Address: Dashilar Commercial Street, Xicheng District, Beijing, China
What You Need to Know About Dashilar Street
The Main Entrance
Dashilar (or Dashilan) Street is a famous commercial street outside Beijing’s Qianmen. Now it also refers to the area including Dashilar Street, Langfangtoutiao Hutong, Liangshidian Street, and Meishi Street.
Located in the center of ancient Beijing, Dashilar Street is an important part of the South Central Axis. It is located south of Tian’anmen Square and west of Qianmen Street, with a total length of 275 meters from east to west.
After more than 500 years of development, it has gradually developed into a commercial street lined with 36 shops of 11 industries.
It emerged in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and was established in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It has flourished since the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912).
History of Dashilar Street
The origin of Dashilar Street can be traced back to the first year (1488) of Emperor Hongzhi’s reign in the Ming Dynasty. At that time, there was a “curfew” in Beijing. In order to prevent thieves from hiding in the streets, wooden fences were built at the crossings of many streets and alleys, with the approval of the imperial court.
According to historical records in the Qing Dynasty, there were 440 outer city fences approved in the 7th year (1729) of the reign of Emperor Yongzheng. In 1753, the 18th year of Emperor Qianlong’s reign, 1919 inner-city fences and 196 imperial city inner fences were approved.
In 1900, the entire street, including the wooden fences, was burned down. In 2000, the Beijing Municipal Government built an iron fence at the entrance of Dashilar.
Dashilar Street was originally the Langfangsitiao Hutong. Because the fence of this hutong was well-made, which could be preserved for a long time, and was larger than others, this hutong gradually attracted the attention of the people. It is the reason why people called this hutong Dashilar (Da means large and shilar means fence).
According to Beijing Urban Master Plan, Dashilar Cultural Reserve Area is one of the 25 historical and cultural reserves. It reaches Qianmen West Street in the north, Zhubaoshi Street and Liangshidian Street in the east, Zhushikou Street in the south and South Xinhua Street in the west. It covers an area of about 1.3 square kilometers and involves about 25,000 households.
Dashilar is the epitome, essence, and origin of Beijing culture. As the most important market and commercial center of Beijing in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Dashilar retains the longest urban texture and block style in history, from the Jin (1115-1234), Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties, the Republic of China to the contemporary era.
Dashilar Street witnessed the formation and development of Peking Opera. There once were numerous theaters, numerous masters, and guild halls. Dignitaries, ordinary people, and cultural officials had gathered here.
Dashilar was awarded the first national cluster of China time-honored brand shops in 2011. There was a slogan circulating in Beijing, “Buy shoes, go to Neiliansheng; buy caps, go to Majuyuan; buy clothes, go to Refosian; buy watches, go to Hengdeli; buy tea, go to Zhangyiyuan; buy pickles, go to Liubiju; buy desserts, go to Zhengmingzhai; watch films, go to Daguanlou; buy sewing kits, go to Changhehou.” They are the popular China time-honored brands in Dashilar Street.
Most Popular Shops
Liubiju Sauce and Pickles
Liubiju Sauce and Pickles
Liubiju, the China time-honored brand, is best known for its sauce and pickles. It is also the oldest and most famous pickle store in Beijing.
Liubiju has 12 kinds of traditional products, such as thin soybean sauce, sweet sauce turnip, sweet sauce cucumber, sweet sauce manna, sweet sauce black vegetables, sweet sauce ginger bud, white sugared garlic, and others.
Refosian, the China time-honored brand, is a traditional Chinese costume store. It sells silk fabrics, woolen fabrics, cotton, fur, synthetic fiber, ethnic clothing accessories, etc. In addition to cloth and garment, Refosian also provides cheongsam customization and on-site production of silk quilt. Legend has it that the most expensive hand-embroidered cheongsam in the store is about 100,000 yuan.
Zhangyiyuan Tea Shop
Zhangyiyuan Tea is of high quality, mellow in color and taste. It is widely praised by the people of Beijing. Now it supplies not only green tea like Longjing, Biluochun, Junshan Silver Needle and others, but also various levels of flower tea, compressed tea, black tea, and health tea.
Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine
Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine Shop
As a national intangible cultural heritage, Tong Ren Tang is also a well-known and time-honored brand in the industry of traditional Chinese medicine. Founded in 1669 (the eighth year of the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty), it has been offering royal medicine since 1723, totally 188 years for eight Qing emperors.
