I was unsure whether I should address this tip unter "Tourist trap" or a "shopping tip". The Ancient Culture Street, which is actually built in 1995 according to my local sources.
The place is built in old Chinese building style from Qing dynasty. The place reminded me of YuYuan Garden area in Shanghai but this place is not so big and not so stylish. Ant the name "Ancient Culture Street" actually raised my expectations and maybe therefore I was disappointed to see what it actually was.
The shops are decorated with watercolour paintings and carved bricks. There are plenty of traditional Chinese items on sale here such as calligraphy brushes, handicrafts, kites and arts.
The Ancient Culture Street is situated in the northeastern quarter of Tianjin, beside the Hai river. The Ancient Culture Street in Chinese is Gu(3) WénHuà Jie(1).
Unique Suggestions: Do take a look at the items sold in here. One never knows you might find something interesting from there and do some good shopping.
We drove 45 minutes from downtown Tianjin to check this out since it was featured in the Tourist Map/brochure which is widely distributed; it turned out to be a complex of empty buildings sparsely populated with tacky shops and was mostly empty retail spaces waiting for tenants. Definitely not worth a visit for the distance and the lack of other attractions around the retail space.
Fun Alternatives: The Ancient Culture Street in downtown Tianjin is a well populated retail development set in traditional architecture. It is much more convenient to get to and well patronised by locals.
In Asia today, many countries introduce new subway system. All of them are very clean and comfortable. I don't understand why the city of Tianjin is not interested in it.