Tianjin sits on the Haihe River, the main river flowing through downtown. The Haihe river has become one of the main attractions in Tianjin and offers some amazing scenery and great architecture alongside. At certain parts of the river you will find hardy groups of old men stripping down to their speedos and swimming in the river, even in the middle of winter.
During Dragon Boat Festival (the day of the spring equinox, around June 20), you can watch the dragon boat races by the Astor Hotel. You can walk along in front of the Jinwan Plaza, over the wooden bridge to the Century clock at the Railway Station, through Haihe Culture Square across the river from the St. Regis hotel, all the way to the Tianjin Eye and the massive stone boat beyond it.
In the winter, there is ice-sledding by the river entrance to Ancient Culture Street, and in the evenings, especially during Mid-Autumn Festival, there are people selling paper lanterns by the Jintang Bridge, a beautiful walking bridge lit up at night; celebrating a place famous for the resistance of Tianjin soldiers against the invading Japanese. Below is a map of a recommended walking tour.
If you want to spend several hours walking and taking in the sites, the ideal start to your walk would begin at the Anglican Church on Tai’An Dao, in an area that has been remodeled as an upscale shopping area. You can walk around the church and peek into the windows, then walk towards the river, past the Municipal Committee Park, past the Astor Hotel and out to the river.
At the river, turn left (northish), and follow the river. This will take you down by some beautiful scenery, statues and interesting bridges, and after a slightly complicated crossing under the bridge with the strange spaceship construction on the top that may once have been a restaurant, you will be on the riverfront side of Jinwan Plaza, looking across to the Railway Station.
There’s a small wooden bridge that goes across to the Railway Station which is also used by cars, and if you walk across here you can have a look at the famous Century Clock which not only tracks the time, but the seasons and the zodiac. Continue down along the river, through Hai He Culture Square (you could go north here and easily be at Italian Style Town).
Continue walking through a musical-themed park (by musical themed I just mean there are musical notes for some reason), over another bridge, until you get to the walking bridge. If you time your walk well so that you leave in the later afternoon, you might hit the bridge at almost dark. When it’s lit up, it’s beautiful.
Past the bridge is Ancient Culture Street, and the next bridge you come to will be a popular place for flying kites with lights on them at night and more paper lanterns (5 RMB apiece).
Continue on until you reach the Tianjin Eye. Take a ride or keep walking until you reach the large stone boat. Here there is a part of the river that forks off to the right. There’s a beautiful walk along it that would be perfect in daylight.
Below is a series of photos in the order that you would encounter them on this walk.
A Recommended Walking Tour