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Tianzifang, Creative Shanghai Mazy Lanes

Tianzifang (田子坊) from the 1920s of 7 acres wide is one of the coolest places attracting a rising number of people to visit every year. Working studios of famous artists and creative people fill Tianzifang a lively SOHO gathering. And also, the various exquisite shops with interesting new and traditional items and restaurants serving delicious food from many countries has appealed CNN Travel to recommend Tianzifang on its web page. Luckily, not only the lively daily scene of local Shanghai residents and immigrants from 23 countries and regions could be seen, but also the typical Shikumen structure of Shanghai feature are well protected to remember the change of Shanghai. That’s why numerous world people like visiting Tianzifang to feel its old Shanghai life and the exotic features of other countries.

Tianzifang in the No. 210 Lane of Taikang Road (泰康路210弄) in Dapuqiao (打浦桥) district in Shanghai was once a street fair before 1998. And in the earlier years, it was the living place of local Shanghai people, immigrants from other Chinese provinces, and the foreign people during the colonial period. As a result, there emerged a lot of Shukumen residences in Shanghai. And Tianzifang is one of the treasurable places for remaining such historical and cultural features of Shanghai. As a growing number of artistic people set up their dreaming studios and the Shanghai government reformed the fair into the shops, Tianzifang gradually became a place of art and culture, attracting people from tens of other countries and regions to establish shops and live in this great block.

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Tianzifang Shanghai Tianzifang, Old but Cool Place in Shanghai
Tianzifang Shanghai Wander along Narrow Lanes with Shops & Restaurants

What to See & Do in Tianzifang

Tianzifang is so attractive and has a lot of fun places. Let’s see what to see and feel in this cool place in Shanghai!

Artistic & Cultural Creativity

Tianzifang has long been a gem place of artistic & cultural creativity, since many famous artists like Chen Yifei (陈逸飞), whose paintings have greatly influenced the world countries, Erdong Sheng (尔冬升), whose photographic works have frequently been reported by the Times in America, etc. Apart from the many other famous artists and cultural celebrities, there now exist abundant studios of the well-known groups and young peoples from many countries and of different fields, like painting, photographing, ceramic, movie, fashion designing, etc. Visiting Tianzifang is really so worthy to take in the rich nutrition of art.

Ancient Shikumen Structure

Shukumen (石库门, Stone-hooped door) was the most representative residence in old Shanghai. As the historical influence of many rich people coming to the concession area in Shanghai to avoid the war, Shikumen structure has combined the traditional southern Chinese elements and the western styles. Therefore, take your time in Tianzifang to appreciate the traditional wood Chinese doors of the two to three floors making a squeaky sound, the delicate carving of European styles, and the terrace of American townhouses, which is very meaningful to see the history remain of Shanghai.

Tianzifang Come in to See the Cameras and Photographic Skills
Tianzifang International Restaurants in Shanghai Shikumen Construction

Life in Shanghai Old Alleys

Not like other same cool places in Shanghai, Tianzifang is the happy living environment of many local Shanghai people, which makes these mazy lanes more lively and close to people’s life. Watch elder couples resting on the bench under the warm sunshine, little boys playing and laughing innocently at the alley corners, Shanghai ladies hanging their clothes on the bamboo pole that is out of the window, etc. Are you eager to savor the simple daily life of the pure Shanghai people? Actually, I am, VERY MUCH!

Taste Chinese & International Flavors

As an old block in Shanghai downtown, of course, Tianzifang has a lot of delicious local traditional Shanghai and Chinese food to give your tongue a new try, like the famous pan-fried pork bun (生煎包), noodles, and so on. Moreover, since Shanghai is a gathering International metropolitan, you can also release the weight on your feet to taste the various foods from other countries, like sushi from Japan, spaghetti from Italy, Steaks from America, beer drinks from Germany, etc. Besides, there are also many interesting innovative restaurants to treat your eyes, for example, the bear-head shaped rice roll, wall paintings with many Buddha, decorations of Southeast Asia charm, and so forth.

Tianzifang Leisure Life of Residents in Tianzifang
Tianzifang Young People Dining at Tianzifang Restaurants

At night hours, Tiangzifang is especially a favorable place for fashionable young people. Sit at the open-air restaurant or bar, drink the colorful beverages, have a relaxing chat with friends of different complexions, enjoy the soft and elegant Blues, and feel the magic nightlife of Shanghai. That moment is really idyllic. You will have so much to discover!

Roam in Novel Shops

Tianzifang always has many things to entertain you. Along the complex crossing lanes, many delicate shops of stylish designs and decorations easily draw your desire to walk in and roam along closets displaying interesting new gadgets, like very adorable bear toys of wool, fashionable bags of funny designs, various colors and patterns of candies, etc.

Furthermore, you can find the rare remaining traditional Chinese crafts and artworks, like the ancient glasses, old-style music boxes, beautiful paper-cut, and accessories of Chinese minority group styles… Also, there are some worth-going DIY-houses for you to make your own stylish works to memorize this happy cultural Shanghai visit, such as the super cute ceramic baby, fancy silver and jade bracelet and other pieces of jewelry, etc.

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Tianzifang Take a Relaxing Walk along Shops in Tianzifang
Tianzifang Very Adorable Baby Dolls in Tianzifang Shops

Location of Tianzifang & How to Get There

Tianzifang is located at Taikang Road in Daopuqiao District in Shanghai downtown, and also, it is within the Shanghai French Concession, so you can arrive by taking bus, subway, bicycle, taxi, etc.

