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Wudaoying Hutong, new cultural zone for tourists

(Global Times)

13:18, November 13, 2012

A foreign woman cycles along Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng district on Monday. (Photo: Li Hao/GT)

Wudaoying Hutong in Beijing's Dongcheng district has finished the first phase of construction to promote it as a tourism zone, local authorities told the Global Times Monday.

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Tong Ying, from the media department of the Andingmen Street Administration Committee, said in future, there are plans for more cultural integration with Guozijian Jie, which lies to the south of Wudaoying.

"The first phase of construction ended before October 1," said Tong.

The road has been redone and nightlights were added along the hutong and a logo was set up at the eastern end of the hutong, as well as a map for the whole area, she said.

"The integration project is more cultural than physical," said Tong. Wudaoying is parallel to Guozijian Jie, where the Confucius Temple is located and the two streets are connected by Jianchang Hutong.

There are now 78 restaurants and shops in the hutong, since the first, the Vineyard Cafe opened in 2006, according to the committee's website.

In the future, the few hutong in this area will get makeovers to have the same style and sometimes joint activities will take place as well.

For example, Tong said, if there are Buddhist activities at Guozijian, then the Buddhist shops in Wudaoying might have corresponding sales and theme coupons.

However, at the moment, there are not that many tourists in the area. Tong said for larger places, such as the Spanish restaurant Saffron, reservations are always needed. But smaller shops might need more publicizing.

Another issue shop owners and tourists face right now is there is no parking space in the area. Yan Tao, who owns a shop selling toys and gadgets, said he liked that the bathrooms are cleaner, but the lack of parking is an issue.

"Sometimes residents park on both sides of the hutong, it's such a nuisance to walk here. We're inside the Second Ring Road, so parking can be a large issue which needs to be solved," he said.

New parking lots are in the long-term plan for the Wudaoying area, but so far the new parking plans are under consultation, and have not yet been approved, said Tong.

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