(Video) Taking a One-day Walk Around Tianjin!

Join Cultural Keys’ and our host AJ Donnelly in our latest video, introducing you to the fascinating city of Tianjin through a one-day walking tour at Chinese New Year!  You can watch our video or follow the written route (below) for yourself!

Tianjin is a fascinating and underrated city in northern China about half an hour by bullet train from Beijing. It boasts traditional Chinese culture and Western architecture galore – and this tour doesn’t even take in half of what the city has to offer! 

The Hai River

This route takes in a small part of the former foreign concession area (French, Italian and what’s left of the Austro-Hungarian concession) before heading to a market for nianhuo (new year goods) and Ancient Culture Street, where you can shop for traditional items, try delicious snacks, and see traditional arts and crafts in action. We finish up with a quick look at some New Year lantern/light displays!

Decorations on Ancient Culture Street

Take a look at the video below (don’t forget you’ll need your VPN on if you’re  currently on the Chinese mainland!). Don’t have a VPN? Then take a look at the full video on our Official Channel on WeChat! Just search for CulturalKeys!

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We filmed this video in January 2024, just before the Year of the Dragon began, but in fact this walk is great at any time of year!

Below is the full route if you’re interested in walking it for yourself.

  • Exit out of Tianjin Train Station 天津站 onto the south square 南广场. From the square, bear right and cross Jiefang Bridge 解放桥 and walk south along Jiefang North Road 解放北路 into the former French Concession 法租界 .
  • From Jiefang North Road turn onto Chifeng Road 赤峰道, and walk until you see the red-brick former French barracks.
  • Head back onto Jiefang North Road for one block and turn onto Chengde Road 承德道, which will take you to Central Park 中心公园.  From the park take Liaoning Road 辽宁路 onto Chifeng Road where you’ll see the Porcelain House to your left.
  • Head to the right of the Porcelain House 瓷房子 and take Liaoning Road to Huazhong Road 华中路 where you turn right onto Heping Road 和平路.
  • Take the alleyway next to Starbucks and go straight ahead until you come to a large crossing with Dagu Bridge 大沽桥 up ahead. At the end of the bridge, turn left onto Bo‘ai Road 博爱道 and cross the road at the first traffic lights. Ahead you’ll see Dante Plaza, which is one of the two main squares of the former Italian Concession 意式风情区.
  • From Dante Plaza, head left and walk through to Marco Polo Square, then turn right. This brings you to Minzu Road 民族路 where you’ll find the former residence of Liang Qi-chao and the Italian barracks. Take the alley across from the barracks to see a Mao-era slogan.
  • From the slogan, make a U-turn around the corner to take you back to the pedestrianized area of the former concession.
  • From Marco Polo Square, turn onto Minzu Road and cross the two roads up ahead to take you back to the river.
  • Walk along the river to your right until you get to the foot bridge with the glass steps. Cross the bridge and you’ll see Ancient Culture Street 古文化街 on your right. The decorations market is just beyond the south entrance to the street.
  • Tian Hou Gong 天后宫 (the temple to Mazu) is halfway along Ancient Culture Street and Yu Huang Pavilion 玉皇阁 is at the north end on the right side.
  • From the south gate of Ancient Culture Street, walk right (assuming you are exiting Ancient Culture Street) and walk along the avenue of trees to the main road 东马路; then turn left and walk in a straight line all the way back down Heping Road to the coin.
  • Turn left onto Binjiang Avenue 滨江道 and follow that to Jiefang North Road. Turn left to cross the bridge back to the train station where you started! 
The colour changes where the route crosses itself for clarity
Dragon lantern

Tianjin is very easy to get to from Beijing. Bullet trains run several times an hour from Beijing South Station. The journey takes 30 minutes and costs just 54.5RMB.

Please note that times, locations and prices are subject to change, and anyone planning travel should always confirm details in advance to avoid inconvenience.

Have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment here or on YouTube!

Have you been to Tianjin at Spring Festival? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear your thoughts and insights!

Photo Credits
– Cultural Keys

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