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Hanoi walking street: List 10+ things to do [MUST-TRY]

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Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is renowned for its unique blend of modernity and antiquity. Within this vibrant city lies a precious gem known as Hanoi Walking Street, a place where the spirit of the Vietnamese people and the beauty of their rich cultural traditions come to life. If you’re wondering what to do in Hanoi Walking Street, you’re in the right place. This article unveils the top 11 exciting experiences on Hanoi walking street, offering a glimpse into the heart and soul of Hanoi.

What is the name of the walking street in Hanoi?

Hanoi Walking Street, also referred to as Hồ Gươm Walking Street, serves as a cultural epicenter steeped in Vietnam’s history and heritage. It gracefully encircles Hoan Kiem Lake, an iconic and revered symbol of the city. With over 16 distinct streets such as Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Khay, Le Thai To, and many others, it provides a communal space where all strata of society and tourists alike can immerse themselves in a space that is both reverential and jubilant.

Bustling image of Hanoi walking street
Bustling image of Hanoi walking street

What time is the Hanoi walking street?

Established in September 2016, Hanoi Walking Street was conceived with the aim of creating an entertainment space while hosting events, sports, and cultural activities to cater to both locals and visitors. Operating exclusively during the weekends, from 19:00 every Friday to 24:00 every Sunday, it has become an integral part of the local fabric, yet there remains much to discover for many travelers.

Hanoi Walking Street is a place where you can wander at any time, offering an exploration of Vietnam’s endless world of culture, history, and cuisine. It embodies a remarkable fusion of modernity and tradition, making it a unique and unforgettable experience for anyone who steps foot within its boundaries.

Top 11 Exciting Things to Do at Hanoi Walking Street

1. Walking on the Street

True to its name, Hanoi Walking Street is the perfect place for leisurely strolls along spacious, tree-lined avenues by the lakeside. This leisurely ambience is precisely what this walking street aims to offer. The cool, car-free environment, free from the hustle and bustle of traffic, makes it an ideal place for families and individuals to enjoy a peaceful outing.

Children revel in the wide, safe streets for play, running, and jumping. If possible, take a leisurely stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake to partake in various activities and enjoy dazzling performances by talented artists. After a hectic week of household chores and office work, you can relax and take a leisurely walk here to admire the surroundings, the scenery, and breathe in the fresh air in a smoke-free, pollution-restricted environment. This is also an ideal place for couples to date and confide in one another.

Performance by a violinist on Hanoi's walking street
Performance by a violinist on Hanoi’s walking street

2. Trying some Portrait Painting 

The next thing to do in Hanoi Walking Street is to try portrait painting. It is not difficult to find painting booths set up by talented portrait artists near Hoan Kiem Lake. There are around two or three people sitting in each booth. With only around 20 – 30 minutes, artists finish masterpieces of incredibly realistic and vivid portraits with skillful lines. Besides, it is a great chance to hear funny stories and interesting sharing from artists.

Trying some Portrait Painting 
Trying some Portrait Painting

3. Enjoy Traditional Folk Games

Hanoi Walking Street doesn’t just captivate visitors with modern technology; it also takes you back to traditional Vietnamese culture through a variety of folk games. As you stroll along, you’ll encounter groups of people joyfully engaging in activities like tug-of-war, ô ăn quan (a traditional board game), and đá cầu (a Vietnamese sport similar to badminton).

These traditional games not only provide moments of fun but also foster a sense of connection and camaraderie among participants. They transport you back to carefree childhood days, helping you temporarily forget the worries of everyday life.

Many tourists are interested in Vietnamese folk games
Many tourists are interested in Vietnamese folk games

4. Join Street Dancing 

Dance the night away as you sway to the rhythm of live music performed by street groups with saxophones, flutes, violins, and more. Different music styles and genres, from Latin American beats to soulful folk tunes and energetic pop music, fill the air. You can even partake in thrilling street dances, showcasing your moves alongside talented local artists. It’s an enthralling experience for music lovers and dancing enthusiasts alike.

Join Street Dancing 
Join Street Dancing

5. Savor Street Food 

On the bustling streets of Hanoi, you won’t believe how “hot” Hanoi Walking Street, known as the snack paradise, is driving the young crowd crazy. No matter how harsh the weather is on Hoan Kiem Lake, the pedestrian street is always bustling with people, and street-side eateries never run out of customers.

In addition to the entertaining activities, street food is an essential experience. You can try dishes like grilled bananas with sticky rice, rice paper, dried beef salad, grilled skewers, hot Bong cakes, fresh fruit, church iced tea, and more. Especially, coming to the pedestrian street without trying Trang Tien or Thuy Ta ice cream is a missed opportunity. It’s a must-try when you’re at Hoan Kiem Lake.

Trang Tien ice cream shop is a must-try on Hanoi walking street
Trang Tien ice cream shop is a must-try on Hanoi walking street

Here are some recommended destinations for your consideration:

  • Trang Tien Ice Cream – 259 Xa Dan Street, Nam Dong, Dong Da, Hanoi
  • Grilled meat skewers – 40 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
  • 4 Seasons Tea – 4 Hang Can, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
  • Grilled sticky banana – 1 Hang Duong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Mixed rice paper – 86 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

6. Experience Calligraphy Writing 

As you wander through the walking street, you’ll encounter artisans in traditional Vietnamese áo dài attire who offer calligraphy writing services. Each artist meticulously crafts meaningful characters. In Vietnam, it’s a tradition to seek calligraphy at the beginning of the year for good luck and prosperity.

