Central Street is a symbolic street in Harbin China, it’s the spine of the city. It was originally built in 1898 and was formally renamed in 1997. This 1.5 km old world appeal cobblestone road begins at the Holiday Inn hotel and ends close to the Songhua River which freezes in the winter.
As you walk along Central Street you will appreciate the beauty and elegance in the European style buildings. Although it is a pedestrian street, there are a few crossroads, so you do have to watch out for cars.
Central Street is home to several international fast-food chains, KFC, McDonalds, Starbucks and Pizza Hut to name a few. Many of these restaurants have standard western menus but often have a local twist as well like the rice bowl at KFC.
As far as Russian restaurants go, there’s a good selection to choose from like Tatos and Russia Coffee & Food. You’ll quickly realize that a lot of the Russian restaurants are staffed almost entirely by Chinese employees.
As you walk towards the Songua River and briefly head downstairs to re-emerge on the other side, you’ll notice an underground food court with a great variety of options. Food will cost you 10 RMB-20 RMB on average, about $2-$5 depending on where you are in North America.
About 70 of the 200 restaurants and stores that line Central Street are in an authentic Russian/European style or mock European style closely.
Many of the Russian stores carry imported traditional goods such as fur hats, jewelry boxes, Russian nesting dolls, antiques and Vodka. Side note, several of these items re also made in China.
The Euro Plaza has quickly become an iconic structure on Central Street. Shoppers can find an array of brands such as H&M, Sephora, Zara and Levis. It also has an Imax theatre on the top floor, restaurants and a supermarket on the bottom floor.
If you’re a foreigner be prepared to be stopped for photos many times and experience what it must be like for Beyonce or Jay Z while casually walking in public. It’s pretty flattering to say the least but you do find yourself wondering where all the photos you end up taking really go, but enjoy it!
The music playing on the street creates a warm and inviting atmosphere so take the time to relish in the European feel of Central Street and keep those Restless Feet moving!
Check out my Walking Through Harbin’s Central Street here
Have you ever been to Central Street? Tell me about it below!