When we visited Xiaohe street around a year ago on our Water Bus trip to Gongchen Bridge, we found it interesting but a little depressing as well – dirty with stagnant, putrid water and garbage everywhere. Now the city has thrown some money at it in order to draw more tourists. Sure, they had to relocate the residents while they were doing the work, but they should be pleased with the end result. There's now a nice mixture of freshly painted two-story houses and shops making and selling wine, cotton and preserved food. All of these are positioned on a cleaned-up branch of the Grand Canal. On holidays, you can even see some folk artists cutting paper, painting egg shells, knitting and doing calligraphy. Hefang street is no longer the only place to catch some folk art. Xiaohe street is charming, at least for the time being, so before it becomes just like it's southern sister, better go there and check it out.
Take the water boat from the Wulin stop (across from Hangzhou Tower) and get off at the Gongchen stop.
Busses: 38, 1 (Changzheng Bridge stop)
Xiaohe street is opposite the Quangxing Community (广兴)
Busses: 38, 1