Dachuan Alley Has a Brand New Look!
In July 2019, Dachuan Alley made its debut after a series of overhauls undertaken by various parties. Unlike its previous state, dubbed the "express delivery street" for all the courier parcels scattered all over the place, the brand new Dachuan Alley has morphed into Chengdu's first street zone that centers on original galleries, with landscape design that preserves the existing urban charisma while introducing trendy elements like oil painting, novel merchandisers, bars and cafés. This edition of the Chengdu Helper shows you why this short, 150 meters-long alley packs a real punch.
Breath of City Life
Enter Dachuan Alley from the east and revel in the super Chengdu-esque scenery. The most genuine charms of the true Chengdu local are concentratedly showcased to visitors via sounds, projections, objects, collages and other unique formats.
Listen and Learn
For out-of-towners that have not yet mastered the essences of the Chengdu dialect, stay sharp because the metal plaque here features all sort of Chengdu vernacular sayings. The metal plaque has been outfitted with earphones, through which visitors may listen to a wide range of sounds from the streets and alleys of the city. But keep in mind the volume in these headphones have been dialed up like loud speakers, so listen close but not too close.
Vistas of Chengdu
After "listening" about Chengdu, now it's time to watch. Opposite the Listen and Learn is the Vistas of the Chengdu, peek into the little holes and watch soundless displays about the clothing, dining, accommodation and commute of the city. Nearby are sketches of distinct Chengdu sceneries like the "southern bridge of Dujiangyan".
See these drawers? Yank them out! A plethora of play things common among China's "post-80ers" and "post-90ers" can be found here, from little battery-powered race cars and Chinese comics to "bamboo dragonfly" hand-spun helicopters and glass beads, all the pebbles and bricks that lay out memory lane. In particular, the drawer structure design endows a sense of "opening an old treasure trove," and perhaps pulling out your own drawer upon returning home might turn into a one-of-a-kind "archaeological excavation" that will yield new discoveries.
The Living Fragrance sector is dedicated to teaching visitors on-site how to best enjoy Jinjiang District. The map here shows you the location of the popular spots throughout the district, including quite a number of delicious eateries. From photography fans to hard-core foodies, just find the map, take a pic of it, and then go on and find the best that Jinjiang has to offer.
After strolling through the half of Dachuan Alley filled with Chengdu charms, it's time to stroll through the other half of Dachuan Alley which is full of trendy elements. Bars, coffee shops, galleries and hip merchandisers line this part of the alley, forming a striking contrast against the other half, just like the dualistic life of the city.
Unlike other specialist bars, the establishments here at Dachuan Alley are more like generalists that sell a lot of stuff, and everything from craft beer and hot cocoa to coffee and braised chicken feet might co-exist under the same roof in an organic and holistic manner. For those looking for an artisanal brew, check out the two dozen or so craft beers at Lay Bricks. Even those new to craft brews need not worry, the amiable owner here loves to chat, so relax, sip on a pint and learn something new while gnawing on some chicken feet (or peanuts or edamame if you prefer). For wine enthusiasts, make a trip to the well-stocked Le Wine Bar, especially on Wednesdays because ladies can drink free of charge. However, there is not much to munch on other than sandwiches, so remember not to bring an empty stomach or bring your own snacks. In addition, other visit-worthy joints include coffee house and Japanese ceramic-seller He Jing Wu, the lounge-like Bar Chill that features a smoke-free section, and the Ye Magic lounge, which requires and totally deserve a reservation for its point blank range magic performances.
Prior to the opening of the alley, a score of artists from all over the globe were invited to realize their imaginations on-site, and today visitors may further relish in arts at the Dali Gallery. Founded by three returned overseas Chinese youngsters, patrons may enjoy afternoon tea and an oil painting lesson at a very reasonable price, as well as original pieces and signed works from Dali. For those interested in cultural and creative products, there is a wide selection of goods like canvas bags and coffee bugs.
Although I must admit that I didn't become a Star Wars fan until Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but who wouldn't recognize the two black-and-white figures of the Stormtrooper and Darth Vader that stand guard by a door at Dachuan Alley? Behind said door is a shop that sells a limited but coolly curated array of hip merchandises, like the Sun Wukong "Monkey King" hung on the wall behind Ironman that is opposite to the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars near a model of the German Tiger heavy tank. Whatever genre of interest, enthusiasts will probably find something exciting. I couldn't resist a model of the Vought F4U Corsair WWII era fighter, after my bid for the Millennium Falcon was disappointingly rejected because the famous starship is only for display and not for sale.
The trendy merchant is located at the other end of Dachuan Alley, but that does not mean the journey is over. Here at the western end is a huge, luxuriant wall that is perfect for pictures. Keep walking to Qinglian Street for another wall of fame, this time the ruins of the ancient east gate of Chengdu.
Let's end this edition of the Chengdu Helper with the super-large models of DC's Deathstroke, which is the prototype of Marvel's Dead Pool. Don't ask me about the price, I didn't dare ask myself.