Every city has its memorable streets and lanes. Compared to Hutongs in Beijing, the streets and lanes in the Jiangnan Region are characterized by white walls, black tiles, wooden windows and attics, courtyards and wells … But what both Hutongs in Beijing and the streets and lanes in Jiangnan Region have in common is the fact that they are the most authentic places for discovering an earthly and unpolished lifestyle of a city. If you have a day to spare, then why not take a trip down memory lane and visit some of Hangzhou’s most renowned streets and lanes.
Qinghefang Street is perhaps the most famous street in Hangzhou and a must on any tourists to do list. Characterized by the old street landscape of ancient Hangzhou, the street is packed with all kinds of Hangzhou snacks, like Dingsheng Cake, Cong Bao Hui and Stinky Tofu as well as art hawkers making mud figurines, fine portraits and other artworks, together with a large number of Hangzhou old brands.
Nanshan Road is an ancient street that boasts some of Hangzhou’s best-preserved traditional architecture. Under the shade of the trees that flank the roadside are a wealth of Chinese and European style buildings, most of which are related to Chinese historical celebrities, including “Meiling Villa” which was sent to Chiang Chingkuo as a gift by Soong Mei-ling (wife of Chiang Kai-shek). China Academy of Art, the first comprehensive national higher art education college, settled here after several times relocating. Gradually, the road has become an ideal place for Hangzhou people to relax and have fun. The artistic ambiance of the road has attracted numerous bars, youth hostels, restaurants and teahouses all of which make their mark on one of Hangzhou’s most famous roads.
The quaint street is characterized by hanging red lanterns which come alive at night. As the name suggests, Shengli River Food Street is a place for foodies to satisfy their cravings. The street is opposite Xinyifang Food Street, bordering the branch of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, Shengli River on the south and Xiangji Temple and Dadou Road Food Street on the north. There are four zones in Shengli River Food Street, with Zone A focusing on artworks and souvenirs, Zone B on a no-smoke BBQ zone, Zone C on characteristic delicacies and snacks and Zone D on snacks and drinks.
Hangzhou has long been known as the Capital of Silk and its silk is known for its long history, superior quality and wide variety. If you wish to buy some, then the China Silk Market is the place to be. With a history of 28 years, the China Silk Market is home to over 600 silk enterprises, including silk fabrics, silk garments, silk artworks, scarves, and ties etc.
The history of Qingzhiwu can be traced back to the Jin Dynasty (265-420), from when a village was starting to form. Qingzhiwu has an age-long history known for its many farmhouses standing in a setting of enchanting scenery. There used to a poem to praise the scenery of the area by the famous poet – Bai Juyi.
After renovation, Qingzhiwu regained its thousand-year-old charisma. At the entrance, one will find the signature landscape of Qingzhiwu, Qingliu Pool (青柳塘), which is characterized by zigzagging bridges, corridors, pavilions, a lotus pool and waterside platforms. With the wind’s gentle breeze caressing the water’s surface, the lotus and willows dance, just like the “Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden”. Flanking the village path are white-walled and black-tiled farmhouses with open courtyards featuring lush green trees and flowers and vines. Besides feasting on enchanting scenery, Qingzhiwu is also frequented for its dining and relaxation options, youth hostels, cafés, teahouses, bars, as well as art stores from all over the world and not forgetting Hangzhou’s many old brands.