijing's first pure vegetarian buffet restaurant is in the Confucius Temple on Guozijian street, west of the famous Lama Temple (see listing above under "Temples"). No English menu so far, but you can just ask for the buffet, which contains a large variety of delicious vegetarian dishes, as well as a vegetarian hotpot, and a large selection of dessert.
- 11 Underground Restaurant (爱在地下), No.26 Wudaoying Hutong, Yonghegong 东城区雍和宫五道营胡同26号, ☎ . Romantic Italian-Chinese fusion in an underground hideaway. 60-100 pp.
- 12 Vineyard Cafe, 31 Wudaoying Hutong (五道营胡同31号) (Close to Lama Temple: First alley south of and parallel to Second Ring Road). Great place for Western-style breakfast and brunch in a restored hutong home. Also great European/fusion dishes, including some vegetarian options. A good dessert choice is the chocolate brownie with ice cream.
- 13 Xiao Xin's Cafe (小新的店), 103 Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷103号) (NW corner of Mao'er Hutong intersection). One of the original cafes along this hutong, and now has many imitators. Great coffee and desserts, although the rest of the food is not particularly special.
- 14 Pebbles Courtyard (卵石庭院), 74 Wudaoying Hutong 雍和宫五道营胡同74号, ☎ . noon-11pm. This restaurant's Mexican offerings are authentic, and the soft-shelled tacos are excellent. It's a nice location to spend a laid-back evening.
- 15 Jardin de Jade (苏浙汇), Huijia Center, 6 Jiqingli, Chaowai Street 朝外大街吉庆里6号佳汇中心B座苏浙汇, ☎ . Daily 11am - 10pm. A great restaurant for Cantonese and Shanghainese food. 120-200 pp.
- Dadong Duck Restaurant (大董烤鸭店 Dàdŏng Kăoyā Diàn), Three locations in district—see website [dead link]. Daily 11AM-10PM. Considered by some to be the best Peking duck in the city, this upscale restaurant also delivers on a nice atmosphere. Reservations suggested. full/half Peking duck is ¥240/120 with extra ¥8 for condiments. Meal is served with free hot water, small soup, light fruits and black sesame for dessert. sea cucumber ¥200-600, lobster ¥200+, steamed humphead wrasse with green shallot ¥2000y, +10% service charge.
- 16 Dongsi Shitiao branch, Dongsi Shitiao 22A, Bldg. 1-2 of the Nanxin Cang International Tower (东四十条甲22号南新仓国际大厦1-2楼) (Just southwest of Dongsishitiao subway station on Line 2, entrance is at the back (south) of the building), ☎ . This is the newer and more impressive of Dadong's branches.
- 17 Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard, 95 Donghuamen Dajie (东华门大街95号) (On Forbidden City moat W of S Chizi St.), ☎ . 5PM-11PM. The Courtyard overlooks the moat surrounding the south-east corner of the wall of the Forbidden City. At night, the wall and tower are illuminated which gives a sense of being in old Peking. The cuisine is modern international fusion food. After the original Courtyard closed in 2012, McKenna and the original owner reopened it the following year with a similar fusion cuisine ¥588/person for six-course tasting menu; wine extra.
- 18 [dead link]Saveurs de Coree, 29 Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷29号), 20 Ju'er Hutong (SE corner of Nanluogoxiang intersection; 1 block S of Gulou E St.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Korean food in a fancy setting. Can be expensive, but special set menus are a good deal.
Bar cluster established around 2006 in hutong area east of Houhai. The atmosphere in this area is still more authentic Beijing than the neighboring Houhai area, and the action here usually starts already during the afternoon.
- 1 12SQM (12平米; Shíèrpíngmǐ), 1 Fuxiang Hutong, Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷福祥胡同1号; Nánluógǔxiàngfúxiánghútòng) (SW corner of Nanluogoxiang intersection (first N of Di'anmen E St).), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 5PM-midnight. Very small bar/café that takes its name from its original floor space (website claims it's the smallest in Beijing, although it has expanded to 45sqm since)
- 2 Guitar Bar (吉他吧; Jítābā), 40 Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷40号; Nánluógǔxiàng) (SE corner of Qianyuan'ensi Hutong intersection), ☎ . 6PM-12AM. Very small bar with standard drink and Italian food. Guitar jam most nights.
