Xuanwu (宣武区 Xuānwǔ Qū) is in Beijing covering the south western part of the central city area until just beyond ring two to the west and until ring two to the south. The district is 16.5 km² and home to above half a million people. The district is located outside the Imperial Inner City and was predominantly reserved for the lower class. The District has been undergoing rapid changes with many ancient Hutong being wiped away.
The south western part of metro line 2 borders the district to the north and the new metro line 4 under construction will run through. From the central station the District is reached by taking metro line 2 clockwise. From the Forbidden City or Tiananmen Square it is just a short walk to south west.
Despite the long history of the district, it is not home to any of the most important sights in Beijing. However, the district does have som interesting parks and temples, especially the Grand View Garden and the Niu Street Mosque, which are worth a visit if you have more time in Beijing after seeing the top sights of the city.
- Taoranting Park (陶然亭公园 Táorántíng Gōngyuán), 19 Taiping Jie (太平街19号; Tàipíngjiē) (North of the Beijing Southern Railway Station, bus routes: 40, 59, 819, 102, 122, 106, 20), ☎ +86 10 6353 2385. 6 AM - 9:30 PM. A former hangout for literati, while most other Beijing parks were for imperial families only. The park has a total area of 240,000 m2 with water area accounting for 69,000 m2. The park is a mixture of ancient construction styles and modern park design. It was built in 1952. Taoran Pavilion (one of the four most important in Beijing) build in 1695 and some tombs are located in the park. The park has a lake with pavilions on the bank. The park also has a Mini Golf Center, a Water Wonder Land as well as Peacock, China Rose, and Deer Gardens. ¥2.
- Grand View Garden (大观园; Dàguānyuán), South Caiyuan Street (南菜园街12号; Náncàiyuánjiē) (In the south west corner of Xuanwu District), ☎ +86 10 6354 4994, . 7:30 AM - 5 PM. Garden established in the 1980s based on the novel 'The Dream of the Red Mansions'. 125,000 m2 with temples, pavilions and other buildings as well as miniature gardens. Traditional ceremonies performed now and then. The park also has a restaurant. ¥40.
- Niu Street Mosque (牛街礼拜寺; Niújiēlǐbàisì), 88 Niu Street (牛街88号; Niújiē), ☎ +86 10 6353 2564. Famous Mosque build in 996 and the oldest and largest of the mosques in Beijing. Structured as a traditional Chinese palace, but also uses typical Arabic decoration with a lot of red colour. A must see if staying for more than a few days. The Muslim presence in the area is obvious with many Muslim shops and Arabic signs around. ¥10.
- Fayuan Temple (法源寺; Fǎyuánsì), Fayuansihou Street (法源寺后街; Fǎyuánsìhòujiē) (Metro line 2, Changchunjie Station, south along Changchun Street and Niu Jie, just west of Niu Jie), ☎ +86 10 6353 3966. 8AM-4PM. This Buddhist temple was built in 645 and rebuilt in 1436-1449, which makes it the oldest existing in Beijing. Now, it is the site of the Chinese Buddhist Academy and the exhibition center for Buddhist cultural relics, and is also an important institution training young monks and Buddhism research. The temple covers 6,700 square meters. The main buildings are Gate of Temple, Heavenly King Hall, Main Hall, Hall of Great Compassion, Sutra Hall, and Bell and Drum Towers. ¥5.
- Baoguo Temple (报国寺; Bàoguósì), Baoguosi Qianjie, Guang'anmennei Dajie (广安门内大街报国寺前街; Guǎngānménnèidàjiēbàoguósìqiánjiē), ☎ +86 10 6317 3169. 7AM-4:30PM. Founded in 1103, various uses during the next centuries, almost forgotten after 1949, but now renovated and open to public. There is also an antique market specialised in picture books and calligraphies, including writing tools and paper. Free.
- Song Tang Zhai Museum of Traditional Chinese Folk Carving (松堂斋民间雕刻博物馆; Sōngtángzhāimínjiāndiāokèbówùguǎn), 14 Liulichang East Street (琉离厂东街14号; Liúlíchǎngdōngjiē) (In the eastern end of the Liulichang Shopping Street), ☎ +86 10 8316 4662. 9 AM - 6 PM. This is a small privately owned museum showing carvings in doors, furniture, other wood and stone. Free.
- Museum of Ancient Architecture (古代建筑博物馆; Gǔdàijiànzhùbówùguǎn), 21 Dongjing Road (东经路21号; Dōngjīnglù), ☎ +86 10 6301 7620, . 9 AM - 4 PM. Museum with a model of Beijing ancient city as well as exhibits of Beijing's ancient architecture. ¥15.
