In 1904 Tianjin became the first city in China to have a public bus system. Most of the buses have been updated since then, though the prices are almost the same: 1 to 1.5 RMB per ride.
Instead of paying for expensive bus tours or taxis, try the public bus system instead. There are a number of ways to plan your trip:
-Use a VPN to get directions in English on Google Maps. Select the public transport option, and it will tell you which bus to take.
-Try Baidu Maps. It's in Chinese, but still easy enough to use. Plus, it's useful to learn the Chinese characters for a couple of major landmarks in the city. That has saved me from getting lost more than once.
-Bus stops. Some stops have English or a QR code to scan for routes. Generally, standing around looking helpless will get you an excited young person who's happy to help.
-Ask your hotel. It will only take a minute for a concierge to map your trip.
-Most buses have the start and end of the trip on the front in both Chinese and English. Just keep your eyes peeled and hop aboard. The worst that will happen is that you'll catch a slow bus.
Tianjin's streets are not on a grid, so be prepared to get turned around. Similar to Beijing, Tianjin has three "ring roads": Inner Ring Road (内环 neihuan), Middle Ring Road (中环 zhonghuan), and Outer Ring Road (外环 waihuan)