- 3 Hutong Bar (胡同儿; Hútòngér), 39 Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷39号; Nánluógǔxiàng) (First four-way intersection S of Gulou E St.), ☎ . 3PM-2AM. Small bar serving tea and beer.
- 4 Jianghu Bar (江湖酒吧; Jiānghújiǔbā), 7 Dongmianhua Hutong (东棉花胡同7号; Dōngmiánhuahútòng) (60m W of Jiaodaokou S St on N side), ☎ . Simple live music venue.
- 5 alba, 70 Gulou Dongdajie (鼓楼东大街70号; Gǔlóudōngdàjiē) (100m E of Nanluogoxiang, S side of street at end of alley), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 4PM-late. Bar serving signature cocktails, mixed drinks, rums and whiskeys.
- 6 Mao Live House, 111 Gulou East Street (鼓楼东大街111号; Gǔlóudōngdàjiē) (NE corner of Nanluogoxiang intersection), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Most shows start around 8-9PM. Live rock music venue. The stage is great, the sound system is okay and the concert room and furniture are very basic. ¥40-80.
- 7 The Pool Bar, 106 Gulou Dongdajie (鼓楼东大街106号; Gǔlóudōngdàjiē) (SW corner of Nanluogoxiang intersection), ☎ . 6PM-2AM. Yes, they do have a pool table (and also foosball). Cheap.
- 8 Reef Bar, 14 Nanluoguxiang (南锣鼓巷14号; Nánluógǔxiàng) (50m S of Gulou E St), ☎ . 2:30PM-4:30AM. Basic bar. Not Cheap.
- 9 Salud (老伍酒吧 Lǎowǔ Jiǔbā; e.a.t), 66 Nánluógǔxiàng 南锣鼓巷66号, ☎ . A Spanish-style tapas bar. Blues jam every Thursday, 9pm. ¥20 for 0.5l Tsingtao.
- 10 Tree House, 81 Ju'er Hutong (菊儿胡同81号; Júérhútòng) (30m W of Nanluogoxiang on N side of street), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 8:30AM-1AM. Small and quiet pub/café, one of the few to be open also in the morning. Evening events now and then. Coffee from ¥15; beer from ¥10.
- 11 Great Leap Brewing I 大跃啤酒, 6 Doujiao Hutong 角胡同6号 (60m south of Fangzhuanchang Hutong), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Quite possibly the most difficult bar to find in Beijing. Although it's in the center of everything it's nestled so snugly inside a residential neighborhood that it's nearly impossible for first-timers to locate. It's one of Beijing's first (if not the first) real microbrewery. Founded by a few American guys and one's Chinese wife they have been a huge hit in China and internationally and have been featured on NBC, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and most expat related magazines in China. The beer menu changes almost weekly but a few standards are always on the board. They are expanding with new stores and distributing to other bars in Beijing. Pints from ¥25.
- 12 Pass By Bar (过客), 108 Nanluogu Xiang 南锣鼓巷108号 (200m north of Nanluoguxiang Station, Exit E), ☎ . Daily 9.30am-2am. Cool bar in the heart of Nanluoguxiang, serves beer and food, with open-air upstairs to look out over the hutongs. Lots of great posters to admire. 30-50 pp.
- 13 Hot Cat Club (北京热力猫音乐俱乐部), 46 Fangjia Hutong 东城区方家胡同46号, ☎ . 10am-12pm. Going to this live music venue at Fangjia 46 is a like having a band play in your living room at a house party. There's room to dance in front of the makeshift stage and couches to escape a set you're not that into. With great imported beers, friendly staff, and all their shows being free, it's a great place to check out a local band. ¥30-50 pp.
