The red mansion in Great View Garden
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 Tian'anmen 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 some 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.
- Grand View Garden (大观园; Dàguānyuán), S Caiyuan St (南菜园街12号; Náncàiyuán Jiē) (SWw corner of the district), ☎ +86 10 6354-4994, . 07:30-17:00. 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.
- Taoranting Park (陶然亭公园 Táorántíng Gōngyuán), 19 Taiping Jie (太平街19号; Tàipíng Jiē) (N of the Beijing Southern Railway Stn (Line 2), bus routes: 40, 59, 819, 102, 122, 106, 20), ☎ +86 10 6353-2385. 06:00-21:30. 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.
- Niu Street Mosque (牛街礼拜寺; Niújiēlǐbàisì), 88 Niu St (牛街88号; Niú Jiē), ☎ +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 St (法源寺后街; Fǎyuánsìhòujiē) (Changchunjie St (Line 2), S along Changchun and Niu Sts, just W of Niu St), ☎ +86 10 6353-3966. 08:00-16:00. 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. 07:00-16:30. 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.
- Museum of Ancient Architecture (古代建筑博物馆; Gǔdàijiànzhùbówùguǎn), 21 Dongjing Rd (东经路21号; Dōngjīng Lù), ☎ +86 10 6301-7620, . 09:00-16:00. Museum with a model of Beijing ancient city as well as exhibits of Beijing's ancient architecture. ¥15.
- 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; Liúlíchǎng Dōng Jiē) (In the eastern end of the Liulichang Shopping Street), ☎ +86 10 8316 4662. 09:00-18:006. This is a small privately owned museum showing carvings in doors, furniture, other wood and stone. Free.
- Museum of Ancient Pottery Civilization (古陶文明博物馆; Gǔtáowénmíngbówùguǎn), 12 S Caiyuan W St (南菜园西街12号; Náncàiyuánxījiē), ☎ +86 10 6353-8884. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. 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 St (虎坊路3号; Hǔfāng Lù) (Hepingmen Stn exit D1, 10-min walk S, or take bus 102 or 105), ☎ +86 10 6351-8284, . Daily 07:30-20:40, museum 09:00-19:30. 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 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'an Rd (永安路175号; Yǒng'ān Lù), ☎ +86 10 5166-4621(Chinese); +86 13718808515 (English), . 19:30-20:45. 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 S, E end of Beiwei Rd (北纬路东口天桥市场街95号; Běiwěilùdōngkǒutiānqiáoshìchǎng Jiē), ☎ +86 10 6303-7449, . 17:30-18:30 and 19:15-20:40. ¥180-380.
- Tianqiao Theatre (天桥剧场; Tiānqiáojùchǎng), Beiwei Rd (北纬路30号; Běiwěi Lù), ☎ +86 10 8315-6300 (). From 19:30. 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 Hufang Rd Stn), ☎ +86 10 6354-6663/2, . 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), (Qianmen Stn (line 2), S along Qianmen Dajie, on the R). 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) (S from Qianmen of Qianmen Dajie, turn R just after Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant of Dashilan, R of Zhubaoshi St and it is on your L), ☎ +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; Zhūbǎoshì Jiē) (S from Qianmen of Qianmen Dajie, turn R just after Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant of Dashilan, left of Zhubaoshi St and it is on your R), . Famous shop established in 1530. Sells pickled vegetables.
- 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 W St (大栅栏西街50号; Dàzhàlán Xī Jiē), ☎ +86 10 6301-6658, . 08:30-20:30. Very large silk store established in 1840. Claims to be the biggest silk professional store in China.
- Tea Street (茶街; Chá Jiē), Maliandao Chayecheng (马连道茶叶城; Mǎliándàocháyèchéng). 08:30-18:00. 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 St (宣武门外大街8号; Xuānwǔménwài Dàjiē), ☎ +86 10 6310-3388, . 09:30-22:00. 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. 08:30-22:30. 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, 11 Xijing Lu. Serves Shaanxi cuisine. ¥25-50.
