9 must-visit places in Tianjin

An aerial photo of the Florentia Village outlets on April 28, 2017.
PHOTO: China Daily/Asia News Network

As one of China's four municipalities directly under the Central Government, Tianjin is the largest port city in Northern China.

Tianjin has historically been an important port and doorway to Beijing, being 120 kilometers away from the capital.

By boarding on a bullet train at the Beijing Southern Railway Station, it now only takes around 40 minutes to get there.

The blend of Chinese and Western cultures also forms Tianjin's distinctive tourism resources.

Listed as one of the first groups of outstanding tourist cities in China, Tianjin never loses its appeal to visitors- from mountains, rivers, lakes and the sea to springs, wetlands and local delicacies.

Here are nine of the top places to visit in the city.

1. Haihe River

A night view of the Haihe River at the Tianjin Eye (center).Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

As the mother river and symbol of Tianjin, the Haihe River, 72 kilometers long, runs through the city and out to the Bohai Sea.

A total of 21 bridges stand over the Haihe River and each constitutes scenic attraction, forming a distinctive bridge culture throughout the region.

Rising over the spectacular Yongle Bridge is the Tianjin Eye, an iconic ferris wheel which lights up the city every night.

Experiencing local culture:

People tour around the Five Big Avenues in Tianjin on April 24, 2017. Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

2. Five Big Avenues: A hub of international architecture

Wudadao, known as the Five Big Avenues, is an international architecture exposition in Tianjin, with about 2,000 villas in various Western styles, built in the 1920s and 1930s.

More than 300 late residences of historical figures are located in the area, including former Olympic champion Li Airui, late president of the United States Herbert Clark Hoover, and former US Secretary of State George Marshall.

For history lovers, dropping in a visit to the Historical Museum of the Five Avenues helps to get an overall understanding of the history of the area, and also a closer look at about 1,000 items used by the prominent residents who lived in the buildings.

If you go:

  • 64 Chongqing Road, Heping district. 022-23307222
  • Ticket: 30 yuan (S$6.15)
A panorama photo of the Taida Aircraft Carrier Theme Park.Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

3. The Taida Aircraft Carrier Theme Park

As a national 4A level tourist attraction, the Taida Aircraft Carrier Theme Park is a large military amusement park located in the Binhai New Area.

The area integrates marine military culture and Russian culture, with Kiev, the retired aircraft carrier from the Russian navy, being the park's biggest drawcard.

Over the past ten years, the tourist attraction has seen an increasing number of visitors.

During the three-day Qingming Festival in April 2017, more than 40,000 people visited the park, a 20 per cent increase compared to the same time last year, which also set a new record in history.

If you go:

  • 269 Hanbei Road, Tianjin Binhai New Area. 022-67288899
  • Ticket: 220 yuan
People watch a cross talk show at the Celebrities Tea House in Tianjin, April 25, 2017.Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

4. Cross talk tea houses

For Tianjin locals, sitting in a tea house enjoying cross talk shows while eating sunflower seeds and sipping tea is a common form of entertainment at night.

The Mingliu Tea House, also known as the Celebrities Tea House, is one of such a kind, covering cross talk performances every day.

The entertainment hub was first built in 1991, and was schemed and designed by the wife of a Chinese literary giant, Lao She.

The plaque of the teahouse was also personally inscribed by Ma Sanli, a famous Chinese crosstalk artist.

If you go:

  • Xinhua Road branch: 177 Xinhua Road, Heping district. 022-27116382
  • Ancient Cultural Street branch: 2F, Main Street of the Ancient Culture Street, Nankai district.022-27286420
  • Duolun Road branch: 1F, Tongfang Garden, Duolun Road, Heping district. 022-27301458
  • Ticket: 80 yuan
A snapshot of the pictures on display at the Yangliuqing New Year Painting Museum, on April 28, 2017. Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

5. The Yangliuqing New Year Painting Museum

The Yangliuqing New Year Painting Museum showcases traditional Chinese New Year paintings as well as its history and masterpiece artworks, and demonstrates procedures to create the traditional way of painting.

The famous folk wood carving painting first began in the old town of Yangliuqing during the mid-Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when locals portrayed their hopes for a better life with knives and paint brushes, using wood plates as canvases.

A typical Yangliuqing New Year painting portrays a chubby child holding a big fish, wishing for an affluent New Year.

The paintings are usually hung on walls and doors to seek blessings during the lunar New Year.

Huo Qingshun, an inheritor of the Yangliuqing New Year painting, teaches a visitor to use an ink mold to create a sketch of the traditional painting, April 28, 2017.Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

If you go:

  • West of Shijiadayuan Courtyard, Guyi Street, Yangliuqing town. 022-2794 5662
  • Ticket: 10 yuan

Viewing natural sceneries:

Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

6. The Huangyaguan Great Wall

The Huangyaguan Great Wall, 42 kilometers long, is a World Cultural Heritage and a national 4A level scenic spot.

The wall was first built in the Beiqi Dynasty (550-577), and rebuilt and expanded in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

If you go:

  • 8 am-5:30 pm, Huangyaguan, Xiaying town, Jixian county. 022- 22718106
  • Ticket: 50 yuan

7. The Panshan Mountain

The Panshan Mountain, a national 5A-level scenic spot, was once listed among the top 15 tourist attractions in China. Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) visited the location more than 30 times, which has made it a must-see destination for both hikers and history lovers.

With the development of technology, the resort now also offers aerial trips on helicopters, charging 880 yuan per person for one trip.

If you go:

  • 7 am - 6 pm, Guanzhuang town, Jixian county. 022-29821235
  • Ticket: 100 yuan for adults; 50 yuan for students

Top shopping strips:

Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

8. The Ancient Cultural Street

The Ancient Cultural Street is a commercial strip filled with a wide variety of shops selling traditional folk handicrafts, including the Yangliuqing New Year paintings and the Niren Zhang painted sculptures.

The 680-meter long street features buildings of traditional Chinese styles in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911).

In the centre of the street stands an old opera tower, which can be traced back to the 15th century.

If you go:

  • Shuigao Avenue, Nankai district. 022-27356128
  • Ticket: Free
An aerial photo of the Florentia Village outlets on April 28, 2017. Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

9. The Florentia Village outlets

The Florentia Village outlets, located on the outskirts of Tianjin, is a high-end outlet mall housing more than 200 fashion brands: including Prada, Bvlgari, Celine, Chloe, Fendi and Jimmy Choo.

The outlets boasts the "ultimate shopping experience" since its opening in 2011, with discounted prices all year round. It also features Italian-style architecture, as well as Italian and international cuisines.

If you go:

  • Qianjin Road, Wuqing district (next to the Wuqing Station, Beijing-Tianjin Bullet Train)
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