Houhai Lake (Back Lake) in Beijing

Why is the Houhai in Beijing so Special?

Houhai is the largest of the three lakes, along with Qianhai ‘Front Lake’ and Xihai ‘Western Lake’, that comprise Shichahai, the collective name for the three northern-most lakes in central Beijing. Since the early 2000s, the hutong neighborhood around Houhai has become known for its nightlife as many residences along the lakeshore have been converted into restaurants, bars, and cafes. The area is especially popular with foreign tourists visiting Beijing and is also often visited by the expatriate community and the younger generations of locals.

Where is the Houhai in Beijing?

Houhai is located in the Xicheng District of central Beijing.

How to Get There

  • Take Bus No. 13, 42, 90, 107, 111, 118, 204, 609, 612, 623, or 701 to Beihai North Gate stop.
  • Take Metro Line 6 to Beihai North Gate

Things to Do in Houhai

Houhai area is popular with locals, Western ex-pats and tourists from around the globe. They come for the distinctive shopping, dining, clubbing, boating and winter ice-skating.

Go to Houhai Lake

In summer, the lotus in Houhai is in full bloom. You can go to the lake by boat and enjoy the flowers. There are wild mandarin ducks in the lake. In winter, the lake freezes and becomes a natural skating rink where people can skate and ski.

Hit the Nightlife at Houhai Bar Street

Houhai Lake District is famous for its active and exciting nightlife. There are many bars, cafes and restaurants to watch, especially around the famous Houhai bar street. With plenty of food and drink to choose from, Houhai Lake has become a fashionable resort in recent years and is welcomed by foreigners and locals.
Houhaihu district is very busy at night. The bar is open for business. People have dinner or drink after work. Most bars have live music. As a popular area, bar food and drink prices are higher than the rest of the city. Despite the high price, Houhai Lake District is still a good place to enjoy lakeside dinner or drinks and the local atmosphere in the Forbidden City and other attractions after a busy day.


Houhaihu district also has many traditional Chinese alleys, called Hutong, where you can have a look at the local lifestyle. In the Hutong community around Houhai Lake, you can find the former residences of several famous Chinese officials and celebrities, such as Prince Gong, Prince Chun, famous poet Guo Moruo, and Mrs. Sun Yat Sen Song Qingling. If you are a tour group, we can also arrange a home visit or make lunch at the local Hutong home. When you explore the Hutong, you may come across a charming tea house, restaurant or souvenir shop.

Useful Travel Tips

  • Boat prices: 120 to 280 CNY/hour, 400 to 800 CNY for deposit
  • There are numerous choices of the bar and it’s suggested you take a walk along the street before deciding where to settle down.

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