You can participate in this cultural experience, either by purchasing beautifully written characters or by trying your hand at calligraphy guided by these skilled artisans. You’ll also gain insights into the longstanding art of calligraphy in Vietnam.

Visitors enjoy the experience of calligraphy
Visitors enjoy the experience of calligraphy

7. Explore Historical Landmarks

As the capital city, Hanoi is rich in historical treasures, and Hanoi Walking Street provides an opportunity to discover vivid glimpses of the past and the unique cultural heritage of the city.

Some notable landmarks include the Hoa Phong Tower and The Huc Bridge, steeped in legend, and the Ngoc Son Temple and Ba Kieu Temple, both immersed in Vietnamese folklore. Don’t forget to unveil the secrets of the past at the National Museum of Vietnamese History and immerse yourself in diverse cultural performances at the Hanoi Opera House.

8. Shop at the Night Market

Hanoi Walking Street is not just famous for the above interesting activities but also for the shopping area. Shopping at the night market and around the Old Quarter is a must-do activity in Hanoi Walking Street. 

Hanoi night market opens from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, offering a wide array of items including fabric, clothing, street food, souvenirs, accessories, and more. It’s a favorite destination for shopaholics and tourists looking for unique gifts for family and friends back home.

Night Market
Night Market

9. Try Traditional Crafts – Tò He

Hanoi Walking Street features various stalls offering traditional crafts, such as Tò He sculpting. Tò He is a traditional Vietnamese art form where colorful, edible figurines are crafted from glutinous rice dough. These skilled artisans create eye-catching sculptures, often depicting animals, characters from folklore, and popular cartoon figures.

Children are especially drawn to this area, as they get to witness and even try their hand at crafting Tò He figurines. It’s a delightful and interactive experience that allows you to immerse yourself in Vietnamese folk culture.

Making To He is one of the fun and enjoyable activities for many people
Making To He is one of the fun and enjoyable activities for many people

10. Experience Puppetry

Discover the enchanting world of Vietnamese water puppetry along Hanoi Walking Street. This traditional art form combines music, storytelling, and puppetry in a water-filled stage. The puppets appear to glide on the water, creating captivating performances that depict historical tales and legends.

You can catch live water puppetry shows in the evening, offering a unique cultural experience that both children and adults can enjoy. It’s a perfect way to conclude your visit to Hanoi Walking Street, immersing yourself in the rich heritage of Vietnamese performing arts.

Note that this puppet show only takes place during Hanoi’s festival season and is not always available

11. Explore the Street Book Market at Dinh Le 

If you enjoy reading and want to discover Vietnamese books, visiting the street book market at Dinh Le is a fantastic idea when you’re on Hanoi Walking Street. This special market is like a paradise for book lovers and those curious about Vietnamese literature.

As you walk through the market, you’ll see rows of stalls filled with all kinds of books. There are historical novels, modern stories, travel guides, and even poetry collections. Whether you’re searching for an exciting Vietnamese novel or a beautiful coffee table book, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest.

The atmosphere here is calm and inviting, making it the perfect place to browse, uncover hidden literary treasures, and maybe chat with the friendly local book vendors. It’s a delightful experience that lets you dive into the world of Vietnamese literature and culture. Some recommended book’s store are: Mao’s Bookstore, Chào,…

Interior of Mao’s Bookstore.
Interior of Mao’s Bookstore.

How to get to the Hanoi walking street?

The Hanoi walking street is located in the Old Quarter, which is about 2 km from the Hoan Kiem Lake, the iconic landmark of Hanoi. You can easily get there by taxi, bus, motorbike or bicycle. If you take a taxi, make sure to ask the driver to drop you off at one of the entrances of the walking street, such as Dong Xuan Market or Cau Go Street. If you take a bus, you can get off at one of these stops:

– Long Bien Station: Bus number 09, 14, 36
– Bo Ho Station: Bus number 02, 09, 14, 22, 23
– Dong Xuan Station: Bus number 02, 09, 14

If you ride a motorbike or bicycle, you can park at one of these places:

– Dong Xuan Market: VND 5,000 per motorbike; VND 2,000 per bicycle
– Hang Da Market: VND 10,000 per motorbike; VND 5,000 per bicycle
– Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre: VND 10,000 per motorbike; VND 5,000 per bicycle

Hanoi Walking Street is a versatile place with something for everyone. Whether you prefer leisurely walks, cultural activities, delicious food, or exploring literature, this pedestrian paradise showcases the vibrant essence of Hanoi’s culture. Whether you’re a history buff, a food enthusiast, an art admirer, or just seeking a tranquil lakeside stroll, Hanoi Walking Street has a special experience waiting for you. Don’t forget to include these activities in your plans when you visit this charming street in the heart of Hanoi.

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