Tianjin is a famous commercial center with traditional trade areas and modern shopping centers. With the development of the Tianjin economy and flourishing commerce, a number of new commercial areas and big markets have appeared. Major commercial areas in Tianjin are Binjiang Road, Heping Road, Xiaobailou (Little White Building), Xinanjiao, Zhongshan Road, Tonglou, and Nanlou.
The Binjiang and Heping roads intersect to the west of the Haihe River, and comprise the most prosperous commercial area of Tianjin, where several large department stores are located. The most famous section of Binjiang Road is between Shandong Road and Nanjing Road. This area is a market of small commodities and attracts numerous people day and night. When the evening comes, local-flavored snacks are offered along the street under colorful lights. This has become a unique Tianjin scene.
Tianjin is rich in special products, some of which are tourist favorites, such as Yangliuqing New Year Pictures, colored clay figurines of Master Zhang, Wei Kites, and Tianjin Carpets. One can also find them at the Yilingge and Wenyuange, which are on Liaoning Road and Heping Road in Heping District or Ningcuixuan in the Yangliuqing New Year Pictures Society.
Yangliuqing New Year Pictures
Yangliuqing New Year Pictures originated in the Yangliuqing Town during the early 17th century. Adopting the method of integrating block printing and hand-colored decoration, and characterized by varied themes, the brightness, vivacity, happiness, auspiciousness and fascination, make these New Year pictures a popular ornament in Chinese homes.
Clay Figurines of Master Zhang
Figurines of one of Tianjin's famous folk crafts is "Clay Figurine
Zhang", named for the renowned folk clay sculpture artist Zhang
Mingshan who lived in the port-city in the Qing Dynasty, 180
years ago. Zhang Mingshan was born to a poor family. As a child,
he learned from his father how to make clay figurines to earn
some money. The young man carefully observed people from all
walks of life at the market fairs and in acting roles in local
operas, and soon became known for his remarkably vivid and expressive
clay figurines. His works included heroes and villains from Chinese
folk stories and novels as well as homely scenes of everyday
Wei Yuantai is the representative of Tianjin Kites, affectionately called "Wei Kites."The characteristics of Tianjin kites lie in the techniques of the framework and fastening as well as its colors and designs based upon the New Year's wood block pictures and traditional Chinese painting. Based on traditional sculpture, it strives to be unique and to always find something new and fresh in design. The kites come out with various sizes and patterns. The biggest ones are more than 3 meters long and the smallest are only a few centimeters long. Some of the kites are foldable and thus become one of the most favorite souvenirs in the packs of foreign visitors.
Tianjin Carpet has its own unique skill technique and style. vThe carpet crafters in Tianjin use a unique method where the carpet woven out is strong but pliable in texture, whippy, firm and durable. vIn addition, there are numerous unique patterns, and created in various art styles. vA famous Tianjin tapestry of the Temple of Heaven is hanging at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ancient Cultural Street
Perhaps one of Tianjin's most famous landmarks, Ancient Cultural Street was built originally in 1993 as a place for people to buy ancient-looking artifacts, souvenirs, and knickknacks. It is located right on the Hai River, and any taxi driver who can't find it for you is an imbecile or a cheat. Lately, the shopping area has undergone several revisions and expansions, and any semblance to "ancient" that the street itself may have once had is now vanishing completely. This is a must-see, though, if you need to buy something to bring back home.
Kind of a cheaper version of Ancient Cultural Street, which is actually located pretty close nearby, Gulou also features old-looking stuff like paintings, swords, and all that jazz. The whole complex is centered around a bell tower, built early in the 1900's. If you can't find what you want here, just go to Ancient Culture Street, and vice versa.
Cybermart is a gigantic wholesale computer hardware and software store offering very reasonable prices but with a little room for bargaining at many of the shops. This three-level mega-mart has hundreds of shops peddling computers and computer accessories hardware, software, MP3 players, digital cameras, etc. The selection is enormous and you are unlikely to find a lower price.
Address: Anshan West Road (near intersection with Baidi Road), Tianjin
There are probably about a dozen or two of these Gome electronic chains situated throughout Tianjin. They offer everything from TV's to computers to MP3 players to DVD players. The two locations about a block away from Cybermart on Anshan Xi Dao and in Tanggu about a block and a half from the Yanghuo Shichang light rail station. Prices are generally better than Carrefour and Home World, but a bit worse than Cybermart, at least on computers and MP3 players. If looking for electronic goods, Gome is worth checking out.
Bingjiang Dao: Tianjin's Walking Street
Tianjin's Walking Street offers hundreds of retail stores assembled on one long walking street, prices in every range. This is the place to go to shop in Tianjin. It is generally a pleasant experience, cleanly and without the hassle of traffic. There are stores here that sell nearly every kind of clothing, formal and informal, shoes, jewelry, watches, and accessories.
This street has it all offering large malls, department stores, discount shops, wholesale stores, specialty stores, street vendors, and so on. There are also many food options, including Pizza Hut, the omnipresent McDonalds and KFC, yangrou and other chuanr (skewered food), etc. There is a large movie theatre that always plays at least one Western movie. If you enter one of the crowded alleyways, you will find a large clothing market with the open shops and bargaining that characterizes most Chinese shopping experiences. These alleys are a great place to shop if you are on a budget.
Liberation Shopping Street
Jiefang Lu Shangye jie of Liberation Shopping Street is kind of Tanggu's version of Binjiang Dao. Located near the Hai River Seaside park, this is a big walking street complete with McDonalds, KFCs, big shopping centers, and statues of naked babies standing on crabs. There's even a Subway Restaurant just off of the east end of the street.
The Foreign Goods Market
The Foreign Goods Market is one place virtually everyone visits when they come to Tanggu, a suburb of Tianjin. About a block or so southwest of the light rail station of the same name, this place has more fake Prada bags and perfume than you can shake a stick at. It's a big market selling everything from watches to MP3 players to animals on a stick. Somewhere on the big walking street there's a place that sells used cell phones too.
Shenyang Dao Antique Market
Gu Wenhua Jie
Friendship Department Store
Parkson Shopping Center
Jinhui Shopping Square
Isetan Shopping Mall
Far Eastern Department Store
Good Luck Supermarket