Capital attractions

Updated: 2011-06-03 11:02

By Zhang Xi (China Daily European Weekly)

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Capital attractions
Fragrant Hills is a special park on the outskirts of the city that offers lush open spaces. Feng Jun / for China Daily 

After seeing Beijing's world-famous sites, check out these less-traveled gems

The typical Beijing tour includes the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tian'anmen Square, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and a wander around the venues of the 2008 Olympic Games. But there is so much more.

The city's skyscrapers rise above a labyrinth of hutong competing for attention with historic pavilions, temple pagodas and church towers. There are markets, museums and enormous parks all waiting to be discovered.

After your "official" tour ends, check out these five spots to enrich your Beijing experience.

1. Nanluoguxiang

This gentrified 700-year-old alleyway is a few kilometers north of the Forbidden City and is one of the capital's oldest hutong.

The 700-meter lane is lined with a plethora of quirky boutiques and galleries, trendy cafs, and cheap and adorable bars. The alleyway was once home to a prince from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and was the processional street for those ringing the bell and gonging the drum at the northern Drum and Bell Towers.

Nanluoguxiang is a charming spot that blends the old with the new and is a romantic place for Beijing couples to take an evening stroll.

One store that should not be missed is Plastered T-shirts, which is opened by Englishman Dominic Johnson-Hill in 2006. T-shirts are designed with iconic imagery.

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