Tianjin: Shortcuts

 

Wondering where to go and what to do in Tianjin? Time Out has done the legwork for
you. Follow our itineraries – which have been tailored according to taste and time – and you can suss out the best of  the city in no time

 

For foodies
Foodies will fall in love with Tianjin at frst bite. It’s a culinary paradise of corner cafés, street-side stalls, world class restaurants, swanky bars and trendy bistros so no matter where you travel a satisfying meal is right around the corner. Begin by breakfasting on pastries a Kissling (p13) – a Tianjin landmark that started out as a German bakery
in the early 1900s. Today, Kissling is famous not just for its food but also for its elegant ambience – the restaurants sit in an original art deco building. For lunch, go to Goubuli: no gastronomic tour of  Tianjin is complete without a pilgrimage to this institution which is perpetually packed with people tucking into Tianjin’s most celebrated treat (p12).In the afternoon indulge in the ritual of  afternoon tea (p16) or stop for a snack at Nanshi Food
Street (p17).You’ll fnd a cornucopia of  footstalls selling every kind of  Chinese cuisine imaginable but don’t miss Tianjin’s signature snack, mahua (p17). When night falls, seek out Sou (p14) – a hot spot for spirits and stylish dining. The world cuisine here is delicious but it’s the schmoozing and stunning views from the fourty ninth foor that really adds spice to this eating experience.

For families
Tianjin is perfect for families – there’s plenty to keep kids occupied and entertained. While the weather is still balmy, why not pack a picnic and head to a park (p30), check out one of  China’s top zoos (p30) or mess about on a boat at Tianjin Waterpark (p30)? For more watery frolics, sign up for a river cruise (p9) – a fun way for kids to get to grips with Tianjin and ‘tick off’ the city’s main sights. Close to the yacht dock lies the Tianjin Eye (p9) – the only giant ferris wheel in the world to be built over a bridge. It’s no roller coaster, but the 30 minute ride provides you with a stunning view of  a city in the thrall of  development. If, however, you want to introduce your kids to the Tianjin of  old, a horse drawn carriage jaunt (p29) around Wudadao is a wonderful way to experience the beauty of  the former British concession.When the weather turns, make for the Museum of Science and Technology (p25) – little ones will love its exciting interactive exhibits – or take a spin at Isetan ice rink (p29).

 

For culture vultures
Tianjin is a cultural treasure. There’s a myriad of  museums to explore but, if  you’re time poor, don’t miss the Memorial of Zhou Enlai and Deng Yingchao (p25) – which pays tribute to the Tianjin-born former Chinese Premier –and the impressive Tianjin Museum
(p25). Shaped like a swan, the latter is the second largest building in the whole
of  China and houses an enormous collection of  150,000 artefacts. Classical sightseeing should continue at Jiefang Bei Lu (p9) – the varied and elegant architectural styles serve as a legacy of  the city’s history as a concession port in the early part of  the last century.
From the old to the new…Tianjin was a co-host of  the Olympic football events, something the sports stadium (p34) in the western Nankai district bears testimony to. The sheer size, shape (it looks like a giant flying saucer) and scale of  the venue will not only transport you back to the games of  2008 but will remind you that this is a city constantly reinventing
itself. In the evening, catch a performance at the gorgeous 650 seater Tianjin Concert Hall (p25) which reopened in 2009 following a four-year, 160 million RMB reconstruction.


For luxury lovers
When it comes to top notch accommodation, Tianjin doesn’t disappoint. Beautiful hotels abounds but for a relaxed stay with some old-world charm, Raffes (p38) is where it’s at. Checked in? Have a quick lunch at Opera Café (p13) before hitting the shops. Ambling
along Ancient Culture Street is always fun but for a more sophisticated shopping experience go to Golden Street (p22) which is chock full of  shiny stores and mega
malls competing for your kuai. Shopped till you’ve dropped? Relieve your
body’s aches and pains at a spa such as Heavenly Spa at The Westin (p26) or Raffes (p26).
Regardless of  which one you visit, you’ll leave relaxed, rebalanced and ready for the evening’s entertainment. When night falls, head to Yue Wei Xian (p14) for a taste of  tradition. Here, you can indulge in authentic favours of  China (the Cantonese culinary sensations will have you keeling over in bliss) as well as a little culture. Round off  the
evening with a nightcap at City Space (p19) – a plush place to suck on cigars,
savour a glass of  the fizzy stuff  and start planning your return…
For the cash conscious
New in town? Offoad your bags at Hanting Hotel (p36) and then start your sojourn with a stroll by the Haihe River. The waterfront was revamped during the Olympics and a walk along it not only costs nothing, but will gives an insight into the transformation Tianjin
is undergoing. When hunger pangs kick in, make for Nanshi Food Street (p17) where you can get stuck into truck loads of  cheap and tasty Chinese dishes. Stamina restored, wander around the Wudadao area (p10) which was home to warlords, bankers and concubines
in the chaotic pre-communist era. The plaques that appear on the side of  the buildings provide further (free) information on this fascinating period. Round off  your afternoon with a spot of  shopping at Ancient Culture Street or the Antique Market (p22) where prices are typically a fraction of  what they are in Beijing. In the evening gorge on Goubuli (p12, you can’t travel to Tianjin and not eat goubuli) before knocking back a few beers with the expatriate crowd over at the always affordable Alibaba (p18).