Bustling and youthful, the walking routes around Hoan Kiem Lake is the venue for weekend unwind.
Hanoi Walking Street is the walkways around the Old Quarter reserved for pedestrians on the weekends. This space, first opened in 2016, has been a popular gathering place for Hanoians and tourists here. Various street activities, from music and street dancing, games to endless food counters and cafes are scattered around this most enormous walking area of the capital city. Whatever you like, chances are this place has something to offer you.
If you want the time, place and a guide on what to see, do, eat and shopping in Hanoi walking street, detailed to each street in the arena, this is the article for you!
Where is Hanoi Walking Street?
Hanoi Walking Street is the central downtown of Hanoi. Sometimes it is called Hoan Kiem walking street as it centers around Hoan Kiem Lake – the heart of Hanoi. Below is the map to the pedestrian-only zone and opening time.
What time is the walking street organized?
From 19:00 Friday to 24:00 Sunday every week.
When should I get to Hoan Kiem walking street?
In weekend evenings, it is like all of Hanoi come to hang out in this place. If you want a peaceful Hoan Kiem Lake, you may want to wake up as early as 6 AM. The streets are already busy from 7 AM onwards. For the lively atmosphere, a leisure walk at night to stretch your legs and free your mind will do just good.
What are the activities in this walking zone?
Overview of Hanoi Walking Street
Street art live performances
Going down the streets, you can easily see groups of performers with different genres and music styles. You can have a mixed bowl of everything, from vibrant Latin American to contemporary Vietnamese music, Vietnamese traditional art forms, such as Xam singing, Cai Luong Opera to even orchestral one.
The scene of everyone standing side by side, singing along to the music, right in the middle of the street without having to avoid traffic is probably the most fascinating side of Hanoi’s pedestrian streets. No doubt this vibrant atmosphere is drawing locals and tourists each weekend here.
Vietnam folk games
One of the most attractive activities in Hanoi walking street is the Vietnamese traditional games. At every corner around the lake, you will see groups of locals playing Mandarin square capturing, tug of war, shuttlecock kicking, team skipping… Join the locals, they will be more than happy to welcome you!
Besides the old and traditional, pedestrian streets are also filled with modern street dancing, children play-driving in various battery-powered remote-controlled toy vehicles.
Venue: Around Hoan Kiem Lake
Walking around the lake, it is not difficult to get a portrait of yourself by skillful street artists here. It will only take around 20 minutes to half an hour to finish sketching a portrait. If you want to be in good hands, come to 47 Hang Ngang – the shop of a 60-year experience artist, Mr. Bao Nguyen.
- Price range: 100,000 – 150,000 VNĐ.
- Venue: Around Hoan Kiem Lake
Eating local specialties
Honestly, this single part cannot cover endless arrays of street food in Hanoi. Consider this just a quick guide to streets of food to kick start your exploration of Hanoi cuisine.
The Old Quarter is well known for its specialized goods in each street. The same thing happens for food, there are some streets that sell the best dishes of one type. Here is my suggestion to streets/areas for each dish.
First area: Hanoi Weekend market: Hang Dao – Hang Ngang – Hang Duong that connects with Dong Xuan. A bit of everything can be found here, you can have from Vietnamese street food to international dishes, mostly skewers, Korean food, tropical fruits, both fresh and sweetened. This is the place for the mass, so try walking around but not eat too much here.
Second area: The rectangle of Ta Hien – Luong Ngoc Quyen – Dao Duy Tu – Hang Buom street. This place has better “quality” street food, best for a night out with beer. You can have numerous Vietnamese savory snacks like salted chicken legs, fried potato chips while drinking craft beer in Beer Street of Hanoi. On Hang Buom Street, either choose fresh juices, sweet soup (che), sweet rice cake, spring rolls (nem cuon) and Vietnamese salad (nom), or hotpot (lau) as each dish can be very fulfilling.
- Thirdly: a miscellaneous of streets for best food in the Old Quar.
– Hang Hom: Chicken noodle soup (Pho ga)
– Bat Dan: Beef noodle soup (Pho bo)
– Hang Manh: Charcoal-grilled pork and vermicelli (bun cha)
– Trang Tien: ice cream
– Ho Hoan Kiem: Dried beef salad (nom bo kho)
– To Tich: mixed fruits dessert (hoa qua dam)
Shopping in Hanoi walking street
Held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 19:00 onwards, Hanoi Weekend night market is a bustling 3-kilometer stretch of roadside stalls and local food vendors. It connects Hang Dao, Hang Ngang, Hang Duong and Dong Xuan market. You can have pretty cheap goods from over 3000 stalls of numerous small traders here from foods, clothes, accessories, daily goods to souvenirs and handicrafts.
Aside from the list above, you may also consider buying the following as travel souvenirs:
- Conical Hats or Non La
- Silk – you can buy silk products at Hang Gai Street also known as Silk Street
- Ao Dai, the traditional costume of Vietnam
- Lacquer paintings
- Salted or Sugared Dried fruits (O mai) in Hang Duong or Hang Da Street
- Imitation backpacks and bags
- Ceramics from pottery villages
Hanoi is truly a great place for shopping. Most souvenirs and gifts are unique, artistic and creative that you cannot find anywhere else. As bargain is an interesting aspect in Vietnamese market culture, so don’t forget to haggle and take your time choosing that unique souvenir back home.
If you visit Vietnam, definitely spare your weekends in Hanoi. Let’s stroll the walking street to experience the best of this city – its culture and people!