You want to take Subway Line 6 to get there directly, but if you don’t mind a little walk, take Subway Line 2, and you will get to walk along a couple of really nice lakes right in the heart of Beijing. People fish for critters in the lakes, although I would not eat anything from an urban lake no matter where it is. Like all places in Beijing, the two lakes, The Quanhai Sea and then North of that along Gulou West Street are really quite the treat for a nice long multi-kilometer hike through Beijing. If you take Houhai Alley you can end up at some of the less visited places and monuments like the Former Residence of Soong Ching Ling (no English language support but interesting) the turn into the Xaioshibei Hutong for some awesome shops before hitting the Drum and Bell towers. If you are really intrepid and want to walk all the way down to Jingshan Park, walk directly south of the Drum Tower down Di’anmen Inner Street and take a left when you get to the park. Going left you get to avoid all the hucksters, and they were really aggressive when I was there.
In all it is a beautiful walk, but long, plan on walking about three miles in total if you are doing the scenic route long walk. There are a ton of rickshaw drivers and electric scooter drivers, all I can tell you is be very careful and avoid them. They will rip you off and they are a classic Beijing scam talked about on Lonely Planet and other travel sites. They were still active as of June 2013, and will probably always be there. Don’t believe a word, don’t get in the rickshaw, far far better to take a taxi, there are tons of them around.
This photo set takes in both towers and the long walk down to the north entrance to the Forbidden City. Unfortunately the pollution levels were in the 250 to 320 range during the day, and walking around with a mask, and the heat was a pain. There is a lot of good food on Di’anmen Inner Street, from the ever present KFC and McDonalds, to some of the more traditional Chinese fare so you won’t go hungry. Lots of mom and pop stands as well to pick up water or a ice cream to help keep your core body temperature down. In all this was a really fun walk to do, I hope you enjoy the pictures. Feel free to make comments or offer suggestions on other cool places to go in Beijing.