Located in a renovated portion of the Old French Quarter, Tianzifang (Tian Zi Fang) has become a trendy artistic district filled with cafes, boutiques, art studios and galleries. The neighborhood's buildings were erected in the 1930s, but it wasn't until 2006 when they were slated for demolition that the neighborhood transformed into the hip labyrinth of narrow streets it is today.
The local artists, expats and international travelers who frequent the neighborhood today have local business owners and protesters, including Shanghai native and artist Chen Yifei, to thank for saving the area from redevelopment.
Even with its new, young crowd, Tianzifang has retained its charming 18th-century Shikumen-style architecture and stone-framed doors, with most buildings now occupied by small businesses. Travelers in search of unique keepsakes will appreciate Tianzifang's many shops specializing in handmade novelty items. Although the area is often crowded with visitors, it is still home to thousands of locals. Visiting on a weekday morning or in the early afternoon will increase your likelihood of a quieter experience.
Tianzifang is based around Taikang Road in the Dapuqiao district. The entrance is rather unassuming, so look out for an archway over alley 210. Subway line 9 can be taken to Dapuqiao Station.