- Museum of Ancient Pottery Civilization (古陶文明博物馆; Gǔtáowénmíngbówùguǎn), 12 South Caiyuan West Street (南菜园西街12号; Náncàiyuánxījiē), ☎ +86 10 6353 8884. Tu-Su 10 AM - 5 PM. Shows the Chinese history of pottery from Neolithic Age to now. ¥20.
Xuanwu District is home to some of the best Beijing Opera theaters, especially the first three mentioned below.
- Huguang Huiguan Theatre (湖广会馆; Húguǎnghuìguǎn), 3 Hufang Street (虎坊路3号; Hǔfānglù) (Metro station Heping Men exit D1, ten minutes walk south; or take bus 102 or 105), ☎ +86 10 6351 8284, . Daily 7:30-8:40 PM; museum 9 AM - 7:30 PM. Theatre primarily performing excerpts of traditional Chinese opera. The theatre has been working since the 1830s. The theatre building from 1830 is the oldest and best preserved indoor theatre in Beijing. It is located in area with other traditional buildings. Next to the theatre is an opera museum. ¥150-580; museum ¥10.
- Lao She Teahouse. See listing in Drink Section.
- Li Yuan Theatre (梨园剧场; Líyuánjùchǎng), 175 Yong'anlu (永安路175号; Yǒng'ānlù), ☎ +86 10 5166 4621, . 7:30 - 8:45 PM. Plays from the Beijing Opera repertoire. Also exhibitions of opera costumes and other. Tea and snacks available. ¥280-580.
- Tianqiao Acrobatic Theater (天桥杂技剧场; Tiānqiáozájìjùchǎng), 95 Tianqiao Market Street, east end of Beiwei Road (北纬路东口天桥市场街95号; Běiwěilùdōngkǒutiānqiáoshìchǎngjiē), ☎ +86 10 6303 7449, . 5:30-6:30 PM and 7:15-8:40 PM. ¥180-380.
- Tianqiao Theatre (天桥剧场; Tiānqiáojùchǎng), Beiwei Road (北纬路30号; Běiwěilù), ☎ +86 10 8315 6300; +86 10 5166 1145. From 7:30 PM. Theater with a seating capacity of 1,200 with performance of local folk music and dance, talk shows, and international ballet and musicals. ¥100-600.
- Tsinghua Chi (清华池 Qīnghuá Chí), (Bus 23, 343, 14, 66, 70, 603, 7, 15, 102, 105 to Hu Fang Lu Zhan), ☎ +86 10 63546663/2, . A spa experience from the famous Qinghua Chi, established in 1905. Great service. Affordable TCM treatments. Try the Ba Guan (Cupping) or acupuncture or opt for simpler manicure and pedicure and Massage.
- Walk the hutongs of Xuanwu District.
The district has a number of interesting shopping areas, especially on and just west of Qianmen Dajie. If you are into historical shops and shopping areas it is worthwhile devoting half a day to shopping here.
- Qianmen Dajie Pedestrian Street (前门大街). Qianmen Dajie is one of Beijing's oldest commercial streets with a 500 year old history. Now, this street is under reconstruction to bring it back as it was in the 1920s. Furthermore, trolley cars will re-appear in the street, after being absent for 40 years. The status in March 2009 is that the street is open to the public, but only very few shops are established so far.
- Dashilan (大栅栏), (metro line 2, Qianmen Station, south along Qianmen Dajie, on your right). Dashilan (and surrounding streets) is a shopping area dating back to the Ming dynasty. The name means big fences, which in earlier times were in place in both ends of the street. Everything burned down during the boxer uprising in 1900, but the area has since been reestablished as a shopping area
- Daoxiangcun (稻香村; Dàoxiāngcūn), Zhubaoshi Street (珠宝市街; Zhūbǎoshìjiē) (South from Qianmen of Qianmen Dajie, turn right just after Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant of Dashilan, right of Zhubaoshi Street and it is on your left), ☎ Main office: +86 10 8404 3305, . Famous shop established in 1895. Best known for its wide selection of southern style cakes. More than 20 branches around the city. ¥16-36 for a kilo of cakes.
- Liubiju ((六必居; Liùbìjū)), Zhubaoshi Street (珠宝市街; Zhūbǎoshìjiē) (South from Qianmen of Qianmen Dajie, turn right just after Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant of Dashilan, left of Zhubaoshi Street and it is on your right), . Famous shop established in 1530. Sells pickled vegtables.
- Liulichang (琉璃厂; Liúlíchǎng; 'Colored Glaze Factory'). There is no production here any more, but rather antique stores, selling Chinese painting, handicrafts, and used books. The area was popular back to the Tang dynasty, but the small shops were amalgamated into state-operated units during the 1950s. It was redeveloped as a tourist area after 1979, but has failed to regain its former popularity. Nevertheless, it is picturesque and you can still find interesting things here. In the Chinese New Year, there's a 15-day folk fair here. Not far from the Hepingmen Subway Station.
