If you are looking to stay near some of this international city’s most historic sites, you have quite a number of options. It may not be historic itself, but the Holiday Inn is within close walking distance of a number of temples, like the Grand Mercy Monastery, a huge Zen monastery that dates back hundreds of years. And to the south, in Nanking district, near the University and water park lie a number of museums, such as the Natural History Museum and Zhou & Deng Memorial Hall. Nearby hotels include the Narcissus Hotel and the Sheraton Tianjin.
The most impressive sites near Tianjin are to the north, and include a section of the Great Wall, Mount Pan, and the Solitary Joy Temple. For easy access stay in town a hotel near the railroad station, such as the Astor, or head north and stay in one of the smaller hotels in Ji country. Things are less fancy but more serene up here, and there are a couple of very clean and comfortable options. Try the Yuyang Hotel for a stay near the town square, or the Egle Lang for lake views.
To take home a bit of history, shop at one of the markets in town that sell antiques for a fraction of what you’d pay in Beijing – especially if you relish a bit of haggling. For closest access to China’s largest antiques market and the Ancient Cultural Street, both excellent places to shop for antiques and other trinkets and souvenirs, you’ll want to be in Heping district. The Ocean Hotel and Kind Hotel are both within short walking distance.
Or if you’d like your hotel itself to exhibit some old-world splendor, there are lots of attractive choices. British and French concessions here in the 19th and 20th century resulted in quite a number of European-style buildings, many of which still remain. Some have been converted into hotels, and there’s no better place to stay to get a feel for Tianjin of a century past. The Astor Hotel is a beautiful example of the British colonial style of the mid-1800s, and there are plenty of historical artifacts that have been preserved from the building’s original state. There are excellent Chinese and Western restaurants as well, from casual to black tie. Also near the Astor is the Tianjin First Hotel, aptly named as one of the first hotels in Tianjin. It’s in another historical building, dating back to the early 1900s.
[photo courtesy of jaeming]