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11 Recommended Courtyards in Beijing — Top Siheyuans

Four joined courtyard in BeijingA four-sided courtyard in Beijing

A standard siheyuan residence has house units on all four sides. The main house (also called the north house) is always at the north end facing south. The one facing north is called the opposite house or south house. The houses on the sides are called side houses.

  • Chinese: 四合院 sìhéyuàn /suh-her-ywen/ 'four joined courtyard'

These residences are a very important part of Chinese culture. In adherence to traditional concepts of Five Elements Theory and the eight diagrams of fengshui divination, the gate was to be located at the southeastern corner. A screen is put at the gate to prevent outsiders from seeing the inside and to protect the courtyard from interference by evil spirits.

1. The Former Residence of Soong Chingling

The Former Residence of Song ChinglingThe Former Residence of Song Chingling

Surrounded by a lake, it comprises of a grand entrance, two wing rooms, side hall, a back house and the main building. The beautiful and quiet courtyard area covers over 7722 square yards. It is also a former residence of Prince Chun who lived there during the Qing Dynasty era.

Over 400 historical pictures and over 300 cultural relics are exhibited at the grand entrance and back house. Read more on this residence.

  • Location: near the north bank of Youhai Lake
  • Bus 5 to Guozishi
  • Open: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM November to March; 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM April to October

2. Former Residence of Guo Moruo

Former Residence of Guo MoruoThe Former Residence of Guo Moruo

Dense with gingkoes and peonies, this residence boasts relics of Guo Moruo — a writer, scholar, and historian of 20th century China — a bronze statue, manuscripts and books, as well as an earthen mound dotted with trees inside the main entrance.

It consists of, among other things, two-courtyard complexes, east and west wing rooms, and two rows of main houses. The Hanging Flower Gate divides the outer court from the inner court. The residence has been open to the public since 1988.

  • Location: Qianhai Xijie (前海西街)
  • Bus 107, 111, 612, or 701 to Beihai Beimen (北海北门).
  • Subway Line 4 to Ping'anli Station: Exit C for Di'anmen Xi Dajie, then walk for about 20 minutes to Qianhai Xijie.
  • Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

3. The Former Residence of Mei Lanfang

The Former Residence of Mei LanfangThe Former Residence of Mei Lanfang

This siheyuan courtyard residence is famous among fans of Beijing Opera. It covers an area of 274 square meters and comprises a big drawing room in the front, a small living room, bedroom, and drawing room.

  • Location: Huguo Temple Street (Huguosi Dajie 护国寺大街) at the Lanfang Memorial Park.
  • Bus 3, 107, 111, 13, or 701 to Changqiao Lukou Dong (厂桥路口东), then walk northwards. Turn left onto Huguosi Dajie.
  • Subway Line 4 to Ping'anli Station (Exit B), then turn right onto Huguosi Dajie. The residence is about 10 minutes walk away at a small crossroads.
  • Open: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Tuesday to Sunday

4. Beijing Courtyard Hotel Sihe (another former home of Mei Lanfang)

This traditional courtyard hotel is the only hotel built in Beijing during the beginning of the Qing Dynasty era. It is another former home of the famous Chinese opera artist Mr. Mei Lanfang. The guest rooms share a beautiful inner patio with each other, with the doors and windows facing the courtyard so there is enough lighting.

The courtyard is spacious and you can have your choice of flowers planted there, and you can see choice fish and birds bred there. The courtyard is only 10 minutes walk from Wangfujing shopping street and Tian'anmen Square.

  • Location: 5 Dengcao Dongsi South Street, Dongcheng District
  • Getting there: Dongsi Metro Station is only five minutes from the hotel courtyard, while Beijing Railway Station is 2 kilometers south.

5. Former Residence of Mao Zedong

This famous siheyuan courtyard residence hosts a number of Chairman Mao pictures and newspaper clippings, and a very beautiful stone-gate house. You need a passport or other ID to enter.

  • Location: 8 Left Lane off Ji'an Suo Street, east of Jingshan street
  • Open: 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM

6. Former Residence of Li Dazhao

It has been renovated to become an exhibition hall and all things are now restored as they were originally. Li Dazhao was a founder of the Chinese Communist Party.

  • Location: 24 Shifuma Street, Xicheng District
  • Bus 10, 25, 38, or 61
  • Open: 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, Tuesday to Sunday

7. Former Residence of Cheng Yanqiu

The residence covers an area of 151 square meters and comprises two south-facing courtyards. Cheng Yanqiu was a famous Beijing Opera actor.

  • Location: 39 Xisi Beisantiao, Xicheng District.
  • Bus 7 to Baozi Hutong

8. Former Residence of Qi Baisha

The siheyuan courtyard residence covers an area of 79 square meters. It hosts informative and attractive displays (in English) about the artist Qi Baisha, a famous master of traditional Chinese painting.

  • Location: 13 Kuache Hutong, Xicheng District
  • Bus 13 to Luoguxiang
  • Open: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

9. Imperial Courtyard Hotel

Temple of Earth ParkTemple of Earth Park

This is a renovated 18th century courtyard located in the busy commercial downtown. It is near major attractions such as the Bell Tower and Temple of Earth Park, and offers a variety of rooms... You can have a rooftop view of Beijing, or choose to hang out on the second floor where the entire railing doubles as benches. The courtyard is heated during winter.

  • Location:16 Huayuandongxiang, Andingmen, Dongcheng District
  • Bus 9 (from Beijing West) or Airport bus 2 (from Beijing Capital Airport) to Chongwenmen, then...
  • Subway Line 2 to Andingmen

10. The Orchid (Hotel)

A good number of travelers are now aware of this down-to-earth courtyard that simply spells out the words that not all courtyard residences are mired in the Qing Dynasty. The ten simple but cosy rooms are comfortable in winter, as they come with underground heating. The environment is characterized by a garden and terrace, among other features.

You can have a good view of the Drum and Bell Towers and enjoy dumpling-making lessons every Thursday evening. The Lama Temple is a 7-minutes drive away.

  • Location: in the historic hutong area, 5 minutes walk from the Drum Tower and Bell Tower (only 384m away)
  • Subway Line 2 to Guloudajie, and walk for 10 minutes

11. Templeside Deluxe Hutong House

This courtyard house has a stunning design and lovely decor. It is a recommended budget-friendly option (rooms go from 250 yuan) for those who want to have a full-on hutong courtyard experience. There is a free walking tour around the hutong every Thursday. You can also enjoy dumpling-making classes and ping-pong tournaments that are organized by owners from time to time.

  • Location: 2 Baitaxiang (inside Anping Xiang), Zhaodengyu Road, Xicheng District
  • Bus 623 (from Beijing West Railway Station) to Baitasi (白塔寺). Head west on the Fuchengmennei Dajie, turn right onto Zhaodengyu Road, and walk 3 minutes to Anping Xiang. The hotel is just behind Baita Temple, a Beijing landmark.

Visiting Beijing Courtyards with China Highlights

China Highlights' driverChina Highlights offers the best private transport service during your trip.

A half-day Hutong walking tour is the best way to explore the hutong environment, and is customizable for visiting courtyard residences or hotels of your choice.

    A full-day Hutong walking tour will take you to Yonghe Temple, Guozijian (the Imperial Academy), the Temple of Confucius,Nanluoguxiang Hutong, Yandaixiejie Hutong, Silver Ingot Bridge, and Prince Gong's Mansion. It can be customized to include a visit to one or more of the courtyards above.

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