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.
Walk Duration: About two to three hours
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.