Tianjin’s Wudadao area is one of Tianjin’s most important tourist attractions, as Tianjin’s claim to fame is its exceptionally well-preserved concession area. It’s name literally means “five avenues,” for the five major roads that run through this 1 square kilometer area: Chengdu Dao(成都道), Munan Dao(睦南道), Machang Dao(马场道), Dali Dao(大理道), and Chongqing Dao(重庆道).
The entire downtown area of modern Tianjin was once occupied by 9 different Western powers, and you can see beautiful examples of Italian, German, French, Spanish and British architecture mixed in with old Chinese villas all of which were surprisingly well-preserved when the Europeans left the city, and have recently been renovated (or are in the process of renovation) by the government.
In the center of the avenues is the Eric Liddell stadium (the famous Olympian and missionary who was born in Tianjin, of the movie “Chariots of Fire”), which they apparently completely demolished and are in the process of rebuilding now.
There are two places of particular interest. Qingwangfu is the former residence of the brother of the last Chinese emperor. There’s a restaurant with tables surrounding a grassy area, and fountains. You can also have a tour of the residence itself. It may or may not be kid-friendly, depending on the staff at the time–some of them are laid-back and some are very worried about children either hurting themselves or the things around them. There is also the Luxury Museum of China which looks like a cousin to China House on the other side of Nanjing Lu, famous for its Land Rover completely covered in pieces of pottery. They are both marked below and we will add things as we find them or as you submit them.
On the northeast corner of the stadium is the place where you can rent a horse-drawn carriage for a tour around Wudadao, or a two- or four-seater bike, or a tuk-tuk and a driver who will enthusiastically take you on a tour around the avenues, stopping and pointing out every sign and important piece of architecture. The carriage is 600 RMB, I believe, and the tuk-tuk might be between 60-100 RMB, depending on who your driver is and how much you negotiate. The signs for the buildings are in both English and Chinese. It is also filled with restaurants and cafes, large and small, some of which serve delicious Western food.
- 五大道 – 民园体育场北门 Wǔ dà dào
Mínyuán Tǐyùchǎng Běi Mén
Five Avenues, People’s Stadium North Gate
- There are many bus options all throughout Wudadao
- The nearest Subway stop is Xiao Bai Lou on Line 1