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“Main high street”

Zhongyang Pedestrian Street
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Private Best of Harbin City Tour in Summer
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Private City Tour of Harbin in Winter
Ranked #2 of 208 things to do in Harbin
Certificate of Excellence
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Main high street”
Reviewed 3 November 2013

We were staying near the main high street. Everything could be found here that we needed. From restaurants to shopping centres.

Visited January 2013
1 Thank Huda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Milpitas, California
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Central Street. (aka Zhongyang St)”
Reviewed 3 November 2013

Central Street (aka Zhongyang St.) is a fun place to visit. It has a lot of shops and restaurants. I read MOST of the reviews but none of them tells you the INSIDE scoop on the "secrets" of Central Street. It's a long Pedestrian Walkway (closed to street traffic). The whole neighborhood is a MUSEUM. The buildings are the original buildings built in the 1900's during the time that the RUSSIANS were occupying this area when China and Russia had a pact to build a railroad to connect the two countries for trade. Each building has a historical marker plaque in English and Chinese that tells you a bit about the building and when it was erected and what it was used for. What is interesting is that my husband's parents and grandfather and their families are from Harbin. They lived here from the 1900's to the 1950's. His grandfather lived in Harbin during the railway construction when Harbin was a Russian occupied town. His father and his 4 sisters grew up in Harbin. They migrated to America in the 1950's after China's Cultural Revolution but had always planned on going back when Nixon help open up China for trade again to foreigners but they never did find the time to do it. His father passed away in his late 60's followed by the death of his 4 sisters (in their 70's & 80's) in years afterwards. So while we were visiting China as tourists, Harbin as a side trip from my normal tour of China to find if there are any traces of his Russian roots left here.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn which is located at the beginning of the Pedestrian Walkway. We were able to walk Central Street all the way to the end.

GIFT/SOVENAIRES: There are a lot of "RUSSIAN" stores selling RUSSIAN facsimile goods (made in China) like the Russian nesting dolls and Russian "Eggs" and Russian Jewelry boxes. I guess if you were in Russia, they would costs an arm and a leg.............but here in Harbin (if you don't mind them being made in China), you could get nesting dolls, "eggs", "jewelry boxes" for about 50 - 100 CYN (around $8.00 - $16.00). Of course, there are BOTTLES of different kinds of VOLKA sold everywhere.

SHOPPING: Harbin (or Haerbin) has a lot of big department stores. They are pretty much in touch with today's "European" fashions (not so much American/Western clothing designs)...and it's sold mostly in small sizes for skinny people, same with shoes. However, there is a WALMART located at the end of the Pedestrian Walkway to the north. Wal-mart occupied the 2rd, 3rd, 4th floor of a huge building. (Wal-Mart Supercenter Harbin Youyi Road Branch Floor 2-4, Wanda Commercial Plaza,Youyi Road, Daoli District ) Going there is another jaw dropping experience. You can take your shopping cart up a flat moving escalator between floors and there are TONS of merchandize on each side of the moving escalators hand rails for customer to grabbed last minute items!!!

RESTAURANTS: There are numerous restaurants that line up Central Street. (aka Zhongyang St), including McDonalds and KFC. We found the restaurants to be very good. Our "gem" discovery was the Oriental King of Dumplings on Central Street. (aka Zhongyang St(it's a chain) located at No. 37 (basement) and at No. 81 (nice small street level). The No. 81 has an English version menu. The waitresses don't speak English well but the English Menu is in PINK and it's next to the register under a stack of other things. They have over 25 different dumplings with different fillings. Price 12 - 15 RMB = $2.00 - $3.00. You can beat that for a whole platter of dumplings. The restaurant also served OTHER dishes. They have a big screen monitor on the wall that continuously show you the prepared dishes. You can just point to that. Another restaurant is an UNDERGROUND food court. It's near the No. 37 Oriental King of Dumplings. You will know because there is a little girl dressed in Chinese Clothing in front banging on a drum. If you take the stairs down under, there is a whole FOOD COURT. They have pictures of the foods served and you can just point to it. The prices run 10RMB - 20RMB = $1.60 - $3.50 for pretty good size portions. While the restaurant offers Dumpling and call itself Oriental, actually the boiled beef dumplings resembled closely to Russian Pelemanis. As far as Russian Restaurants go...there are several: HUMEI, RUSSIA CAFE, TATOC to name few. None of them served Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Kiev, Piroshki, Borsch, Beef Kotletki, Stuffed Cabbage, etc. Of course these "Russian" restaurants are run by the Chinese with Chinese Chefs. They have probably never ate authentic Russian food...........but even if they are not familiar with Russian cooking, to cook Russian dishes aren't that far different from some of the Chinese dishes found in the Chinese restaurants. Like. for instance, take Asian dumplings, Russian has Pelemenis. It's the same thing but you twist the ends together over each other. It's boil in broth and served with sour cream. Beef Kotletki is nothing but a big hand size meatloaf shaped like a small football (baked)....served with simple potatoes. Piroshki is like a Asian Pork Bun (same sort of dough) filled with cooked ground beef & onions and deep fried. So to read on some of the reviews on these so called "Russian" restaurant that "it's NOT REAL Russian tasting dishes in these Russian restaurants in Harbin is a poor excuse on the "Russian" restaurant owners and management part when they have all the ingredients in the kitchen to make some of those dishes.

There is one difference between shopping in the U.S. and in China when it comes to shopping areas. The stores have employees standing in front of the stores with bull horns or microphones announcing sales items and persuading customers to come into their stores and at the same time, some of them are giving away some free items or discount coupons. I guess it worked, I fell for it and ho and behold, I did find some good bargains.

