The Sichahai area which includes Houhai is an amazing amalgamation of historic attractions, modern pubs, old hutongs and restaurants. You may want to visit Gong Wang Fu in the afternoon before making your way to the area (just a short walk from Gong Wang Fu!) in the evening to enjoy the night lights and the diversity of pubs. I did not take the rickshaw ride as I was traveling alone and did not manage to negotiate to a price that I wanted and instead went exploring on foot which is definitely manageable. There is a public park along the waterfront away from the pubs area where you can watch or even ask to join the locals as they play table tennis, workout, or kick hopscotch, it is very nice to just slow down, have a seat and unwind from the stress of life on this beautiful waterfront among the elm trees and just watch life unfolds. Unfortunately, a famous food street called Jiu Men Xiao Chi has already closed down though you can still see signs pointing to the street and the signboard for it. After exploring Houhai, you can make your way to the nearby Nanluoguxiang which is just a short walk away.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.