Drum Tower and Bell Tower area
Another smaller and quieter cluster of bars, close to both Houhai and Nanluoguxiang.
- 14 Ball House, 40 Zhonglouwan, Gulou Dajie (鼓楼大街钟楼湾40号; Gǔlóudàjiēzhōnglóuwān) (SE of Bell Tower), ☎ . 2PM-3AM. Bar with pool and foosball. Frequented by local artists.
- 15 Bed Bar (床; Chuáng), 17 Zhangwang Hutong, Jiu Gulou Dajie (旧鼓楼大街张旺胡同17号; Jiùgǔlóudàjiēzhāngwànghútòng) (100m E of Jiugulou St), ☎ . 2PM-3AM. Relaxed bar with a lot of rugs and pillows.
- 16 Drum and Bell, 41 Zhonglouwan Hutong (On the west side of the square between Bell and Drum towers.), ☎ . Best part of this bar is the comfortable rooftop patio (especially if you can score a table with couches) that overlooks the Bell Tower and the square (which at night is clear of tour buses and used by locals playing badminton).
- 17 Jiangjin Bar (疆进酒; Jiāngjìnjiǔ), 2 Zhongku hutong (钟库胡同2号; Zhōngkùhútòng) (S side of hutong on W side of Bell and Drum tower square), ☎ . Noon-2AM. The cocktails are not good, but the live folk music jam is great.
- 18 Zen Bar, 18 Zhonglouwan Hutong (钟楼湾18号; Zhōnglóuwān) (Off NE side of Bell Tower), ☎ . 10AM-11PM. Very small and quiet bar hidden away in a hutong. Nice simple surroundings including a lot of Buddhas. Beer from ¥15.
- 19 Earl Bar (伯爵酒吧; Bójuéjiǔbā), 1 Dongdan North Street (东单北大街1号; Dōngdānběidàjiē) (At back of building, SW corner of Jinyu Hutong intersection; 1 block S of Dengshikou station, next to Peninsula Hotel), ☎ . 7PM-2AM. Very basic bar with local DJs. Cheap.
- 20 Mao Mao Chong Bar, 55A Wu Dao Ying Hutong (市东城区交道口南大街板厂胡同12号; 12 Ban Chang HutongJiao Dao Kou Nan Jie(Near South end of Nan Luo Gu Xiang)DongCheng District) (At corner of Chaodou Hutong, one block W of Jiaodoukou S St), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 5:30PM-late. This relaxed hutong pub serves reasonably priced international beers, wines and stellar cocktails. The walls are decorated with art and t-shirts for sale by the bar's owners, a husband-wife team who also cook up some of the city's best pizzas. Just east of Nanluoguxiang, Mao Mao Chong is the perfect escape from Beijing's flashy bar districts. Pizzas ¥45-¥75, antipasto ¥45, cocktails from ¥40, bottled beers from ¥30. Cheaper than most bars in Beijing.
- 21 Minty, 26 Mao'er Hutong (帽儿胡同26号; Màoérhútòng) (80m E of where the bends to the south, away from the street, when coming from Di'anmen Outer Street), ☎ . 1PM-midnight. Neighborhood bar with live folk music now and then. Cheap.
- 22 Star Live (星光现场; Xīngguāngxiànchǎng), 79 Hepingli Xijie (和平里西街79号; Hépínglǐxījiē) (At NW corner of Andingmen E Binhe Rd intersection just north of 2nd Ring Road), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 9AM-7PM. Medium sized live rock music venue specialising in death metal. Staging both Chinese and international bands.
- Tango (糖果; Tángguǒ), 79 Hepingli Xijie (和平里西街79号; Hépínglǐxījiē) (In same building as Star Live), ☎ . 24 hours. Big club with a vast dance floor, a chillout lounge and KTV. Features big-name DJs.
- Tantra, 79 Hepingli Xijie (和平里西街79号; Hépínglǐxījiē) (In same building as Star Live and Tango), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 8PM-late. Buddha temple themed cocktail lounge with English speaking crew and house music. Beer from ¥35.
