Plan your Shanghai tour? Tianzifang (田子坊) is an enchanting place that ought to be included on your Shanghai travel plan. Tianzifang encapsulates the art and crafts linked to Shikumen.
The Shikumen residential buildings (stone-door-frame houses) were built in 1930s in Shanghai, an enclave developed from an old residential area of the former French concession in Shanghai.
Origin of “Tianzifang”
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 Shikumen residential area of Shanghai, which later came to be known as “Tianzifang”.
Tianzifang was named by 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.
Layout of Tianzhifang
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 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 neighbourhood 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.
Virtual Tour of Tianzifang
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.
The entrance to Lane 210 Taikang Road 泰康路210弄, just left side of Taikang Road Lane 248.
One of the location maps of Tianzifang dotted here and there on the walls in Tianzifang area. The red travel route for Lane 210, blue for Lane 248 and green for Lane 274.
Now this is the Lane 210, one of the three main lanes in Tianzifang.
No. 2 of Lane 10 is the original site of Chen Yifei’s Studio. Tianzifang was named by Chen Yifei who first had a studio in Tianzifang.
Between the three main lanes, there are quite some narrower lanes crisscrossing Tianzifang area, creating labyrinthine. Now the chic restaurant is on a narrow alley between Lane 210 and Lane 248.
Some of the boutiques or studios are located inside the original Shikumen buildings.
A typical shikumen building still inhabited by the local residents who still live on the second floors and the first floor are used as street-front stores or studios.
This is the Lane 248 (Tianchengli) , one of the three main lanes in Tianzifang area. Wet clothes hanging and air-conditioning units overhead, not a totally residential area on Lane 248.
DIY, Shop, Cafe and you name it. Electricity cables are still overhead, adding a residential feel.
A narrow alleyway between Lane 248 and Lane 274
A cafe bar nestled on the passage between Lane 248 and Lane 274
This is the entrance to Lane 274 (also known as “Pingyuanfang”), one of the three main lanes in Tianzifang area.
The narrow passage in Lane 274
Hassle-free Shanghai Guided Tours
If you don’t want to do a self-guided tour and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for guided tours to Shanghai:
Top 10 Attractions in Shanghai
Shanghai’s Top 10 Iconic Landmarks
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
Top 10 Photo Spots in Shanghai
10 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Shanghai
Huangpu River Cruise Ticket Booking (Tickets, Photos and Map)
Shanghai Cherry Blossom Festival
How to Plan a Trip to Shanghai
How to Visit Shanghai on a Budget
Where to stay in Shanghai
Shanghai Layout, the city layout of Shanghai
Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station
Public Transportation at Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Shanghai Hongqiao Airport
Shanghai Hop On Hop Off
Ferry from the Bund to Pudong
The highest al fresco dining venue in China
Feeling Chinese New Year’s Atmosphere in Shanghai
Night walk along Nanjing Road in Shanghai
Top family-friendly spots to visit in Shanghai
Doing things the local way in Shanghai
How to Visit Wuzhen Water Town from Hangzhou and Shanghai
Shopping in Pudong Shanghai
Top 10 Shanghai Classic Vegetarian Restaurants
The Bund at Night pictures
Beijing Shanghai high speed rail
Ticket Booking for Beijing Shanghai High Speed Rail
Top 10 Shanghai Budget Hotels
Top 10 Shanghai Luxury Hotels
Top 10 Shanghai Boutique Hotels
Tips for Visiting Nanjing Road in Shanghai
The Neon-Colored Nanjing Road
How to Visit the Bund in Shanghai (Tips, Photos & Map)
Foggy Pudong Skyline at Sunrise, Shanghai
The Bund and Small Pool of Rainwater
Early Morning Kite Flyers on the Bund in Shanghai
Historic Buildings on the Bund in Shanghai (the 22 heritage buildings)
Evening View of the Bund and Pudong Skyline Shanghai
How to Visit Yuyuan Garden and Bazaar
The Old World Charm in Shanghai (Tips, Photos & Map)
How to Visit Lujiazui in Pudong
How to Visit Zhujiajiao Water Town
How to Visit Qibao Ancient Town
How to Visit Tianzifang
How to Visit Xintiandi
How to Visit Shanghai World Financial Center
How to Visit Shanghai Tower
Tips for Visiting People’s Square, Shanghai
How to Visit Shanghai Auto Museum
Any questions, just drop a line.