Top 3 shops to visit in Wudaoying Hutong, Beijing

Wudaoying Hutong is a street full of artistic roadside shops. If you are looking for interesting stores with traditional decoration and setting, this is the place you want to go!
#Beijing #hutong #culture #tradition #artistic #local #swap #charity #music
by Nan He
September 20, 2016

Hutong is a general term for small streets in Beijing. Native Beijingers used to live around hutong, but now people see its value more in cultural heritage as well as business opportunities. Among them, Wudaoying Hutong is definitely the most favorable one. Different from many other hutongs like Nanluoguxiang which are renowned for sightseeing and tourism, Wudaoying is quiet, elegant and full of art. Located near Yonghegong Lama Temple, Wudaoying Hutong was originally built as army camp in history. Then gradually the military significance disappeared, and in 1965, Wudaoying became one of the earliest commercial hutongs in Beijing. From then on, lots of fancy stores came into life and made Wudaoying Hutong a perfect place for leisure time.

Change - The Swap Shop (67 West, Wudaoying Hutong, Beijing)

Remember the guy that traded his pin for a condo? People would be crazy about that news in 2006, but ten years later, barter has become big business. Established in 2008, Change is actually the first swap shop in Beijing. Robin, the owner of Change says that his slogan for the shop is “communication changes life”. Over the eight years, Change has collected more than 1,500 things from customers and the owner himself, including jewelries, backpacks and even bicycles. If you have something you don’t need for now, visit Change and see if there’s anything you would like to exchange for. You’re welcome to swap or buy things, but you’re not allowed to sell for cash.

Brandnu (61, Wudaoying Hutong, Beijing)

This is a cozy store that sells clothes made by women from the stricken area of the ’08 Wenchuan earthquake, using local cloths and crafts. Brandnu, homophonic to the English phrase “brand new”, suggests the sincere wish the owner wants to make towards the people that suffered from the disaster. This shop has collaboration with several charity organizations in China, including One Foundation which was founded by movie star Jet Li. With every piece of goods sold, Brandnu would donate 5% of its sales to these charity organizations. So if you want some handicraft clothes with ethnic features and also do something for charity, do not miss this one.

The “Music” Bookstore (47, Wudaoying Hutong, Beijing)

Recently, learning musical instruments has become the new trend as more and more TV shows of music have come out. This bookstore, called “music”, is such a perfect place for people at all levels, from amateurs to professionals. When you step into it, you’ll be astounded by the decorations within --- countless tiny replicas of instruments on shelves, not to mention the music score printed on walls. The store has all kinds of books one would need to learn a musical instrument, including fundamentals of music theory and the scores for each level. If you’re interested in learning music by yourself, check this out!

By Nan He