- 23 Yugong Yishan (愚公移山; Yúgōngyíshān), 3-2 Zhangzizhong Road(张自忠路3-2号; Zhāngzìzhōnglù) (2 min walk west along Zhangzizhong Road from Zhangzizhonglu subway station, after the entrance to the former site of the Ding Qurai government), ☎ . Shows usually start at 10PM. The cream of Beijing's nascent rock scene can be enjoyed at this modern and tastefully presented venue. ¥20 and up for drinks, shows are between ¥30 and ¥80.
- 24 Paddy O'Shea's (爱尔兰酒吧), 28 Dongzhimenwai Dajie 东直门外大街28号 (400m east of Exit C, Dongshimen Station, opposite Australian embassy), ☎ . Daily 10am-late. Beijing's original Irish Sports Pub with daily events 50-80 pp.
- 25 Modernista (老摩), 44 Baochao Hutong, Gulou Dongdajie 鼓楼东大街宝钞胡同44号, ☎ . Daily 6pm-late. Modernista is a European-inspired cafe, restaurant and bar in the heart of Beijing traditional hutongs. They also showcase what they say is "the best of Beijing´s live music, performances, art and cultural events". 30-50 per person.
- 26 The Distillery by Capital Spirits (首都酒坊), 23 Xinsi Huntong 辛寺胡同23号, ☎ . 8pm-late. Capital Spirits claims to be the world’s first bar dedicated to baijiu and craft liquor. The serve baijiu, craft Chinese beers, lesser-known fine spirits from around the world, and specialty baijiu cocktails. 40-90 pp.
- 1 Beijing City Central Youth Hostel, 1-5 Beijing Station West St. (北京站西街1-5号; Běijīngzhàn xījiē (at the corner of Beijingzhanjie and Beijingzhan Xijie), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. The largest hostel in Beijing, with central air conditioning and individual controls in each of the 200 rooms. It offers a computer/internet room, billiards, bar, and karaoke. On the 1st and 2nd levels are a 24-hour supermarket, breakfast bar, coffee lounge, ATM, phones for international dialing, express film processing, a mobile phone shop, and post office. The rooms on the 3rd to 6th floors include ensuites, doubles, singles, and four- and eight-bunk dormitories. Dorms ¥60 (4-8 beds), doubles with shared bathrooms ¥160.
- 2 Beijing Saga International Youth Hostel (北京实佳国际青年旅舍; Běijīng Shíjiā Guójìqīngniánlǚshè), 9 Shijia Hutong, Nanxiao Street (南小街史家胡同9号; Nánxiǎojiē Shǐjiāhútòng) (From the station, follow the road north past the Beijing International Hotel, after about a ten minute walk look for the hostel sign with an arrow pointing down one of the hutongs on the left side), ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Very popular with backpackers. There's a restaurant on the top floor. The staff speak some English. Dorms ¥40-50, doubles ¥160, triples ¥180.
- 3 Beijing Zaoyuanju Hotel (北京枣园居宾馆; Běijīngzǎoyuánjūbīnguǎn), 17 Zhangwang Hutong, Jiugulou Street (旧鼓楼大街张旺胡同17号; Jiùgǔlóudàjiē Zhāngwànghútòng) (500m south from Guoloudajie Metro Station (line 2)), ☎ , fax: . Rooms with free internet. Ticket office and laudry service available. Western restaurant, bar and room service. The rooms and especially the bathrooms are small. There is some noise from other guests and from the hutong life outside. Great location close to bar areas and sights. Listed rates for doubles from ¥288, discounted from ¥170; breakfast ¥10.
- 4 Dongzhimen Golden Pineapple Youth Hostel (北京金菠萝国际青年酒店; Běijīng Jīnbōluó Guójìqīngniánjiǔdiàn), 18 Xinzhong Street (新中街18号; Xīnzhōngjiē) (700m southeast of Dongzhimen Metro Station (line 2)), ☎ . Cheapest doubles are very small and bath and toilet is separated from the rest of the room only by a glass wall. Internet, snack shop, safety box, laundry room, guest kitchen and car and bike rental available. Restaurant and bar. Listed/discounted rates for doubles from ¥230/¥180, disounted rates for dorms from ¥34.
