After the regulatory Tibet tour that contains, constricts, and controls with constant checkpoints, one needs to freely walk.
Tucked behind a famous teahouse or off the main street, sit various studios and steps--yes open air concrete seating where talented artisans keep Tibetan culture alive. From spinning wool to thread, weaving yarn into monk clothing, banging copper into Buddhas, all the while, the quiet painters complete wall-sized thangkas. The atmosphere is authentically awesome!
Dropenling, doubles as a craft store that preserves and develops projects to keep artisans at work. They offer a 90+ minute, 150 RMB (per tour, not person) walking tour that reveals the stitchings and seams of a true Tibet.