Schedule: Half a Day
The route will greet you with fashion and traditional cultural characteristics; you will visit Beijing's hutong (lanes and alleys) and siheyuan (courtyard homes). The first stop is Nanluoguxiang, where there are many small boutiques nestled among small cosy bars and restaurants. Foreign businesspeople operate some of the boutiques. At Nanluoguxiang, you can drop in on the Ju'er Hutong, where there are many historic siheyuan.
Walk along the Ju'er Hutong to the west and you will come to the Drum and Bell towers, which stand at the north end of Beijing's ancient Central Axis. The sound of the drum and bell that once regulated life in old Beijing can be heard, sometimes, above the modern din. Heading to the south of the Drum and Bell towers and strolling along the stylish Yandai Xijie, you will find specialty shops line the small street.
If you get too exhausted to walk, mount a tourist tricycle (pedicab) and relax while cruising the hutong and get a better sense of local residents' lives.
After your tour, stop at Prince Gong's Mansion and get a sense of how senior officials lived in their grand garden-like homes and buildings in feudal times. For dinner, consider trying the Kaorouji or Jiumen restaurants on Houhai Bar Street.