- 5 Eastern Morning Youth Hostel, Dongdan Santiao, behind the Oriental Plaza (in the basement of the Oriental Plaza complex next to Wangfujing Pedestrian Street), ☎ . A great budget option if price is your primary concern. The staff do not speak much English but are friendly. Internet access is available at ¥10 per hour. It is a five-minute walk to the Dongdan or Wangfujing subway stations and about a 15-minute walk to the International Hotel airport shuttle stop. Private rooms cost about ¥90 per night—book in advance.
- 6 Flowering House Hostel (北京易静小栈国际青年旅舍; Běijīng Yìjìngxiǎozhàn Guójìqīngniánlǚshè), 23 Huageng Hutong, Jiaodaokou (交道口花梗胡同23号; Jiāodàokǒu Huāgěnghútòng) (300m southwest of Beixinqiao Metro Station (line 5)), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Hostel in traditional courtyard. Free internet, safe, laundry facilities, massage and bicycle rent available. Chinese and Western restaurant. Listed rates for dorms/doubles without bathroom/doubles with bathroom from ¥60/¥179/¥289, discounted from ¥30/¥179/¥260.
- 7 Hepingli Hotel (北京和平里宾馆; Běijīnghépínglǐbīnguǎn), Xinghua Road, Hepingli (和平里兴化路; Hépínglǐ Xīnghuàlù) (500m northwest of Hepinglibeijie Metro Station (line 5)), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Three star hotel. The cheapest rooms are quite small. Rooms with free internet. Business center, ticket office, fitness and sauna available. Chinese restaurant. This hotel should not be confused with the more up-scale Beijing Hepingli Hotel. Listed rates for doubles in old building ¥268, discounted from ¥172; breakfast ¥28; rooms in new building somewhat more expensive.
- 8 Home Inn (Beijing Jiaodaokou) (如家酒店 (北京交道口店); Rújiājiǔdiàn), 113 Jiaodaokou East Street (交道口东大街113号; Jiāodàokǒudōngdàjiē) (600m W of Beixinqiao Metro Station (line 5); N up alley), ☎ , fax: . Small rooms with free internet. Business center and laundry service available. Chinese restaurant and room service. Listed rates for doubles from ¥219, discounted from ¥182; breakfast ¥15.
- 9 P.LOFT Youth Hostel (北京炮局工厂青年旅舍; Běijīng Pàojúgōngchǎng Qīngniánlǚ shè) (500m southeast of Yonghegong Metro Station (lines 2 and 5)), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Located close to Yonghegong Lama Temple and Guijie Food Street. Internet, ticket office, laudry, table tennis, billard, basketball and bike rental available. Restaurant and bar. Discounted rates for dorms from ¥30, doubles from ¥180.
- Purple Courtyard, no.24 Shajing Hutong, NanLuoGuXiang, Dongcheng, ☎ . Check-out: before 12:00. Wonderful location in a hutong, surrounded by a mass of eateries and a couple of mini-markets. Five-minute walk to buses and Shichahai metro, 10-minute walk to Nanluoguxiang metro. Bustling area but a five-minute walk from a complex of lakes. Friendly English-speaking staff who are always available to help. TV in Chinese, free Wi-Fi, private facilities, A/C and use of fridge freezer, which is important in the Beijing heat & humidity. Price example, ¥408 for a triple room.
- 10 Star of City Hotel (北京都市之星酒店; Běijīngdūshìzhīxīngjiǔdiàn), 216 Dongzhimennei Street (东直门内大街216号; Dōngzhíménnèidàjiē) (300m east of Beixinqiao Metro Station (line 5)), ☎ , fax: . Large rooms with free Internet. Ticket office and laundry service available. No restaurant but a tea house. Can be loud, get an interior room. Clean bathroom, but very old beds. More suited to Chinese, though English-speaking staff is available. One stop away from the Lama Temple. Listed rates for doubles without window from ¥268, discounted from ¥198; breakfast ¥15; rooms with window only slightly more expensive.
