A global city in the truest sent, Tianjin is many cityscapes rolled into one. It's history as an important port city and under colonial rule saw the emergence of several European style buildings, that today make for an eclectic mix standing next to the largely urban skyline. The Five Great Avenues are one of most visited venues in this part of the world, but Tianjin's appeal goes beyond just the uniqueness of its cityscape. Vast shopping and gourmet districts dominate the downtown parts of the city, and you are bound to bump into an intriguing art gallery or museum at every corner.
In a city spread over a rather large area, the extensive road network and the Tianjin Metro has made travel hassle free. And with every district and subdistrict having its own distinctive vibe, picking the right neighborhood for your stay suddenly becomes a significant decision. But we are here to help. Here, we have listed some of the top neighborhoods of Tianjin and what they might have in store for you.
A central inland district, Heping is ideally located and one of the easiest to access of all neighbourhoods in Tianjin. And it is by far one of the most important parts of town, with a never-ending list of cultural marvels in its vicinity. For starters, the iconic Five Great Avenues are a major draw of the neighborhood. Running parallel to each other, these thoroughfares are lined with majestic buildings all constructed in varying styles of architecture ranging from Gothic to Renaissance to Carson. A walking tour of these wide, largely pedestrian, avenues is an experience in its own right as you are unlikely to find such an eclectic mix of cityscape anywhere else in the world.
The cultural affluence continues with the neighborhood's many museums, all of which have a distinct appeal. The famous Tianjin Art Museum, the stunning China Financial Museum (housed in a gigantic French townhouse) and Porcelain House and at the very heart of all the activities, the Tianjin Old Town Museum are some of the top attractions that are not to be missed. But that's not to say that the neighborhood lacks the more modern means of entertainment. The Binjiang and Nanjing roads are known for their vast shopping districts; visit for the best shopping complexes and gigantic malls. Also, the Nanshi Food Street serves some top notch snacks and pastry items, all inspired by local cuisine. But the options don't end there as you can always drop by the Italian Style Street for a more wholesale European meal. The cuisine, much like the cityscape, is truly eclectic.
Heping is easy to access through almost all modes of public transport. Stations on Line 1 of the Tianjin metro give direct access to the Five Great Avenues and you can find your way around the neighborhood from there on out. Hotels should be easy to find in this part of the city.
Just north of Heping is the business district of Hongqiao, home to one of the city's most popular landmarks, the Tianjin Eye. At 120 metres, the Tianjin Eye is the world's second biggest Ferris wheel and the only to have been built on a bridge! The structure stands tall atop the Hai River, that meanders through large parts of the city. The banks of the river are lined with skyscrapers housing business offices and entertainment centres. A walk along the waterfront right up to the ferris wheel around the evening time will give you a chance to catch a nice view of the brightly lit facade of the wheel and the sun setting on the city's skyline. And yet, none of that can quite match up to the sweeping view of the Tianjin from the top of the Ferris wheel. It is one of the things that you cannot miss out on during your visit.
The waterfront offers exciting prospects in this part of the as several restaurants have cropped up on the banks of Hai river. Not only do they serve some of the best Tianjin cuisine, but also have some of the best settings. The Erduoyam Restaurant and the Yixiang Chun Bamboo Seafood are among the top options in the area. Visit the Guyi street in the Hutong sub-district for more budget friendly, but equally enticing options. The vast neighborhood has many green spaces that offer a nice change of scenery in the mostly urban setting; the parks close to the river are the really great spots for afternoon picnics and evening strolls.
Line 1 of the Tianjin Metro runs through most parts of Hongqiao, making it fairly easy to access. The neighborhood is so serviceable by Line 3 of the metro network. Hotels can be on the pricier side, but finding a budget accommodation should not be as difficult owing to the sheer number of options available here.
