How to Visit Tianzifang

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Plan your Shanghai tour? Tianzifang (田子坊) must be included on your Shanghai travel plan.  Tianzifang is an art, craft  and Shikumen (stone-door-frame houses) enclave developed from an old residential area of the former French concession,  a shikumen residential  built in 1930s in Shanghai.

In 1980s artists, designers and vendors began to set up their studios, art galleries, craft stores, design house, cafes, bars, and restaurants  a kind of creative industry precinct in an old residential area of Shanghai. 

Tianzifang was named after the same name first artist in China by the famous Chinese artist – Chen Yifei who first had a studio in Tianzifang.  Chen Yifei was one of the artists who actively advocated the preservation of Tianzifang area and its stone-framed-door houses.

Tianzifang is compact and mainly composed of three lanes along Taikang Road (泰康路), just across the Exit 1 of Dapuqiao Station (打浦桥) of Subway Line 9.  The three lanes are Taikang Road Lane 210 (Tianzifang), Taikang Road Lane 248(Tianchengli) and Taikang Road Lane 274 (Pingyuanfang).

The Taikang Road 210 is the most noted lane where the famous artist Chen Yifei once set up his studio there. Most of the visitors would choose first to enter Lane 210 in Tianzifang area.

The three lanes are interconnected,  easy to get pleasantly lost wandering in and out of the passages though this area is interspersed with with location maps. So it is a bit hard to navigate and sometimes you have many turns and bends. You will meet a dead-end and then back-track and find a new passage.  It is a fun exploring inside the neighborhood of labyrinthine alleys.

So why Tianzifang?

It is a great place to shop and dine though a bit overpriced. But you do find some original gifts and souvenirs you cannot find elsewhere in Shanghai.  If you are not a big fan for shopping and eating, just concentrate on its architecture.

Tianzifang Travel Tips

1)  The most convenient way of getting to Tianzifang is taking subway line 9 and get off at the station of Dapuqiao (打浦桥) and using Exit 1  and the Taikang Road ( where the three lanes are located) is just opposite the Exit 1.  You may start your exploration of Tianzifang by entering the Taikang Road Lane 210, then duck into the Lane 248 and 274.

2) Go there early to avoid hordes of domestic tourists. You are prepared for being pushed when this area is getting busier.

3) Learn to bargain on the stuff you are going to buy.

4) It is allowed to take pictures in Tianaifang area except the residential area where the local residents still live.

5) A  nice public toilets in the mall across the street where the Starbucks is located.

For you to have a glimpse of Tianzifang, now I just show you some of the pictures taken  of the three lanes in Tianzifang area.

Out from Exit 1 at Dapuqiao Station of Subway line 9, you turn right and see the location signboard indicating Tianzifang.

you turn right and see the location signboard indicating Tianzifang.

you turn right and see the location signboard indicating Tianzifang.

 

The entrance to Taikang Road Lane 274 (平原坊) 泰康路274弄, just left side of Taikang Road Lane 248.

One of the location maps of Tianzifang dotted here and there.  The red travel route for Lane 210, blue for Lane 248 and green for Lane 274.

One of the location maps of Tianzifang dotted here and there

One of the location maps of Tianzifang dotted here and there

 

A creative restaurant on a narrow alley between Lane 210  and Lane 248.

A creative restaurant on a narrow alley between Lane 210 and Lane 248.

A creative restaurant on a narrow alley between Lane 210 and Lane 248.

 

A western restaurant nestled on a narrow alleyway between Lane 210 and Lane 248

A western restaurant nestled on a narrow alleyway between Lane 210 and Lane 248

A western restaurant nestled on a narrow alleyway between Lane 210 and Lane 248

A cafe bar

A cafe bar

A cafe bar

A typical shikumen houses still inhabited by the local residents who still live on top of the establishments (shops, restaurants etc.) with their air-conditioning units outside their houses.

A typical shikumen houses

A typical shikumen houses

Wet clothes hanging and air-conditioning units overhead, not a totally commercial area on Lane 248

Wet clothes hanging and air-condition units overhead, not a totally commercial area on Lane 248

Wet clothes hanging and air-conditioningunits overhead, not a totally commercial area on Lane 248

Electricity cables are still  overhead, adding a residential feel.

Electricity cables are still overhead, adding a residential feel.

Electricity cables are still overhead, adding a residential feel.

A narrow alleyway between Lane 248 and Lane 274

A narrow alleyway between Lane 248 and Lane 274

A narrow alleyway between Lane 248 and Lane 274

A cafe bar nestled on the passage between Lane 248 and Lane 274

The narrow passage in Lane 274

The narrow passage in Lane 274

The narrow passage in Lane 274

Tip:  Hassle-free Shanghai Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Shanghai:

Shanghai Highlight Day Tour from US$ 60
Afternoon Ambling & Evening Brilliant Cruise Day Tour from US$ 55
Shanghai Ancient Water Town Day Tour from US$ 65
Shanghai Suzhou Zhouzhuang Day Tour from US$ 95

Shanghai 2 Day Tour Package from US$ 145
Shanghai 3 Day Tour Pacakge from US$ 199
Shanghai 4 Day Tour Package from US$ 265 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attraction in Shanghai
Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do at night in Shanghai
Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai
Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai

Any questions, just drop line.

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