Crossign Spectacular Bridges
Tianjin has been a major river port where several rivers meet here in a confluence and flow into "Haihe" river. "Haihe" means to "Ocean River" as Tianjin is located 50km from the sea.
What is fascinating is not only the number of bridges of over 20 in the downtown area but the unique designs each bridge - both traditional and modern.
Several of them have pedestrian walkways and you can get to the middle of the river to take your photographs and see the views of both sides of the river. The main train station is on the opposite side than downtown Tianjin.
Visit the original "Gou Bu Li" Restaurant
This is the original branch "ben hang" of Tianjin famous "Gou Bu Li" dumpling.
Every local Chinese tourist will make it a point to visit this restaurant which is easy reach from the main pedestrian shop street. In there you will be see photographs of previous visits of famous Chinese political leaders.
While there is not much to do except to order the famous dumplings and said that you have been there. Or just take your photo outside this "establishment".
Nowadays, you can find Gou Bu Li (GBL) restaurants all over Tianjin, Beijing, China as well as a popular dish in Chinese restaurants worldwide. And tis is where it started.
Famous Catholic Church - Xi Kai Church
It is a beautiful church built by French Jesuit missionary in the 190s.
Located at the end of pedestrian mall street, you can see it from a distance. There is a wonderful fountain in front of the church but across the road.
There are 4 Chinese characters welcoming everyone to "ome in for a look"
It still an active church and worth going in for a look. One of the legacies of Western Allied forces occupying in China at the beginning of the 20th century until World War 2.
"He Ping" Pedestrian Shopping Street
"He Ping" which means "Peace and Harmony" is another major pedestrian shopping street, as long though narrow in width than Binjiang Pedestrian Shopping Street.
It is also a great way to get from one end of Tianjin downtown to the other end by strolling along this motor free road. Of course, you can choose to sit on one of the electric trams that ply on these pedestrian streets.
You cannot really have been to Tianjin unless you drop by here for a look. There is a post office near the junction of He Ping and Bin Jiang Streets.
The French Quarters - Commercial Streets
Tianjin prewar was divided into different zones for the British, French, Italian, Russian, Japanese, American, etc.
I spent most of my time exploring the French quarters as it was largest, most preserved and easiest to find. The restored area looked like a Hollywood film set.
The main buildings in the commercial sector are now occupied by banks. Do enter into the bank and appreciate the interior with high ceilings and stained glass windows. The security guards are on the lookout and so I did not bother to try to take the photos inside.
Bin Jiang Pedestrian Shopping Street
This is a great place to start your tour of Tianjin. It is a major pedestrian shopping street together Heping street.
There are major deparment stalls especially at its corner with Nanjing Lu where many bus lines ply.
It is easy access to Xikai Church and Gou Bu Li original restaurant. You see local Tianjingers as well Chinese tourists shopping or finding a place to have lunch or a quick snack. There is no shade and so can be hot. So cool off by going into the airconditioned shops now and then.
"House Built Of Potteries"
This eye-catching building in downtown Tianjin will surely turn heads.
It is built on large potteries. It evokes the same brazen appeal like the famous Gaudi buildings of Barcelona.
There is a small admission to see the inside which is like a museum and souvenir shop for all kinds of potteries. Or just take a photo closeup through the "pot".
Hai He Riverside Walk
On both sides of the rivers, there are pleasant pedestrian walks and to cycle on if you have rented a bicycle.
In the late afternoon, it is cooler and some sections are shaded with trees while others are better to go when the sun is out.
There are not many shops yet along the pedestrian walks and hopefully they will flourish as tourism increases in this under-rated tourist destination. I am not quite sure how safe it is at night but follow the local crowd and stay in the well lit areas.
Once on a sunday morning I took a hike,walk along the river.Very soon I ran into a beautiful,lovely little park with sculptures of different classic composers.On sunday you can watch a lot of people(mainly with bikes)meeting there.I was amazed to find the sculpture of Franz Liszt!!!It is a lovely,peaceful,small park next to the river.There is no adress for this park on a map.
Follow the river from the railwaystation to the entrance,crossover to the Golden street.Instead of crossing the bridge continue walking right side from the river -direction Ancient Culture street.Very soon you see the small park with all the sculptures.Beethoven,Mozart....even Haydn and Liszt!!Lovely!!!!Enjoyed it a lot!Very peaceful and relaxed atmosphere there on weekend.And Strauss!!!!!I love this music!!!!Felt very,very homesick there.....
Tianjin TV Tower
Known as "Tian Ta", Tianjing TV Tower is one of the tallest in Asia at over 400m depending which height you measure.
There is a view platform at the top but I did not have time to go up there.
The tower is located at a small lake garden and across the street is the larger Tianjin waterpark garden.
So it is great to just being able to see the Tower close up and take a photo.
French Quarters - Garden Circle & Residential
Away from the business district of the French Area, is the more green and charming residential area including a garden circled by large mansions.
Here you can imagine how the French and Western foreigners will take their family to the park or on their horse carriages to church.
Not all builidings are restored yet or turned into restaurants. You can see fairly delapidated homes that have signs showing the historic and architecture significance.
Nanshi Food Street
Located near the Gu Lou (Drum Tower) area, the Nanshi Food Street is actually a popular eating place.
It is large two storey building with many restaurants inside lining up like a junction of streets of all 4 directions.
The restauarants are mainly seafood restaurants and specializing in Tianjin famous cuisines. More for sit down dining for small and larger groups. Everything is brightly light at night.
Gu Wen Da Jie - Ancient Culture Street
Along the river side, Ancient Culture Street is group of street with shops that Chinese culture and arts and craft.
You can find the famous Tianjin Zhang's clay figurines on sale. There are also small performances here and there to attract local Chinese tourists.
There is also a famous Chinese temple "Tian Hou Guan" within the vicinity.
Make sure you go early as this place closed in the late afternoon. It is not like Beijing Wangfujing that is open until late at night.
Zhou En Lai Memorial
This memorial is dedicated to Zhou En Lai, one of China's famous and well admired and loved sons. Premier Zhou En Lai is known as a skilled diplomat and pragmatic statesman. Although often in the shadows of Chairman Mao Ze Dong, Premier Zhou had been reputed to played many key roles in founding of Modern China and subsequent political, social and economic development. At least, Zhou is one of my favorites.
Zhou En Lai studied in the Tianjin Middle School, then in universities in Japan and later in the Nankai University of Tianjin. Hence, it is no surprise that his memorial is located here.
By contrast, Chairman Mao has a masoleum in the middle of Tiananmen Square in downtown Beijing.
This memorial located near the Tianjin Tower at a lakeside park. There is a bus that comes in this direction and a 500m walk. Do come early as the memorial closes early around 3-4pm.
Gu Lou (Drum Tower)
The Gu Lou (Drum Tower) is located in the north south axis of downtown Tianjin. It is now surrounded by a major road that goes around it.
Within the vicinity of Gu Lou are many souvenir shops and eating places. Much of old imperial Tianjin has been torn down and this is an important site of the past.
Although not as impressive as Beijing, it stands out high looking down southwards to Nan Men Wai Da Jie road.