Wander through the peaceful streets while soaking up Chinese history
Built in 1267 by order of Emperor Kublai Khan, Fuchengmen was one of the most important gates to the city of Beijing. Until the Qing dynasty (1648-1911), it was the main passageway for coal transportation, hence its other name, “Coal Gate.” Although the gate and its attached city wall were knocked down in the 1970s to facilitate construction, the area still bears the name Fuchengmen. Visitors won’t find any skyscrapers here – at least not yet. Instead, an assortment of historical and cultural relics awaits in this relaxing area, with tasty local snack stands to distract you on a sunny day.
If you tire of shopping in Silk Street or Yashow, Wantong might be the perfect place to discover a few inexpensive treasures. It offers a little bit of everything, including jewelry, arts and crafts, home supplies, clothes, sport equipment and even electrical appliances. Open daily 9am-8.30pm. 2 Fuchengmenwai Dajie, Xicheng District (6858 8145) 万通新世界商品交易市场. 西城区阜成门外大街2号
Beijing Lu Xun Museum
Discover one of China’s literary treasures: Lu Xun, the renowned May Fourth Movement author. Located on the site of Lu Xun’s former home, the museum contains over 30,000 of the writer’s personal items, providing a unique personal view on the life of the “Father of Modern Chinese Literature.” Lu Xun’s works, in Chinese and other languages, are available for purchase in the museum’s gift shop. RMB 5. Tue-Sun 9am-4pm. 19 Gongmenkou Ertiao, Fuchengmennei, Xicheng District. (6616 5654) 北京鲁迅博物馆，西城区阜成门内宫门口二条19号
The White Pagoda is the largest and oldest Tibetan Buddhist structure in Beijing. Built in 1271 during the reign of Kublai Khan, the Nepalese-influenced pagoda was an important landmark of Beijing during the Yuan dynasty, marking a cultural exchange between China and Nepal. The three exhibition halls display numerous Buddhist treasures and statues. RMB 20. Daily 9am-5pm. 171 Fuchengmennei Dajie, Xicheng District (6617 6164) 白塔寺, 西城区阜成门内大街171号
Fish and Bird Market
If your children get restless after visiting ancient temples, breathe some life back into them at the Fish and Bird Market. Walk slightly northwest of the Lu Xun Museum, following the sounds of birds’ cooing, until you reach Qingta Hutong, where an outdoor market sells an unusual assortment of wildlife. Sitting beside the usual cats, rabbits and squirrels are more unconventional pet options, including silkworms, frogs, snakes, even lizards and baby giant salamanders. Qingta Hutong (west of Beijing Lu Xun Museum), Fuchengmennei, Xicheng District 官园观赏鱼市场, 青塔胡同(北京鲁迅博物馆西)
Lidai Diwang Temple
A place of imperial sacrifices that was built on the site of a former Buddhist temple, Lidai Diwang was an imperial temple during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Here you can find memorial tablets left by 188 emperors and rulers from different nationalities and 80 memorial tablets dedicated by ministers and generals. RMB 20. Daily 9am-4pm. Fuchengmenei Dajie, Xicheng District. (6616 1141) 历代帝王庙, 西城区阜成门内大街.
Qingfeng Steamed Dumpling
Dig into one of Beijing’s famous foods at this eatery. One of Beijing’s laozihao (traditional brand) chain restaurants, Qingfeng was founded in 1948 and is famous for its steamed dumplings. This snack can be prepared with a wide selection of fresh and tasty fillings, including pork, shrimp, crab, fish, beef and vegetable. You can also chow down on other local Beijing snacks, including boiled beans, stewed crispy fish and spicy beef. Daily 6.30am-9pm. 135 Fuchengmenwai Dajie, Xicheng District (6616 1236). 庆丰包子铺，西城区阜成门外大街2号
The Geological Museum of China
Towering in front of this museum’s door is a giant full-sized model hadrosaur, presently the tallest standing model in the world. Inside the museum, visitors can get a close-up glimpse of more fossils in the museum’s vast collection of geological treasures. Multimedia displays and samples of rock, mineral and animal fossils uncover the mysteries and natural phenomena of the earth. RMB 30. Tue-Sun 9am-4.30pm. 15 Yangrou Hutong, Xisi, Xicheng District (6655 7858) 中国地质博物馆, 西城区西四羊肉胡同15号