The dominant feature in Beijing’s Hou Hai district is the Back Lakes (or Hou Hai). This area has been an important part of Beijing for centuries, but recent redevelopments have given it a slick cosmopolitan veneer. Today, China’s successful business tycoons come here to work and play, so there are as many impressive business towers here as trendy nightclubs and up-market restaurants.
One of the most important office districts near the Back Lakes is China Zhi Gong Dang building. Farther from the lakes but still in the district are CYTS Tower and Beijing Poly Plaza. The latter is a striking building that houses office and retail space along with a selection of the most sought-after business hotels in Hou Hai. Impossible to miss, this building is an example of the spirited architectural style that has emerged in Hou Hai in the past few years.
While the Back Lakes attract local professionals and business travelers, this entire district is also a magnet for expatriates and foreign tourists, who come for the mix of old-world sightseeing attractions and cutting-edge commercial scene. The lakes themselves are appealing, and they’ve played an important transportation role in Beijing since the 1200s. Another important site in the area is Beijing Confucius Temple.
The best place for tourists to stay is in the accommodation near the Back Lakes, while some of the most convenient are located halfway between the lakes and Andingmen Subway Station. The bars and restaurants around the lakes are open until late, and it’s possible to hire a paddle boat and go out on the water long after the sun has set. The club scene on the lakes receives a boost from the student population of nearby Beijing Normal University.