Wangfujing Street has been host to commercial activities in Beijing for many centuries. Today, it’s very popular with shoppers and tourists who flock here in search of bargains and unique clothing. This busy commercial thoroughfare has benches, bars, restaurants and cafés, all offering plenty of rest stops.
Come during the day and browse the vast array of shops, which range from modern mall complexes to historic shops with old-fashioned facades. Try on high-quality hats at the famous Sheng Xifu hat shop, which was founded in 1911. Experience Chinese tea culture by sampling brews at the Wu Yu Tai Tea House. This well-known teahouse has been operating for more than a century. Other goods on offer range from silk embroidery and luxury brand accessories, to chopsticks and Chinese exercise balls.
At night, the smell of street food wafts in from the side lanes and the area springs to life. Shop signs light up in neon colors and diners flock to eat Peking duck in the nearby restaurants. Walk towards the north end of the street and you’ll find a row of street vendors with food stalls on Wangfujing Snack Street. Adventurous eaters can try skewered scorpion or bug kebabs, starfish and even snake. If you don’t fancy something that exotic, order one of the more mainstream dishes on offer, such as delicious noodles and ice cream. Remember, haggling is part of the culture in China, so don’t accept the initial price suggested by vendors.
After a meal, stroll to the nearby St. Joseph’s Cathedral, which is also known as Wangfujing Cathedral. This Romanesque-Revival church offers respite from the busy shopping malls that dominate the road. It’s worth waiting until nightfall to visit the church as this is when it is illuminated by a golden glow of lights. The evening is also when the space around the cathedral has a festive atmosphere as locals come to dance in the square at the front.
To reach Wangfujing Street, take a taxi, or the subway to Wangfujing Station.