Xidan is a major commercial area in Beijing, 15 minutes walking far to the west of the Tiananmen Square.
Xidan began to develop in the Ming Dynasty, it was an area alongside the passage for traders from Southwestern China to enter Beijing, so many restaurants and shops were built for these merchants. Then it became a commercial area, many banks and shopping malls moved to here.
At the Xidan Cultural Square, there is a paifang (or pailou, an elaborate structure with posts and gates, with superstructural gable on top; the highest rank was five gate-six post-eleven gable pailou) with two Chinese characters "西单"(Xidan). But, the Xidan Cultural Square is a morden squre, its under ground market 'the 77th Street' gathers varies cloth shops, shoes shops, beauty salon, restuarants, even icerink, it is very popular for young people.
Around the Xidan Cultural Square, there are Beijing Books Building- the biggest book store in China; Civil Aviation Bldg, Grand Pacific Shopping Mall, Zhongyou Shopping Mall, Xidan Shopping Center.
Xidan subway station is the transfer station of line 1 and line 4, you may get to the Summer Palace and Yuanmingyuan by subway line 4.