Just a hundred meters south of Beijing's Drum Tower, one of the capital's oldest hutongs (traditional alleyways) is easy to overlook. A narrow alley off a busy road, it's rather innocuous when there are no crowds of people clamoring at its entrance. Yandai Xiejie hutong's name translates to "smoking pipe" street, a remnant of the Qing dynasty days when the street was filled with stores selling tobacco and pipes.
Today Yandai Xiejie is as appropriate a metaphor as any for Beijing today. Redeveloped just prior to the Olympics, the hutong was redeveloped for tourism, but not without an eye on history. The subsequent renovations recovered some historical features while simultaneously opening the doors for retailers to get a leg up.
Yandai Xiejie, one of Beijing's oldest hutongs, is located next to the Houhai Lake. The street is a chance to experience Chinese hutongs as well as a shopping street, and while you are there you should take the opportunity to visit the Houhai Lake.
Yandai (smoking pipe) Xiejie (byway) is one of the oldest hutongs in Beijing. Yandai is the name of a Chinese pipe that was traditionally sold on this street.
Located in Xicheng district, it is close to the Shichahai and Houhai, both are famous attractions in Beijing. Yandai Xiejie is 232 meters long with its east end on the Di'anmen Street and the west to the Yinding Bridge.
A typical representative of the old Beijing, Yandaixiejie is home to various specialty bars and curio shops for souvenirs, antiques, paintings, etc. There are more than 20 cafés and bars with different styles on the street. One can have a cup of coffee when feel tired and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Houhai Lake.
Besides, there are also many restaurants on the street. Here you can go to traditional Chinese restaurants--roasted lamb of Master Ji, stewed pork liver (a traditional Beijing snack) of Master Yao, the Meiyuan Dairy, baked wheaten cake with donkey meat of Mr. Wang and wonton of Master Hou.
Tasting the delicacies of traditional Beijing style, shopping in the widely varying stores, one would experience the uniqueness of Beijing in Yedaixiejie.
Address:No.50, Di'anmenwai Street, Xicheng District, Beijing 北京市西城区地安门外大街50号
Buses lines: Bus 5, 60 , 82 , 90, 107 , 124 , 204, 210, 635 get off at Gulou stop
Subway lines : Metro Line 2 Drum Tower Street