Take a day or even several days, and open your eyes! There is so much to see. The heritage was built up over several thousand years of history. Here, ancient and traditional inns catch your eye with a mysterious, fascinating atmosphere.
If you want to lose yourself in the hutongs for a few hours, follow me! Start the day in the north-east corner of Di'anmen Gate, at the "Heaven and Earth Snack Shop." Enjoy soya milk, fried dough rings or delicious sesame cakes. I also recommend the corn cakes that are on offer - they are tender and really tasty.
Then, take it easy and head north. You are heading for Houmen Bridge to discover the Yuan Dynasty. The bridge was once linked to the Grand Canal and the Jishuitan transportation hub. Today, it remains an attractive architectural remnant of the period, and is worthy of a visit.
You will also notice several parks, including Beihai Park and Jingshan Park. Take the time to enjoy a walk around them. Admire the trees for a real lesson in botany. Take a walk and come across a girl cycling with her hair in the wind, and brave the maze of alleyways that are flanked by houses built in quadrangles, known as Siheyuan. These iconic dwellings are icons of Beijing as it once was, and must be seen no matter what!
After you pass the Houmen Bridge, you will arrive at Di'anmen Waidajie, a really traditional place that hosts the famous Nanluoguxiang Hutong. I invite you to explore its cafés, walkways, and stores selling original items.
Take a walk around the heart of Nan Luo Gou Xiang, and you'll be in the heart of old Beijing. Take advantage of your location to buy a little incense as a souvenir. It's an opportunity to appreciate the charm of this city that is in a constant state of flux, where the ancient and the modern come together to create an appealing combination. It's so peaceful to be able to walk slowly in the narrow, car-free streets. What a pleasure it is to penetrate among the grey walls of the city, the courtyards and inns all around, and to learn about their history.
Imagine how the inhabitants lived back in the day. Visit these streets: Chaodou Hutong, Benchang Hutong, Dongmianhua Hutong and Mao'er Hutong As you walk, you should take a contemplative approach and use your imagination to the full.