Located in Chengdu’s Qingyang district, the three parallel alleys of Kuan Zhai Alley (Kuan Zhai Xiang Zi) offer a lively mix of old and new, with renovated and restored buildings that date from the Qing dynasty. A popular shopping, dining, entertainment, and tourist destination, it’s also one of the city’s three historic conservation districts.
Kuan Zhai Alley, which means wide and narrow lanes, comprises three parallel alleys: Kuan Alley, with its old courtyards and doors, traditional teahouses, and local restaurants; Zhai Alley, with a mix of Chinese and Western architectural styles, as well as coffee shops and western cuisine; and Jing Alley, the most modern of the alleys, full of entertainment options such as bars and clubs, as well as a 1,312-foot-long (400-meter) wall covering the history of Chengdu.
A number of walking, bicycle, and sightseeing tours include a stop at Kuan Zhai Alley in addition to other popular Chengdu attractions, such as People’s Park, Wenshu Temple, or Qingyang Palace. Popular additions to a Chengdu city tour include a visit to the giant pandas or the Dujiangyan Irrigation System.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Kuan Zhai Alley is a must-visit for foodies, shoppers, and architecture fans.
- Wear comfortable shoes appropriate for the flagstone-paved streets.
- Visit by day and by night to get the full experience.
- Prices here are often higher than elsewhere in the city.
How to Get There
The alleys are easily accessible by Chengdu public transport. By metro, take Line 4 to Wide and Narrow Alley Station, or Line 2 to People’s Park Station, and walk along Changshun Upper Road. A number of buses also stop at the alley or nearby on Jinhe Road.
When to Get There
You can visit Kuan Zhai Alley at any time, though shops, restaurants, and businesses have different opening hours. Shops tend to close by 9pm, while restaurants and bars usually stay open later. Weekends are very busy, and the area is packed with locals and visitors alike.
History of Kuan Zhai Alley
In the Qing dynasty, when more than 1,000 soldiers returned from a war with Tibet, they settled in Chengdu in an area of 42 alleys. Today only the three alleys that make up Kuan Zhai Alley remain of that settlement. From 2003 to 2008, the area underwent renovation as part of a preservation and revitalization effort by the city.