Its products are famous at home and abroad for their unique formula, superior material selection, strict technique, and remarkable curative effect. Its products are sold in more than 40 countries and regions.
What to Eat
Duyichu Restaurant has offered the specially-made “Four Seasons Shaomai” in spring, summer, autumn and winter with different fillings. Shaomai is a kind of steamed dumpling filled with a variety of ingredients. When it comes to the season, the most nutritious ingredients in the season are combined into the fillings, so that diners can timely supplement the most needed nutritional elements.
The typical ingredients of the “Four Seasons Shaomai” in Duyichu are pork and spring bamboo shoots, beef and tomato, crab and roe, and mutton and turnip.
Xincheng Sliced Noodles
Xincheng Sliced Noodles
The 60-year old state-owned restaurant specializes in noodles with fried sauce (Beijing zhajiang). The noodles are chewy and can definitely remind you of the stories dozens of years ago.
In this restaurant, you can hear the authentic Beijing accent, get very good service provided by friendly waiters and waitresses. It is decorated with a nostalgic atmosphere of the early 1970s. The glass counter, old-fashioned tables, and chairs, and even the ceiling fans exactly show their original appearance!
Old Stories of Dashilar Street
When referring to Dashilar Street, probably many people will ask why the street is pronounced as “dà shí lànr”, instead of “Da Zha Lan”? Did people mispronounce it? Rather, this is the culture of old Beijing. In Beijing dialect, Dashilar is pronounced as “dà shí lànr”.
“See shows at Tianqiao; buy things in Dashilar.” Dashilar is one of the most ancient commercial markets in Beijing. It sits right on the central axis of Beijing.
More than 700 years ago, when the Yuan Dynasty established its capital in Beijing, Dashilar was a commercial street.
Road in Dashilar Street
More than 600 years ago, when the capital was moved during the reign of Emperor Yongle(1403-1424) of the Ming Dynasty, rows of houses were built outside Qianmen Gate to attract investment.
These streets were correspondently called “Langfang Toutiao”, “Langfang Ertiao” and “Langfang Santiao”, and “Langfang Sitiao”, among which the last one is now known as Dashilar.
Langfang Sitiao was renamed Dashilar because there were many fences funded by merchants and were extremely large, so they were called “Big Fence”. As time passed, “Big Fence” was pronounced as “dà shí lànr”.
Dashilar is the most charming old commercial district in Beijing. Its magnificence and prosperity are second to none in Beijing, and its exuberant vitality is unabated till now.
Dashilar Street is very close to a number of famous attractions, such as Tian’anmen Square, China Railway Museum, and Liulichang Cultural Street. You cannot miss them.
How to Get to Dashilar Street
Take bus 2, 20, 48, 59, 66, 93, 120, Tourism Line 1, Night 2, Night 17, or Night 18, and get off at Dashilar Station.
Take bus 2, 5, 8, 20, 22, 48, 59, 66, 67, 82, 93, 120, 332, 599, 622, Tourism Line 1, Double-decker 7, Double-decker 11, Night 2, or Night 17, Night 18, and get off at Qianmen Station. Then walk toward southeast, walk about 20 meters along the Meishijie(Meishi St.), turn right into the Langfangertiao, walk about 160 meters to the destination(totally for about 3 minutes).
Take Metro Line 2 and get off at Qianmen Station (Exit C). Then walk southward about 20 meters, turn left, walk about 20 meters, turn front-left, walk about 20 meters and then walk through the underground passage, turn right, walk about 40 meters, turn right to walk out the underground passage, turn left, walk about 80 meters, turn left, into the Meishijie(Meishi St.), walk about 240 meters, turn left into the Langfangertiao, walk about 150 meters to the destination(totally for about 8 minutes).
Chinese: 请带我去大栅栏。 English: Please take me to Dashilar Street.
If you go to Dashilar Street from the center of Beijing (Tian’anmen Square), it takes about 5 minutes (about 15 yuan).
If you go to Dashilar Street from Beijing Railway Station, it takes 20 minutes (about 25 yuan).
If you go to Dashilar Street from Beijing Daxing International Airport, it takes 75 minutes (about 200 yuan).