- 11 Wangfujing Dawan Hotel (北京王府井大万酒店; Běijīngwángfǔjǐngdàwànjiǔdiàn), 2 Ganyu Hutong, Dongdan Bei Street (东单北大街甘雨胡同甲2号; Dōngdānběidàjiēgānyǔhútòng) (50m west of Denshikou Metro Station (line 5)), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms with free Internet, television, a/c and fridge. Business center and bath center including sauna available. Chinese restaurant. The rooms are alright, the bathrooms not too bright or clean, and the service level fluctuates, but the low price and great location make up for it. Listed rates for doubles from ¥238, discounted from ¥137; breakfast ¥15.
A number of mid-range hotels are located east of the Dongzhimen subway station. From the subway stop, walk around 800m east to the next big intersection. On the southeast corner is another Home Inn location (see listing above). On the northern side of the street (not on the main road itself, but in the residential compound behind), half a dozen large hotels can be found. A double costs ¥150-250 a night depending on the season. It's worth haggling and comparing with the other hotels around before you book. Although the hotels are conveniently near a ring road, the subway also provides a convenient and quick access to the city center. Right next to the subway station there is a McDonalds, and—more interestingly—a large shopping center (Ginza Mall) with a food court hidden in the lowest floor.
- 12 Beijing Fuhao Hotel (北京富豪酒店; Běijīngfùháojiǔdiàn), 45 Wangfujing Avenue (王府井大街45号; Wáng fǔ jǐngdà jiē) (2 blocks S of Wusi and Dongsi W Streets intersection), ☎ . The hotel offers 104 air-conditioned rooms with mini-bar, cable TV, free internet and fridge. Among its facilities are Lao Chongqing Hot-pot City Restaurant, Wangfujing Roast Duck Restaurant, a sauna club, and a night club/KTV. Rates for doubles on official website from ¥364.47.
- 13 Beijing Golden Palace Silver Street (北京金府银街大酒店; Běijīngjīnfǔyínjiēdàjiǔdiàn), 31 Ganyu Hutong, Wangfujing Street (王府井大街甘雨胡同31号; Wángfǔjǐngdàjiē Gānyǔhútòng (200m west of Dengshikou Metro Station (line 5)), ☎ , fax: . Rooms with internet access against surcharge as well as aircon, mini bar and safe. Cheapest rooms and bathrooms are quite small and not too clean. Business center, karaoke, beauty salon, gym and rooftop garden available. Chinese and Western restaurant as well as a coffee shop. Listed rates for doubles without window from ¥588, discounted from ¥172, rooms with window somewhat more expensive; western breakfast ¥20.
- 14 Beijing Harmony Hotel (华美伦酒店; Huáměilún Jiǔdiàn), 59 Suzhou Hutong, Youtong Street (1 block N of the Beijing Railway Station), ☎ . International 3 star hotel with only 3-minutes walk to the Beijing Railway Station and Dongdan Shopping street. Convenient location for tourists. ¥488.
- 15 [dead link]Beijing Qianyuan International Business Hotel (北京乾元国际商务酒店; Běijīng gānyuán guójì shāngwù jiǔdiàn), 19 Dongzhimennei Avenue (东直门内大街19号) (At NW corner of Dongzhimen N Alley intersection), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Offers 202 air-conditioned and well-decorated accommodations. Rates start at ¥454.
- 16 Dongjiao Minxiang Hotel (北京东郊民巷饭店), 23A Dongjiao Minxiang, 北京东城区东交民巷甲23号 (NE corner of Zhengyi Rd intersection, 1 block N of Qianmen E St.), ☎ . Offers rooms with private toilet and bath with tub, slippers, bathrobe, and hair dryer. Rates start at ¥458.
