Beijing is an immense city, geographically, historically and culturally. It is difficult to see everything in one day. So if you want to dig out the city’s cultural scene, you may want to skip some of the boring historical sites and visit and dine at the places below. I believe each part of the city deserves a closer and deep look, so make sure you don’t glance over things hurriedly.
Hidden in a hutong at Shichahai, this restaurant is one of the best places to get a taste of real local food. Featuring traditional Beijing snacks, this restaurant offers you nearly a hundred of choices of eating through more than ten vendors that are set in a courtyard.
Recommended are douzhi (the most favourite drink of old Beijingers), rice cakes and almond soup. But be aware that you may not handle the taste of them as they are usually very unique, especially douzhi!
Jiumen Xiaochi, 1 Xiaoyou Hutong, shichahai Houhai, Xicheng District, Beijing, China
It would be a lovely experience just idling inside the long and puzzling hutongs and observing the life of the local Beijingers. There are plenty of hutongs to take a stroll in around Gulou, a famous drum tower of the city that was used to report the time.
You will be amazed at the earthy life of the “old Beijing”, which is totally another world compared to the modern scenes at the city’s clamorous areas. Don’t worry about getting lost in the hutongs, dead-ends can also be fun.
Address: Gulou: Di’anmen Outer Street, Xicheng District, Beijing, China
Jiangbianchengwai Wushan Roast Fish
Beijing is the best place to try all kinds of from other provinces. If you have a strong favor for Chongqing food, especially the increasingly popular Grilled Fish, this restaurant is the best in town.
The fish will be grilled and immersed in different flavors as you like. It offers 10-something flavors including black bean sauce, spicy, sweet and sour. Be careful, it is easy to get addicted to the taste.
Address: 15 Dongzhimen Inner Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China
798 Art District
Converted from a decommissioned German military factory, the district has become world renowned community for artists and art lovers with a thriving and vibrant atmosphere.
Featuring a great number of galleries and art studios, the district is one of the most important cultural landmark of the city and a must-see place.
It is very easy for one to be taken in the wonderful atmosphere of the art world when visiting 798, so be sure to reserve at least two hours for the district and even more if you are an art passionate. There are also plenty of souvenir shops and well-adorned cafes.
Address: Dashanzi Art District, No.4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing China
If you want to experience the modern like of the historical city, Sanlitun Village is a good choice. Innovatively built, the village is a big open-air shopping complex where you can find plenty of world famous fashion brands, go to movies or have a cup of coffee at one of the exquisite cafes along the streets.
Though it is not a good place for shopping as the prices are often too high, it is where you can feel the most modern and lively beats of the city. Numerous bars and restaurants will dazzle you, especially during the night when all the neon is on.
Address: Courtyard 19, Sanlitun Road, Beijing, China
Located in a quiet neighborhood near the hustling Sanlitun Village, this restaurant is a haven to take a rest and get delicious Italian food at really fair prices. Chinese cooks who have been well trained in Italy will bring you qualified and family made Italian cuisine. The atmosphere is cozy and makes you feel at home. Spicy Chicken Pizza and Tiramisu are highly recommended.
Address: 41 Xingfucun road, Beijing, China
Sanlitun Bar Street
Next to the Sanlitun Village lies the famous and popular “Sanlitun Bar Street”, one of the hottest spots for the city’s nightlife. Most bars feature singers, who will usually start performing at 9 pm. You may want to take a walk along the street before deciding which bar to go. The prices are generally the same.
*All images credited to Peyton Guan*