Nanluoguxiang, Beijing

Beijing has many amazing attractions. The Great Wall is a short ride away, the Forbidden City is at the epicenter, the entire city is flush with history and culture. One of the things that Beijing has that many other cities are lacking in China is a survival of the traditional hutong homes. The web of hutong homes are a maze of homes that take up square miles and weave around in all directions. Some of the alleyways serving the hutong homes are delightful cultural must-see locations. The main arteries contain shops to serve the hutong, public bathrooms and small restaurants. In fancier hutong communities, these alleys evolved into pleasant streets with spas, cafes and bars, and small boutique shops. Our favorite hutong community is served by Nanluoguxiang, or South Luogu Alley.

Nanluoguxiang is a beautiful street. There are dozens of great little bars and restaurants along the north-south road that attract tourists, locals and resident expats including ourselves. The Pass-by Bar and Cafe is one such place– it is a traditional hutong establishment with a courtyard that is windowed in and heated. The favorite– 15rmb french toast! Bingo!

Another adorable place we enjoy is Ned’s, referring to New Kelly. As you could guess the bar is owned by an Australian. Its a double-decker hutong that is famous for serving a giant mug of rum and coke for 50rmb. The company is great and the atmosphere low-key and fun.

You’ll also find photo galleries, full-out restaurants and cafes, and little shops. At night, the street lamps illuminate a classic hutong view that no trip to Beijing is complete without witnessing. Hou Hai Lake is nearby, and Jingshan Park, north of the Forbidden City, is within walking distance, as is Bei Hai Park. In short, located centrally in Beijing, it is a great little hutong to explore, photograph and enjoy.

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