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Making the Most of Your Time
Xicheng's must-see sites are few in number but all special. Walk around Beihai Park in the early afternoon. When you get tired, either retire to one of Houhai's many cafés or take a pedicab hutong tour. If you come to Beijing in the winter, Qianhai will be frozen and you can rent skates, runner-equipped bicycles to pedal across the ice or, the local favorite, a chair with runners welded to the bottom and a pair of metal sticks with which to propel yourself—quite a tiring sport. Dinner along the shores of Houhai is a great option—stick around into the evening to enjoy the booming bar scene. Plan to spend a few hours shopping at Xidan on your last day in Beijing; this is great place to pick up funky, cheap gifts.
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