- Little Sheep (小肥羊; Xiǎoféiyáng), 43 Guang'anmennei Dajie (光安门内大街43号; Guāng'ānménnèi Dàjiē) (NW corner of Caishikou (菜市口) intersection), ☎ +86 10 6316-6668, . 10:00-23:00. 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 W St (珠市口西大街临25号; Zhūshìkǒu Xīdàjiēlín), ☎ +86 10 6301-8885 (fax: +86 10 6484-8885). 10:30-22:00. Primarily serves spicy Sichuan hotpot with fish or meat.
- Bhodi-Saki (菩提缘), 10-16 Heiyaochang St ((N of Taoranting Park's N Gate)), ☎ +86 10 6354-2889, 6354-6155. 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 W St, ☎ +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) (Qianmen Stn (Line 2), bus 2, 120, 726, 826, 803 to Qianmen), ☎ +86 10 6304-8987, . 11:30-14:30 and 16:30-20:00 daily. 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 W St (前门西大街3号; Qiánmén Xī Dàjiē) (Qianmen Stn (Line 2) or buses #5, #10, #110; #120), ☎ +86 10 6303-6830, . 09:00-21:00. 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 accommodation, you might have better luck elsewhere.
- 365 Inn (北京君怡酒店; Běijīngjūnyí Jiǔdiàn), 55 Dazhalan W St (大栅栏西街55号; Dàzhàlán Xī Jiē (800 m SW of Qianmen Stn (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.
- Beijing Far East Youth Hostel (北京远东饭店; Běijīngyuǎndōngfàndiàn), 90 Tieshuxie St (铁树斜街90号; Tiěshùxié Jiē) (10-min walk from Tian'anmen Sq), ☎ +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.
- 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.
- Emperor Guest House, 11 Ying Tao Xie Jie, ☎ +86 010 6317-6288 ([email protected]), . A beautiful 200 year old courtyard. Newly remodeled bathrooms, free wifi, tasty restaurant. Staff is wonderfully friendly and speaks pretty good English. Gets a bit cold later in the year, but beds are very comfy and thick quilts are provided. Lots of good bao shops within walking distance. ¥45 for dorm beds.
- Feilongge Hotel (飞龙阁饭店; Fēilónggéfàndiàn), 10 Baizhifang W St (白纸坊西街10号; Báizhǐfāng Xī Jiē), ☎ +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 from ¥200.
- Home Inn (Beiwei Road) (如家酒店 (北京北纬路店); Rújiā Jiǔdiàn (Běijīngběiwěilùdiàn)), 11 Xijing Rd (西经路11号; Xījīnglù) (Bus 59 to Beiweilu Stn (北纬路)), ☎ +86 10 8315-2266 (fax: +86 10 8316-2020), . Small rooms with free internet. Business center and ticket office. Chinese restaurant. Doubles from ¥239, discounted from ¥214; breakfast ¥15.
- Jing Yi Shi Hotel, Btwn 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.
- 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 St Qianmen (500 m S of Qianmen Stn (Line 2)), ☎ +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, 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.
- 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.
- Guang'an Hotel (广安宾馆; Guǎng'ānbīnguǎn), (广安门内大街321号; Guǎngānménnèi Dàjiē), ☎ +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. Doubles from ¥880; discounted from ¥358, including breakfast.
- Rich Hotel, No. 1 A Nanxinhua Road, Xuanwu District, ☎ +86 10 6302-2277 ([email protected]), . 2 km from Tian'anmen Sq. Has 131 rooms, each with cable TV, bathroom amenities, and broadband Internet. Hotel amenities include a conference center, restaurant, bar, business center, concierge, and 24-hour front desk. ¥290.
- Golden Sun Commercial Hotel (金色夏日商务酒店; Jīnsèxiàrìshāngwù Jiǔdiàn), 85 Xibianmennei St (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. Doubles from ¥888; discounted from CNY438, incl. breakfast.
- Shenzhen Hotel, 1 Guang'anmen Wai St, Xuanwu District, ([email protected]), . Enjoys a prime Xuanwu District location. Business and leisure facilities including banquet halls and function rooms.
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