A former centre of the region under the Ming dynasty, Nankai has transformed into the student hub of the present-day Tianjin. The presence of top varsities in the neighborhood have had a bearing on the development of the entertainment options and one can find many causal cafes and restaurants in almost all parts of Nankai, most of which are thronged by the Gen Z crowds almost throughout the day. The neighborhood also has a number of bars and nightclubs that cater to the pretty much the same crowd. South Asian and Indian restaurants are also in plenty in this part of the town lending it an eclectic appeal.
The Olympic village has been transformed into an entertainment centre, with many options including a cinema hall, a variety of restaurants and stores housing top retail brands. Add the area around the West Lake and the nearby Water Park and you have yourself an endless list of venues that are simply perfect for the people looking forward to a laid back day, away from your regular sightseeing and the city's busy avenues. However, If you want to experience the yesteryear glory of the city, the Ancient Cultural Street is the place for you. Lined with handicraft stores and restaurants, interspersed with palace and temple complexes that resemble similar structures from antiquity, the street is a great place to discover the rich heritage of the city. Keep an eye out for your pick of souvenirs, as many craftsmen come out with the finest ceramics and embroidery in these very shops.
Lines 1, 2, and 3 of the Tianjin Metro have stations in the vicinity of Nankia, making travel hassle free. There are a wider variety of options available in terms of staying options than most other parts of the city.
Another one of the central districts that has begun to attract crowds in recent times is Hexi. A largely residential area, it has become known as a haven of real estate and new and innovative businesses that have opened up here following significant gentrification. It has then become a great place to stay for families looking for a quieter part of the city to stay in. The area, much like most central districts of Tianjin, offers a serene riverfront. To add to the appeal, Hexi's riverfront is lined with many green spaces, all of which make for the perfect setting for an evening stroll or a nice family picnic. The parks around the Chentangzhuang station even have a couple of nice eating joints with a nice variety of snacks and Chinese takeout.
Hexis is also home to one of the most recognisable landmarks of Tianjin, the Radio and Television Tower. One of the tallest structures of China, it stands out for its distinctive setting in the middle of a small lake. Climb up to the observation deck for unparalleled views of Tianjin's cityscape, which is especially stunning during the evening and nighttime. Not far off from the lake is the Tianjin Art Museum, a gallery with modern exhibits that are not to be missed. The area also has a variety of restaurants and cafes, so make a quick stopover amidst all the sightseeing. Head over to the Capital Mall, a huge shopping complex, housing international brands and top eateries including a KFC and Starbucks.
The neighborhood is serviceable by the Tianjin Metro, with multiple stations on Line 1 and Wujiayao station on Line 3. Hotels and homestays are in plenty; find one close to the river for a chance to catch the beautiful waterfront from your window.
If you want to remain in the mix of things, while having equal and easy access to all parts of the city, Hedong is the neighborhood for you. The locality is home to one of the major transportation hubs of Tianjin, the eponymous railway station. Busy as it is, the area has become a centre of many shopping complexes that offer quick stop-overs for buying local merchandise or a quick meal between transit. For a more peaceful outing, head over to the Hedong Park, which really is the centre of all activities in the neighborhood. The adjacent public square is where you can find any sort of meal, beginning with the classic hotpots to McDonald's burger and fries combo.
Do not, however, mistake the lack of flashy monuments of top sights in Hedong for a complete lack of culture. The music scene in this busy neighborhood is greatly revered; the presence of the Tianjin Conservatory of Music has really provided the neighborhood with a reputation of churning out musicians, the likes of which included the pipa player Jie Ma and music composer Shi Guangnan. If you're lucky, your visit might just coincide with one of the performance nights at this fancy music school. But you can always tour the adjacent music street, rummaging through endless piles of audio cassettes from all genres of music, books of local and international music, and beautiful and unique musical instruments.
As a central business district and transportation hub, Hedong is one of the top choices of hotel owners and finding a decent place to stay is rather straightforward for all budget ranges.
That's our complete list of neighborhoods then, traveller. Take your pick and start packing for your trip to this multifaceted holiday destination!