Music: In the middle of the night, when the air was so still, I was awoken by a enchanting voice singing in Russian. I went back to sleep but it woke me again. I went to the BIG WINDOW of the Holiday Inn and open it. The night was clear and you can see St. Sophia's Church several blocks over. Her voice is crystal clear ..singing old Russian songs. I know that, I hear those same old Russian songs played on vinyl at my husband's aunt's house back 20 years ago. I got my husband up. He listened too. Then we dressed and we went out of our hotel and follow the voice. It lured us to a stage on Central Street. (aka Zhongyang St) to a woman, dressed in Russian Attire. It was a performance that was just ending with her last song sung. We got to meet her and talk with her. Her English was very limited but my Russian husband has been practicing speaking Mandarin prior to our trip so he was able to communicate a bit with this woman. She was so impressed. We all have our pictures taken and we swap business cards. She said she also performs at one of the Russian restaurants and at one of the hotels on Central Street. (aka Zhongyang St). So that was a treat!. We also learned that there are a lot of street performances all over Central Street. (aka Zhongyang St) after 7PM. We were lucky to find a "Dancing with the Stars" ballroom dancing performance on another night , another show with a full band playing old Russian music on another night. It is sort of magical to be on Central St at night. It comes alive because of the street performances. My husband and I sat on one of the benches listening to the Russian music. We can only imagine that his 4 Russian Aunts who grew up under a STRICT church environment. they would "escape" into town when they had a chance as teenagers, walking (or partying) on these very same streets in an era that long had pass.

FLOOD MEMORIAL PARK: At the end of the Pedestrian walkway is the Flood Memorial which faces the River. My husband paid respect with a moment of silence to his drown ancestors. He heard from his dad that a BIG FLOOD drown half the town and wash his grandfather and his father's house and his church away. He took it as a punishment act of God for something he had done wrong. After that incident, his grandfather was never the same again. At the end of this Pedestrian Walkway, it faces the river. So the Pedestrian Walkway (Central St/aka Zhongyang St.) comes to an end at the T. The T is Youyi Road (where the Wal-Mart is). This whole area on Youyi Road, Daoli District is ANOTHER SHOPPING EXPERIENCE, full of stores, restaurants and outside markets.

RUSSIAN TOWN: Here at the T (end of Central Street)...you will find the Harbin officials in uniforms, selling 10CYN Round trip ticket ($1.60) tickets for Boat rides to go across the river to the other side to the island. the boat is an open boat with seats. The ride (20 minutes) was worth the 10CYN ($1.60) ...you can take a lot of pictures of the scenery from the boat. There is a PUT TOGETHER Russian Village there on the village (Tourist spot, of course) with a paid admission entrance fee of 20 - 40 - 60 RMB (depending if it's kids price, adult, senior) It wasn't much of a village....but being tourist and my husband being of Russian descent, we paid it and went in and walk around. It needs to be upgraded and some of the "Russian" village houses, artifacts sure can use some new coat of paint on them...because Russian colors are supposed to be vivid, bright, colorful and eye appealing ..and it's sad to be seeing faded, paint-chipped, deteriorating things.

Note: There is also VOLGA MANOR, a China/Russian Resort (with hotel and Russian restaurant w/a village and shopping area) that is gear with a Russian theme with authentic Russian Staff and Russian Cultural performances. There is no public transportation to Volga Village (unless you hire a driver or take a taxi) but you can call them up. They do have a shuttle to come across the bridge that takes tourist there.

MONETARY EXCHANGE: Unless, it's a major department store, most of the local business DO NOT USE A CREDIT CARD CHARGE (or they don't have one).....ALMOST ALL THE VENDORS and businesses take payment in CASH. (Chinese CYN). There are a lot of local banks that will exchange your money or they will guide you to one that does (like Traveler's checks). Oh, before I end, no vendors sells postcards. POST cards are regulated by the POST OFFICE, therefore you can only buy POST cards from the POST office. (China Post). It's 28 CYN ($4.50) for a pack of 10 postcards.....and you have to BRING your WRITTEN postcards in to them for them to sell you the Post Card stamp.

Well, that it! on Central Street aka Zhongyang St.

Visited September 2013
7 Thank Btravels123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
95 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“A unique place in China...”
Reviewed 5 October 2013

This is a very attractive street with elegant Russian architecture from a bygone era. You could almost think you were in Europe until you see countless Chinese faces crowding into this popular landmark. The shops are very repetitive, especially the ones selling Russian goods - virtually all the same! The Russian cafe is worth visiting - quality cuisine that also brings you back into the Russian past. An excellent way to fill in an afternoon - the night lights are also a must see.

Visited October 2013
Thank Lars B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
628 reviews
131 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 301 helpful votes
“Local and international shops without traffic”
Reviewed 6 September 2013

Cities in NE China have an unwanted feature, e.g., you have to walk in the street because cars are parked in the walkways. Zhong Yang Street is closed to traffic, so there is no traffic and no parked cars. All international brands are available, along with many Chinese specialties. There are three or four Beer Gardens with hawker's stalls along the street, and several fresh bread vendors as well - at 11:30 am the lines can be a block long for the fresh bread. A delightful place.

Visited August 2013
Thank MunichEricJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. Petersburg, Russia
Level 6 Contributor
67 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“the best shopping!”
Reviewed 2 August 2013

million wonderful shops and cafes))) no cars! only domestic citizents and foreigners! luv this place!

Visited January 2013
Thank SPb_girl_from_Irk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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