: The best way to settle into Beijing after checking into a hotel is with a long walk from the city's
. Most choose to begin the trip with a quick temple visit, then a walk west through
, a street that captures the spirit of the city’s hipster scene. You’ll find quirky shops selling everything from fixed-gear bicycles to succulent plants, and even a cat cafe. If you turn south until you hit Gulou East Street, and continue west through the hustle and bustle of endless vendors and cafes, you'll reach the
Drum and Bell Towers
. There's a 4:30 p.m. drum performance, worth checking out before heading to Houhai for a lakeside stroll. We suggest skipping Houhai’s bars and restaurants, which tend to be underwhelming tourist traps. And have fun trying not to get coerced into a rickshaw ride by the notoriously pushy drivers.
Lama Temple, 12 Yonghegong Dajie; Bell and Drum Towers, north end of Dianmen Dajie
iReport assignment: What are your favorite spots in Beijing?
No need to leave this happening neighborhood for dinner.
offers some of the city’s best Yunnan cuisine, a region of China that takes culinary cues from neighbors Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. Flavorful dishes such as crispy shrimp with lime leaves pair well with a mug of Dali beer and the intimate traditional courtyard setting. For a restaurant that hits closer to Beijing,
Mr. Shi’s Dumplings
offers homey and typical but tasty Chinese dishes such as kung pao chicken and delicious pork and chive fried dumplings.
Dali Courtyard, 67 Xiaojingchang Hutong; +86 (10) 8404 1430 Mr. Shi’s Dumplings, 74 Baochao Hutong; +86 (10) 8405 0399