By Subway

Take Metro Line 9 to get off at Dapuqiao Stop and come out from Exit 1, then walkabout 390m to Tianzifang.

Tianzifang to Xintiandi

About 1.5 km from Tianzifang, besides walking there, Xintiandi can be reached by bus No. 17, 24. And you can also take the metro line 9 and transfer to Metro 13 and get off at Xintiandi stop.

Travel with China Discovery (Top Recommended)

If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Tianzifang with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.

Tianzifang Shanghai Map Click to See the Location Map of Tianzifang
Tianzifang - Shanghai Map Click to See the Sketch Map of Tianzifang

Useful Tips to Visit Tianzifang

1. Most studios and shops in Tiangzifang open around 10:00 in the morning, so if you want to enjoy daily life and featured Shanghai old buildings, it is recommended to visit there during day time. And if you are more interested in the night view and bustling nightlife of this place, you can choose to go at night after six or seven o’clock.

2. Although Tianzifang opened all day long for there are local residents living, the shops usually close around 21:30, bars later at night.

3. Since there are many lanes in Tiangzifang and many people from other places and countries are unfamiliar and may easily get lost, it is highly and warmly recommended to check the sketch map of Tianzifang before you enter the narrow lanes.

4. Some paths and stairs in Tiangzifang are narrow and not so flat to walk. Ladies better wear comfortable shoes and clothes. High-heels or miniskirts are not suggested.

How to Plan a Shanghai Tour

How to Get to Shanghai: You can fly to Shanghai directly from Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, London, Los Angeles & many overseas countries (regions) and almost all major Chinese cities, like Beijing, Xian; or take high speed bullet train to Shanghai from domestic cities.

Best Time to Visit Shanghai: March to May (in spring) & September to November (in autumn), because these periods offer beautiful nature scenery and comfortable weather for outdoor sightseeing and activities.

Top Attractions to Visit in Shanghai: The Bund, Lujiazui Skyscrapers, Yu Garden, Shanghai Museum, French Concession, Shanghai Disney Resort…

Best known as an international popular tourist destination, Shanghai perfectly preserves mixed culture of the western and eastern. The duration and theme of your Shanghai tour can be flexibly arranged based on your time and interests. Usually, tourists spend 2 days on sightseeing the most famous landmarks, including the Bund, Yu Garden, skyscrapers like Shanghai Tower, World Financial Center, Former French Concession, Shanghai Museum, etc. With one extra day, you can enjoy family fun in Disneyland Park or visit Zhujiajiao Water Town in the suburb. Don't miss the Shanghai Maglev Train, wonderful nightlife and Shanghai Cuisine.

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Convenient transportation makes it quite efficient and popular to make day trips from Shanghai to Hangzhou, Suzhou, and longer vacation in Huangshan Mountain, Nanjing, Mount Jiuhua and other places in surrounding areas. So you can visit West Lake and learn Chinese tea culture in Hangzhou, marvel at tasteful classical gardens and witness Chinese silk productive process. Splendid rocky mountains with exotic pine trees are highlights in Huangshan Mountain.

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Travel Shanghai with Beijing, Xian & More China Destinations

Beijing Xian Shanghai are golden triangle cities often visited together for a week holiday. You can use 3 days to visit the Great Wall and major iconic spots like Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven in Beijing, and leave 2 days for fulfilling your Terracotta Warriors tour in Xian. With more time, you can extend the trip from Shanghai to Zhangjiajie, Guilin, Chengdu, Yunnan, Silk Road, Tibet and more phenomenal destinations to enrich your China discovery. (more top China tours from Shanghai >>)

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Travel with China Discovery

As a leading travel agency in China which dedicates to offering high-quality China tours, China Discovery has helped thousands of travelers enjoy their trips to Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, etc., in China. Travel with us, you can enjoy worry-free tour services as well as well-organized itineraries, even our assistance of Chinese Visa application, convenient airport/train station pick-up & drop-off and transfer between all scenic spots, knowledgeable tour guide, safe & licensed private vehicle, satisfactory accommodation and dining and so on. You are free to choose from our most popular Shanghai tour packages or contact us to design a memorable holiday in Shanghai, China.

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Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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Questions & Discussions

Following are latest questions and answers from our webusers and customers. You can learn many useful information from the discussion and cases. You can also join in the discussions or ask your own question. Our experts will help you ASAP.

Traveling to Shanghai
Hello! I hope you are well. My family and myself are traveling to Shanghai in less than a month and we will be staying around Tianzi Fang. We are not quite sure what we can do culturally around there and how long does it take to get to the city centre by metro or how much would it cost to do it in a taxi. I have tried searching on many websites but have not been able to figure it out. I would REALLY appreciate your help. THANK YOU!
2018-02-28 02:55
Hi Lucia,

Good morning from China. The popular cultural activity is to see ancient Shikumen architecture, the most representative residence in old Shanghai, presenting you the warm, local and bustling side of Shanghai. You can relax here from teahouse, elegant restaurant, café, gallery to artist shop…

Tianzifang is about 5 kilometers from Shanghai Bund. If you take a taxi, it may cost around 25 Yuan, taking about 20 minutes. If by metro, you can take Line 10, but need to walk and get on the metro at Xintiandi Station (新天地站) and get off at Nanjing East Road Station (南京东路站). It needs a lot of walking.

Wish you a great trip in Shanghai!

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