- 17 The Emperor Beijing Forbidden City Hotel (北京故宫皇家驿栈酒店, Beijing gùgōnghuángjiā yìzhàn jiǔdiàn), 33 Qihelou St. 东城区骑河楼大街33号 (At NE corner of N Chizi St intersection), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Boutique hotel in residential neighborhood near Forbidden City. Interestingly designed rooms are named after emperors rather than numbered. Free breakfast from rooftop restaurant with sweeping views over the Forbidden City. Long walk to subway stations. From ¥400.
- 18 Wancheng Hua Fu International Hotel (北京万程华府国际酒店), 53 Donganmen Street, 北京东城区东安门大街53号 (W end of Dinghuamen Night Market), ☎ . Rather basic rooms, but clean with nice bathroom and TV (Chinese channels). Some staff had trouble speaking English but all were friendly. Excellent location close to Wangfujing shopping area, 10 min walk to Forbidden City. ¥338 for a single room. Breakfast buffet avaible for ¥20.
- 19 Jingyuan Courtyard Hotel - Beijing (北京婧园雅筑宾馆), 35 Xitangzi Hutong, Wangfujing Street (Off Chenguang St 1 block S of Dong'anmen and Donghuamen Sts intersection), ☎ . Rooms are air-conditioned and fitted with a full bath, mini-bar, cable TV, and Internet access. Rates start at ¥619.
- 20 Red Wall Hotel (北京红墙饭店; Běijīnghóngqiángfàndiàn), 31 Shatan North Street (沙滩北街31号; Shātānběijiē) (Just east of Jingshan Park), ☎ , fax: . Rooms with free internet. Business center, gift shop and beauty salon available. Chinese and Wester restaurant as well as coffee shop. Listed rates for doubles from ¥1,281, discounted from ¥303; breakfast ¥41. Listed rates seem unrealistically high.
- 21 Shatan Hotel (北京沙滩宾馆; Běijīngshātānbīnguǎn), 28 Shatanhou Street (沙滩后街28号; Shātānhòujiē) (Just east of Jingshan Park, follow Shatan Back St to SE corner of first four-way intersection), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Rooms with free internet and aircon. Business center, ticket office, laundry service, hair dressing, bath center, billard and table tennis available. Chinese and Western restaurant and room service. Best rates on official website start at ¥408.
- 22 Tangyue Hotel (北京唐悦酒店; Běijīngtángyuèjiǔdiàn), 54 Donghuamen Road (东华门大街54号; Dōnghuàméndàjiē) (Just east of the Forbidden City, 800m north of Tian'anmen East Station (line 1)), ☎ , fax: . Spacious rooms with free internet, fridge, safe and coffee facilities. Specially designed hotel with business center, beauty salon, ticket office available. Coffee shop with first-class coffee, bar and tea house but no restaurant. Listed rates for doubles from ¥580, discounted from ¥207; western breakfast ¥25.
- 23 Ascott Raffles City Beijing (北京雅诗阁来福士中心服务公寓, Běijīng yǎshīgé lái fúshì zhōngxīn fúwù gōngyù), 1-2 Dongzhimen South Street; 东直门南大街1-2号) (SE Corner of Second Ring Road intersection), ☎ , toll-free: , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The residence in Dongzhimen offers apartments, ranging from one to three-bedrooms, with separate living and dining area, a kitchen, Bose DVD Home Entertainment System and Internet access. Daily rates start from ¥1288.
- 24 Beijing Hotel (北京饭店; Běijīng fàndiàn), 33 East Chang'an Ave. (东长安街33号, Dōngcháng'ānjiē (Two blocks E of Tiananmen Square), ☎ . State-owned (and thus presumably less expensive). Located near the Forbidden City, there is a spectacular view of Tiananmen Square from the hotel. From ¥950.
