Beijing's 798 Art District may be the national standard for factory complexes turned art zones, but it's hardly the only one. Guangzhou has several “creative parks” that have also made the transition from industrial gray to vibrant technicolor, so pick a weekend and let the gallery-hopping begin.
1) Redtory Art Park View In Map
Redtory Art Park was originally built in 1956 as China's largest can factory; now it's a spacious art loft often referred to as Guangzhou's 798. Decked out with bars and café and eateries in the same spaces huge machines used to operate half a century ago, Redtory brings a sense of lively commercialism and photogenic historical calm all at the same time. Stepping out the front gate, you'll find you're just two minutes away from majestic Pearl River scenery and another pleasant post-prandial stroll. If you want to avoid the pricey food and drinks inside the park, have a walk down Yuancun Siheng Lu outside the main gate; the whole street is packed with street food and more reasonably priced lunch options.
Where: 128 Yuancun Siheng Lu (Linjiang Da Dao entrance, Meilin Hai'an west side), Tianhe District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8557 4346
Opening hours (public galleries): Mon-Sun 10:30-21:00
Getting there: take subway line 5 to Yuancun (员村站) exit A and continue walking 10 minutes
2) 1850 Creative Park View In Map
Originally the site of southern China's largest hydrogen peroxide manufacturing plant, 1850 is a huge but uncomplicated space with one long avenue extending through it, cutting through galleries both old and new and under construction. Well worth a night visit thanks to multicolored lights along the paths, 1850 is not as developed as Redtory but still features a variety of art for viewing.
Where: 200 Fangcun Da Dao (near Liwan Police Station), Liwan District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 3102 1850
Opening hours: 9:00-17:30
Getting there: take subway line 1 to Fangcun (芳村站) exit B2 and walk 5 minutes towards Hedong Qiao
3) Taigucang Creative Park View In Map
Formerly known as Taigucang Pier, Taigucang Creative Park is a pleasant green space lined with old-style red brick warehouses, restaurants, and movie theaters. Night lights along the Pearl River make this is a perfect spot for enjoying a cool breeze and an evening stroll. Also a good place to buy or taste wine in a quiet, pseudo-European setting.
Where: 124 Gexin Lu (near Jinbi Wan), Haizhu District, Guangzhou
Tel (movie theater): 020 8430 9788
Opening times: all day
Getting there: take subway line 8 to Shayuan (沙园站)
4) T.I.T Creative Industry Zone View In Map
A former textile machinery plant, T.I.T Creative Industry Zone has been fittingly reappropriated as a primarily clothing-themed creative space. Despite the laughable acronym that forms its name, T.I.T nonetheless delivers a serious historical atmosphere amidst a background of wild creativity and fashion. Careful not to get lost in the folds of its labyrinthine passageways; many times you'll think you've come to a dead end when in fact there is more just around the corner.
Where: 397 Xingang Zhong Lu, Haizhu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8422 1810
Opening hours: all day
Getting there: take subway line 8 to Kecun (客村站)
5) Xiaozhou VillageView In Map
One of Guangzhou's best not-so-well-kept-anymore secrets, Xiaozhou is a miniature canal town, similar to Suzhou, in southern Guangzhou. Xiaozhou is home to many art students, who reside in small apartments amongst the growing number of cafés and bars and public galleries. It's also one of the city's most popular locations for wedding pictures so take care not to photobomb anyone's special day.
Where: across from Yingzhou Ecological Park, Haizhu District, Guangzhou
Opening hours: all day
Getting there: take bus 252 or 468 to Xiaozhou Village (小洲村站)
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Keywords: Guangzhou creative parks Guangzhou art zones art districts Guangzhou
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