For Hangzhou, water is the soul, but in Hangzhou’s tea houses, water is nothing more than a tool... And Hangzhou's citizens are in favor of the exquisite, as well as the harmonious. Amid the countless streets and roads in Hangzhou City, there are more than 1000 tea houses, with different themes gradually emerging among them as time went by. Some focus on the Tea Arts, while others pay more attention to the environment. Of course, there are also some tea houses combining collections and tea-tasting, and tea villages like Meijiawu and Maojiabu are located near West Lake, and have become one of its signature features.
The Beishan Rd near West Lake is an “Ancient Literati Road,” on which most of the traditional sites have been well preserved. The first West Lake Expo was held there, and now a variety of cafes make it even more enjoyable.
Nanshan Rd is the artistic block famous for its wine bars and cuisine. With its rich artistic atmosphere, the China Academy of Arts is surrounded by lots of themed bars, restaurants, and cafes. But if you think that’s not enough, then go to the Huanglong Sports center. Stretching from the inner part of the sports center to Huanglong World near Huanglong Square and West Lake Gym, several dozen wine bars are gathered at this prime location, catching the public eye at night with their live performances. Hangzhou citizens typically enjoy singing and dancing, and every day as the sun sets, Hangzhou's nightlife shows the city in a whole new light.
Impression West Lake is the only theater performance which deploys the lake and its surroundings as props to create a life-like charming background. In 2008, the Director Team for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony created a magnificent West Lake-themed cultural feast, featuring high technology. Every evening, a romantic love story is performed right on the lake. “West Lake Night,” set in the center of city, uses West Lake’s history as the background, enacting the situations and events of times past. “Forever Love in Song Cheng City” is one of the most popular shows in Hangzhou. It also enjoys the reputation of being the most performed show in the world, attracting the largest number of audiences. There are approximately 6 million viewers who watch it live every year.
Business was booming during the days of the Southern Song Dynasty, and as such, large numbers of people flooded into the biggest cities. As the capital of the southern Song Dynasty, Hangzhou provided a variety of entertainment for its citizens, of which most were circus shows, and because platforms were needed for the performers to perform their routines, “WaSi” - also known as the performing stage - emerged. For convenience of performance and to separate the audience from the stage, railings were often used. These were called “GouLan” at the time. Near Gulou in Hangzhou, Goulan Wasi has been rebuilt so that tourists can visualize the prosperous scenes of this ancient capital.