Making the most of a day and a half in Beijing.
I have been to Beijing many times. During college, I spent a summer semester in the city studying Chinese. There is so much to do, see, and eat!
My family and I spent the morning wandering through the old streets of Beijing, also known as hutongs. These streets are lined with traditional courtyard residences. Definitely a very Beijing experience. The first hutong I visited was Nanluoguxiang. The streets are lined with various shops, restaurants, food stands, and cafes. There are a lot of historical plaques throughout detailing the rich history of the hutong. This is also a great place to shop for souvenirs and snacks. My favorite snack would have to be the fresh candied hawthorns on a stick. They are the perfect balance of sweet and tart. For lunch, we went to King’s Joy, which is located in another hutong called Wudaoying. This hutong is known for its East meets West restaurants. It boosts quite a few well known and unique eateries.
We also visited the former residence of Soong Ching-ling. Soon Ching-ling was the wife of Sun Yat-sen, and later became the Vice Chairman and Honorary Chairman of the People’s Republic of China. The mansion was originally built for princes of the Qing dynasty. She is a well regarded political figure, and considered the mother of modern day China. She lived in the residence from 1963-1981. There are many exhibits detailing her life and work. The landscaping and gardens of the residence are quite beautiful, even in the winter.