Note: This is a continuation of an earlier walking tour of Nanluoguxiang and the Drum Tower
From the Drum Tower, walk south along Di An Men Wai Da Jie (地安门外大街). Stay on the right (west) side of the road as you head south, and keep your eyes open for a busy little alley on your right. It is about 100 meters south of the Drum Tower. The busy little alley is Yan Dai Xie Jie (烟袋斜街), the entrance to Hou Hai Lake (后海). Turn right into Yan Dai Xie Jie.
YanDaiXieJie has plenty of cute little souvenir shops, apparel stores and cafes/bars - one that I particularly like sells sets of matchboxes with different interesting designs, e.g. Communist propaganda, Time magazine covers, pretty Chinese models, etc. After walking about 200 meters you will see the lake that is Hou Hai.
There should also be a small stone bridge very near you. After you’ve checked out the surrounding shops (there are boat rentals nearby too), cross the bridge and turn left (south) to walk along the lake - the lake should be on your left. Keep walking south along the lake; you will pass many bars and old neighbourhoods. After walking along the lake for about 500 meters from the small stone bridge, you will hit Lotus Lane (He Hua Shi Chang, 荷花市场) - a strip with many fancy restaurants and bars. One of them serves great Peking duck and has a free cultural show every evening.
In the next post I will continue our walking tour to Bei Hai Park!