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Around the south and along the west side of HouHai are a variety of teahouses, cafes, bars and boutiques that combine modern and traditional elements in their unique designs. There are also some cafes, restaurants and bars on the east side.
Houhai is directly north of Tian'anmen Square and just south of subway Line 2. Because of its proximity to the Forbiddent City, this area was historically home to court officials and the city's elite. Some of their residence still stand. Today the area has noisy bars and restaurants.
Historic sites include the Drum and Bell Towers and former residences of literati and court officials. Prince Gong's Mansion, a courtyard home that housed He Shen, a corrupt member of Emperor Qianlong's imperial guard, can also be found in the area.
Aside from the alleyways and historic sites, what attracts most people is the variety of bars and restaurants. Lotus Lane and Yandai Xiejie are two popular strips along Qianhai Lake. The strip along the western bank of Qianhai and Houhai lakes is also popular, as well as the renovated Nanluoguxiang Hutong, east of the lake.
A great place for dinner and then migrate from place to place for drinks. Or a nice stroll with good people watching. A mixture of old Beijing and the modern west, Houhai is worth a look.
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