- 25 Grand Hotel Beijing (北京贵宾楼饭店; Běijīng Guìbīnlóu Fàndiàn), 35 East Chang'an Street (东长安街35号; Dōngchángānjiē) (Two blocks E of Tiananmen Square), ☎ , fax: . Five-star hotel located in a traditional building in a small street overlooking the Forbidden City. Rooms with free internet except for the cheapest ones. The rooms are 32-66m2 except for the very most expensive, which is more than 100sqm. Business center, gift shop, ticket office, fitness, pool and sauna available. Chinese and Western restaurants as well as coffee shop, bar and room service. Listed rates for doubles ¥3,450-14,950, discounted rates ¥765-10,500, breakfast ¥184.
- 26 Grand Hyatt Beijing (北京东方君悦大酒店; Běijīng dōngfāng jūnyuè dàiǔdiàn), 1 East Chang'an Avenue (东长安街1号, Dōngcháng'ānjiē (In the Malls at Oriental Plaza complex; see above), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Privately-owned, exquisite, and expensive five-star hotel. There is an enormous swimming pool in the basement that is decorated in very tropical manner, but the deepest part is only 1.5m (5ft). The jacuzzi and wet sauna are excellent. Great hotel and great location, if you can afford it. ¥1,200 / night and up.
- 27 Legendale Hotel Beijing (北京励骏酒店; Běijīng Lìjùn Jiǔdiàn), 90-92 Jinbao Street (金宝街90-92号; Jīnbǎojiē) (SE corner of Dongdan N St intersection; one block S of Dengshikou Subway station (line 5)), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Five-star hotel located close to Wangfujing. Rooms of 38-71sqm with free Internet. Business center, beauty salon, karaoke, fitness, swimming pool, massage and sauna available. Chinese and Western restaurants as well as coffee shop and bar. Listed rates for doubles ¥4,140-7,820, discounted rates ¥1,478-5,797.
- 28 The Peninsula Beijing (北京王府半岛酒店; Běijīng Wángfǔbàndǎo Jiǔdiàn), 8 Jinyu Hutong, Wangfujing (王府井金鱼胡同8号; Wángfǔjǐng Jīnyúhútòng) (Half a block W of Dongdan E St.), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Five star hotel with rooms with free internet. The smallest rooms are 31m2. Swimming pool, spa, massage and lots of shops available. Chinese and Western restaurants as well as a bar. Listed rates for doubles from ¥3,400, discounted from ¥1,500, breakfast ¥299.
- 29 [dead link]Xinhai Jin Jiang Hotel (鑫海锦江大酒店; Xīnhǎi jǐnjiāng dàjiǔdiàn), 61 Jinbao Street (金宝街61号, Jīnbǎojiē) (NE corner of Chaoyangmen S Alley intersection), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Conveniently located in the bustling commercial district of Wangfujing, this hotel has 231 elegantly furnished roomst. It has excellent business and leisure facilities which include the sprawling International Conference Center. ¥758 and up.
- 1 Internet Bar, 24 Meishuguan E St (SE corner of Cuifu Alley intersection, 100m N of Dongsi W St), ☎ .
- 2 Wangju Internet Bar, 449 Dongsi N St, (W side of street 200m N of Dongsi subway station Exit A).
It's quite likely that your travels into Dongcheng will take you into the neighboring Xicheng, or "west city", district. There you'll find amidst all the government buildings, ancient treasures like the very popular Beihai Park and modern delights like the egg-shaped National Performing Arts Center. Venturing further out into the city is likely to take you into the sprawling Chaoyang district to the north and east, a more modern home to many corporate headquarters, foreign embassies and the facilities used for the 2008 Summer Olympics, some of which have been successfully adapted for post-Games use (and others, not).
Two of Beijing's other World Heritage Sites, the Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven, are the major draws for the Haidian and Chongwen districts respectively, on the northwest and south. Southwest of Dongcheng is the last of the four central districts, Xuanwu, with temples, mosques and hutong that draw far less tourists than better-known counterparts elsewhere in the city but are equally rewarding. On the south outside the city center is Fengtai, home to both Beijing West Railway Station and the Marco Polo Bridge, where World War II, which the accompanying museum of the Sino-Japanese War can tell you about, really began.