- Beijing Qianxiangyi Silk Store (北京谦祥益丝绸商店; Běijīngqiānxiángyìsīchóushāngdiàn), 50 Dazhalan West Street (大栅栏西街50号; Dàzhàlánxījiē), ☎ +86 10 6301 6658, . 8:30 AM - 8:30 PM. Very large silk store established in 1840. Claims to be the biggest silk professional store in China.
- Tea Street (茶街; Chájiē), Maliandao Chayecheng (马连道茶叶城; Mǎliándàocháyèchéng). 8:30 AM - 6 PM. The street has 8 wholesale tea markets and more than 600 tea shops. Tea sets also for sale here.
- Sogo (崇光百货; Chóngguāngbǎihuò), 8 Xuanwumenwai Street (宣武门外大街8号; Xuānwǔménwàidàjiē), ☎ +86 10 6310 3388, . 9:30 AM - 10 PM. Shopping mall with Japanese and European shops.
- Carrefour (家乐福; Jiālèfú), 11 Malian Dao (马连道11号; Mǎliándào), ☎ +86 10 6332 2155. 8:30 AM - 10:30 PM. French supermarket.
In the area west of Qianmen Dajie are numerous budget and mid range restaurants. Many of these are primarily catering for tourist implying lower quality than elsewhere but also that many have English menus.
- Lanhuahua Restaurant (兰花花美食村（lán huā huā měi shí cūn), Tianqiao Hotel, No.11, Xijing Lu. Serves Shaanxi cuisine. Expect CNY25-50 each person.
- Little Sheep (小肥羊; Xiǎoféiyáng), 43 Guang'anmennei Dajie (光安门内大街43号; Guāng'ānménnèidàjiē) (Northwest corner of Caishikou (菜市口) intersection), ☎ +86 10 6316 6668, . 10 AM - 11 PM. Mongolian hot pot restaurant with branches nationwide and abroad. Richer soup and, therefore, no dipping sauce.
- Tan Yu Tou (谭鱼头; Tányútóu), 25 Zhushikou West Street (珠市口西大街临25号; Zhūshìkǒu Xīdàjiēlín), ☎ +86 10 6301 8885 (fax: +86 10 6484 8885). 10:30AM-10PM. Primarily serves spicy sichuan hotpot with fish or meat.
- Bhodi-Saki (菩提缘), 10-16 Heiyaochang Street ((North of Taoranting Park's North Gate)), ☎ 63542889; 63546155. Located just north of Taoranting Park in the south west corner of Beijing, this isolated vegetarian restaurant is situated inside a series of old courtyards that house the restaurant and a small temple.
- Jin Yang Restaurant, No.241, Zhushikou West Street, ☎ +86 10 63031669 63037636 (ext.100). Jin Yang Restaurant serves Shaanxi cuisine. Four Star Restaurant.
- Quanjude (全聚德 Quánjùdé), 32 Qianmen Dajie (前门大街32号) (Subway: Line 2 to Qianmen. Bus: 2, 120, 726, 826, 803 to Qianmen), ☎ +86 10 6510 9608, . Daily 11:30 AM-2:30 PM and 4:30-8 PM. The oldest and most venerable of the roast duck restaurants. Quanjude is slipping these days, but its fame still brings many customers, mostly tourists eager for the classic experience. Quality varies by location. The most reputable of Quanjude's 14 branches is the listed Qianmen location, which has been rebuilt as part of the changes taking place in Qianmen Dajie. Other branches are at Hepingmen (south of the subway stop), the east side of Tian'anmen Square, and Qinghua Science Park near Wudaokou. Ducks cost ¥199 each and ¥99 for half a duck.
Considering the fact that Xuanwu District is a centre for backpacker hostels, there are suprisingly few drinking places. This could be expected to change in the near future
Cafes and teahouses
- Lao She Teahouse (老舍茶馆; Lǎoshěcháguǎn), 3 Qianmen West Street (前门西大街3号; Qiánménxīdàjiē) (Metro stration Qianmen or buses #5, #10, #110; #120), ☎ +86 10 6303 6830, . 9 AM - 9 PM. Large tea house from 1988 named after the writer, Lao She. Serves tea and traditional snack. Live performance every night with acrobatics, opera and other traditional art.
Xuanwu District is home to quite a few backpacker hostels. And new ones are opening every month. But if you are looking for high end accomodation, you might have better luck elsewhere.
- 365 Inn (北京君怡酒店; Běijīngjūnyíjiǔdiàn), 55 Dazhalan West Street (大栅栏西街55号; Dàzhàlánxījiē (800m southwest of Qianmen Metro Station (line 2)), ☎ +86 10 6308 5956. Located in the middle of the tourist area west of Qianmen Pedestrian Street. Free internet available but not in the rooms. Dorm beds from ¥30, double rooms from ¥180.
