A hutong is a narrow lane in Beijing between traditional folk houses, and in the past, the city was filled with hundreds of them. Unfortunately due to city construction, many have been replaced by today’s modern streets. Now, no more than 1,000 remain in the old town and have been transformed into commercialised tourist attractions filled with street food stalls, souvenir shops, bars and a few shops selling goods to the locals. Still, they are worth a visit. Two main areas are the Shichahai and Bell/drum Towers not far from The Forbidden City, and the Qianmen and Dashilar Area near Tiananmen Square. Take a stroll along the twisted lanes of these hutongs to explore the traditional homes for a feel of what it was like, or you can opt for the touristy thing to do which is to take a rickshaw to guide you for a special tour.
TIP: Want a different hutong tour? Rent a bike and peddle your way through the lanes.