Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in Beijing's Historic Hutongs
One of Beijing’s most distinctive urban features, the hutongs have long been at the heart of the capital’s distinctive local culture. This walk explores the past, present, and future of the hutongs, Beijing’s network of historic alleyways. Our exploration takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng District, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. We will discuss the history of the hutongs, who lived there and why.
But this walk is more than just history. The hutongs are the living breathing fabric of Beijing. They represent Beijing’s future, as old spaces are repurposed into new commercial and residential developments. The past year has seen sweeping changes to Beijing's urban landscape. The government boarded up small shops and forced some residents out of the city center. What does this mean for the preservation of these historic neighborhoods and the people who live there? How have the pressures of urban development affected the communities who live in Beijing's historic center?
While we wander the hutongs, we'll also check in on local markets, taste some of the snacks on offer from local sellers, and immerse ourselves in the culture of Old Beijing.
Our walk begins at Beixinqiao in the heart of historic Beijing and will end near the Drum Tower and Houhai/Shichahai Lakes District in a location with several convenient dining, refreshment, and transportation options.
Duration: About two to three hours
Upcoming Public Walking Tours in Beijing's Historic Hutongs
260 RMB per person (220 RMB for members of The Hutong)
Price includes all guide fees and tickets
Consider a Private Tour!
Looking for a walk that fits your schedule? Interested in a personal experience for you or your group?
Private walks around Beijing's hutongs and historic neighborhoods are available for individuals, families, school and company groups.
Private walks are 1400 RMB for up to five people and 100 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.
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Your Walk Leader
Jeremiah Jenne is a writer and historian based in Beijing since 2002. He has taught Late Imperial and Modern Chinese History at the IES Abroad Program for over 10 years and has written extensively on China for a number of publications including The Economist, The Atlantic Monthly, Journal of Asian Studies, Asia Society/China File, Los Angeles Review of Books, Radii China, The Beijinger, and the World of Chinese. His work can be found in the anthologies China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance, The Insider’s Guide to Beijing, and the 2015 collection While We’re Here: China Stories from a Writer’s Colony. He is frequently asked to speak or lead workshops on Chinese history, culture, and cultural adaptation to schools, organizations, and company groups from around the world and is the proprietor of Beijing by Foot, which organizes educational programs and historic walking tours of Beijing’s most famous sites and hidden by-ways. You can follow him on Twitter @jeremiahjenne or online at jeremiahjenne.com.