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Best Hutong Tours & Walking Routes

Best Hutong Tours & Walking Routes

Written by LilyUpdated Aug. 24, 2023

In this article, we offer you insider information about popular hand-selected hutong tours and trendy hutong walking routes in 2019. Explore the amazing historical hutongs in greater depth.

Best Ways of Exploring Hutongs

You may already know that taking a rickshaw is the classic way of visiting hutongs in Beijing; but there are many other ways, which are equally if not more interesting to embrace.

The best ways of exploring hutongs today include hutong walking, hutong cycling, hutong culinary classes, hutong home-visiting (learning Mandarin or art), and the latest if not the trendiest, hutong night-snack-hunting.

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Best Hutong Tours of 2023

No.1 Rickshaw Hutong Tour-Classic Must-Do

Rickshaw Hutong TourRickshaw hutong tour

Time needed: 1-2 hours

Highlights: Weave your way around charming streets and ancient alleys (hutongs) on a 1-2 hour rickshaw hutong tour, passing the famous drum tower and bell tower. Hutong-family visiting can be included.

Why this: It is the classic way of visiting hutongs, while experiencing a rickshaw ride, designed for short-term visitors. Savor the classic hutongs and courtyards in a short time and an energy-wise way, before continuing your trip.

No. 2 Hutong Culinary Tour-Discerning Travelers' Favorite

Time needed: half a day

Highlights: Visit a local Beijinger's house or cooking-class workshop for a meal, and learn how to cook an authentic Chinese dish. Become familiar with Chinese spices, herbs and philosophy of health. Become a gourmet, able to distinguish an authentic Chinese dish from a Chinese takeaway somewhere overseas.

No. 3 Hutong Family-Visit Tour-Interact With Real Bejingers

Hutong Family Visiting TourHutong Family Visiting Tour

Time needed: 1.5-2 hours

Highlights: Visit a local family in Beijing whose ancestors have lived in the hutongs for generations. Gain insight into ancient Chinese customs and culture, and learn Beijing folk art (paper-cutting, painting the insides of snuff bottles, facial-mask-making for opera, and Chinese yoyos)

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Best Hutong Walking Tours-Most Popular Choice

There are at least 10 hip hutongs in Beijing and each attracts tourists for different reasons. Some have become famous for their traditional store-fronts, while others are luring tourists for their mouth-watering snacks or classic Chinese foot massages.

Below are the 6 best hutong walking tours for savoring hutongs' various flavors via different itineraries.

1. Off-the-Beaten-Track Hutong Walking Tour, Beijing-Life Discovery Walk (half a day)

Highlights: Tianning Temple – old residential community – Xuanwu Park – authentic hutongs

Why this: This is the least-touristy route and does more to unveil the authentic Beijing. You can have a great chance to see the untouristy side of Beijing.

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2. The Old Beijing of a Foodie Tour (Night-Snack Discovery)

Hutong night walking food hunting tourNight-Snack Discovery Hutong Walking Tour

Highlights: traditional Beijing beef pie – Mr Shi's dumpling (a "celebrity food" among Beijing expats) – Beijing roast duck (in a boutique restaurant frequented by Beijing celebrities).

Why this: This hutong night-food-hunting tour might be the trendiest hutong experience of 2019.

3. Traditional Beijing Store-Front Walking Tour (1.5 hour)

Highlights: Liulichang Street – Dashilar-Street – Qianmen

Why this: covering a handful of time-honored traditional Beijing store-fronts that have prospered for centuries since the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Some stores have been serving members of the royal families or high-ranked officials for a very long time.

4. Famous Classic Hutong Walking Tour (half a day)

Highlights: Nanluoguxiang – Ke Garden – Drum TowerYandaixiejie – The Silver Ingot Bridge – Qianhai Lake – Lotus Market

Why this: It covers two famous hutongs in Beijing, and includes a walk round a breezy lake.

5. Famous Beijing Temple and Hutong Tour (one day)

Highlights: Yonghe TempleGuozijian (the Imperial Academy)– the Temple of Confucius – Nanluoguxiang Hutong – Yandaixiejie Hutong – Silver Ingot Bridge – Prince Gong's Mansion

Why this: This route covers famous Beijing temples and hip hutongs all in one go, and suits hiking enthusiasts the best. Learn more about this tour.

6. Hutong Cycling Tour-Most Popular Among Active Travelers

Getting on a bicycle is another popular way of exploring the hutong areas. All you need is a good guide or map, and to be careful about where exactly to ride. Some hutong lanes are very narrow and inconvenient for riding during holidays, when most famous lanes are jammed with tourists.

A route passing through Beihai Park, Shichahai and Nanluoguxiang, or one through the Confucius Temple, Yonghe Lama Temple and the Temple of Earth, are the best recommendations for hutong cycling tours. Check our Best Beijing Cycle Routes for more detailed guidance.

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Explore Hutongs with an Insider

Visiting the Hutongs by bike

The hutong residents' area is a place full of history. It is worth going there with a resourceful and knowledgeable insider-guide, who can tell you all the interesting stories behind the walls and beneath the surface.

Contact us to book any of the popular hutong tours mentioned above, or to create a unique hutong tour to your own taste, and discover hutongs in more depth.

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