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Outside of the Qianmen Gate
HOURS: Most shops open daily 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
METRO: Qianmen (Line 2)
Enter Dazhalan through the filigree archway off Qianmen Pedestrian Street, and wander the length of a Qing Dynasty bazaar. Pronounced “Da’sh’larr” in the local accent, this stretch of road has been a trading point since the Yuan Dynasty. When a curfew was imposed on the city in 1488 during the Ming Dynasty, fences were erected at each end of Dazhalan to stop thieves from looting the shops and stalls within.
During the 1960s, the street was the first in Beijing to receive an asphalt coating. These days it is a bustling (if a little touristy) pedestrian road lined with some elaborately decorated restaurants and shops.
The best for silk are Ruifuxiang at No. 5 and Xiangyihao at No. 7. There’s Nei Lian Sheng for shoes at No. 34, and hats at Majuyuan. Also noteworthy are the famous Tongrenting Traditional Chinese pharmacy, Daguanlou Cinema, and Ten Fu Tea shop.
© Susie Gordon from Moon Beijing & Shanghai, 2nd Edition