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Beijing Hutong


A Hutong is a typical traditional street unique to Beijing. Hutong means a lane or alley,  formed by lines of Siheyuan (a compound with houses around a courtyard) where old Beijing residents live. The name of a Hutong implies  its origin, location or history. It is in the gray-tiled deep lanes that families live, travel, buy goods, gossip and connect. For Beijing locals, Hutong represents a period of history, a cordial lifestyle and even an “encyclopedia of Beijing".

Beijing's Hutongs differ in width ranging from 40 centimeters to 10 meters. The longest has more than 20 turns. Stretching in different directions, Hutongs can be varied and described as slant, half or “blind hutongs" (cul-de-sacs). The gray-tiled houses and deep alleys criss-cross with each other in identical appearance like a maze and you will find it great fun to walk through without getting lost.

We recommend a Hutong tour with a rickshaw, which will give you a fabulous and unique feeling of Beijing traditional life!

The residences of famous people are scattered through many Hutongs. Many famous operas and dramas are based on the themes of  "Hutong life". A visit to a Hutong while watching a drama by the Beijing People's Art Theatre, such as “Teahouse" or "Small Hutong" in the evening, will help you understand the real local Beijing life.