- Changgong Hotel, ☎ +86 10 6301 5088, 6303 2665. One of the cheapest places in the Qianmen Hutong. It has traditional architecture and is just next door from Far East and Leo's. May be difficult to find on a map, and best located by asking. Dorm beds ¥35, a triple room is ¥210.
- Beijing Far East Youth Hostel (北京远东饭店; Běijīngyuǎndōngfàndiàn), 90 Tieshuxie Street (铁树斜街90号; Tiěshùxiéjiē) (about 10 minutes walk from Tiananmen Square), ☎ +86 10 5195 8811, . Hotel in a traditional Chinese courtyard. During summertime you should book one week in advance. Dorm beds from ¥35, listed rates for doubles from ¥220, discounted from ¥174.
- Shanglin Hostel (上林宾馆; Shànglínbīnguǎn), 22 Shanxixiang (陕西巷22号; Shǎnxīxiàng) (1km southwest of Qianmen Metro Station (line 2)), ☎ +86 10 6303 4609. Located just outside the tuoristy area west of Qianmen Pedestrian Street. Aircon, internet, laundry service and bike hire available. Restaurant and bar. Discounted rates for dorms from ¥35, doubles from ¥140, without breakfast.
- Leo's Hostel, ☎ +86 10 6303 1595, 6303 3318, . . A good alternative to the Far East and is just around the corner. It has a Playstation 2, an internet bar, free wi-fi in the lobby and bar,and more. It is well-known for its friendly English-speaking staff and lively bar atmosphere. One down side is the noise level of the bar late at night. Dorm beds ¥45-70, private rooms ¥160-200.
- Qian Men Hostel (前门客栈), 33 Meishi Street Qianmen (Located about 500 meters south of Qianmen Metro stop on Meishi Street), ☎ +86 10 6313 2370, . Qian Men Hostel is conveniently located within 5 minute walking distance of Tiananmen Square. It offers both private and dorm style rooms. It has a dvd room, a cafe, and bar. It also offers tours to numerous places around Beijing. Bikes can be rented for ¥20 a day. Dorm beds ¥60-70, private rooms ¥100-300.
- Jing Yi Shi Hotel, Located between Leo hostel and Far East Y/H, ☎ +86 10 6304 3822, . The hotel is in traditional courtyard. The staff do not speak much English but are very friendly. There are two PCs available. Twin room ¥150, ¥180, ¥220; internet access ¥10 per hour.
- Home Inn (Beiwei Road) (如家酒店 (北京北纬路店); Rújiājiǔdiàn (Běijīngběiwěilùdiàn)), 11 Xijing Road (西经路11号; Xījīnglù) (Bus 59 to Beiweilu Station (北纬路)), ☎ +86 10 8315 2266 (fax: +86 10 8316 2020), . Small rooms with free internet. Business center and ticket office. Chinese restaurant. Listed rates for doubles from ¥239, discounted from ¥214; breakfast ¥15.
- Feilongge Hotel (飞龙阁饭店; Fēilónggéfàndiàn), 10 Baizhifang West Street (白纸坊西街10号; Báizhǐfāngxījiē), ☎ +86 10 6351 7766. Rooms with aircon, coffee facilities and satellite TV. Meeting facilities, karaoke and beauty salon available. Restaurant with Sichuan and Lu cuisine. Discounted rates from ¥200.
- Rich Hotel, No. 1 A Nanxinhua Road, Xuanwu District, ☎ +86 10 63022277 ([email protected]), . 2 km from Tiananmen Square. Has 131 guestrooms, each with cable TV, bathroom amenities, and broadband Internet. Hotel amneties include a conference center, restaurant, bar, business center, concierge, and 24-hour front desk. ¥290.
- Guang'an Hotel (广安宾馆; Guǎng'ānbīnguǎn), (广安门内大街321号; Guǎngānménnèidàjiē), ☎ +86 10 8315 3388. Rooms with internet available against a surcharge. Bar, business center, gift shop, beauty salon, karaoke and chess/poker room available. Chinese restaurant. Listed rates for doubles from ¥880; discounted from ¥358, including breakfast.
- Golden Sun Commercial Hotel (金色夏日商务酒店; Jīnsèxiàrìshāngwùjiǔdiàn), 85 Xibianmennei Street (西便门内大街85号; Xībiànménnèidàjiē), ☎ +86 10 6301 2999. Four star hotel with rooms with free internet, aircon, mini bar, fridge, safety box and satellite TV. Conference room, billiards, table tennis, gym, night club, karaoke, chess and cards room and sauna available. Seafood restaurant. Listed rates for doubles from CNY888; discounted from CNY438, including breakfast.
- Shenzhen Hotel, 1 Guang An Men Wai Street, Xuanwu District, ([email protected]), . Enjoys a prime Xuanwu District location. Business and leisure facilities including banquet halls and function rooms.