Through an analysis of Tibetan place-making in China’s Xining City, I argue that a focus on channeling in place-making provides a way to move beyond typical accounts of resistance and domination in urban spaces. In China’s frontier cities, an ethno-territorial institutional framework has resulted in the curtailment of how and where Tibetans and other ethnic minority groups may construct places. Furthermore, a nationwide urbanization project centered around the privatization of commodity housing and resulting in the hanification of the urban environment is producing a hegemonic urbanism that appears to be reducing urban difference. Yet Tibetans in Xining are channeling their place-making efforts to not simply fit in with or fight against urbanization, but to assert their own meanings and rhythms and satisfy their own place-making desires. In doing so they are learning how to navigate urban regulations and sensibilities while creating a rhizomatic network of urban places. The result is a piecemeal approach that has allowed a minority ethnic identity to thrive in the city through the creation of a diffuse but connected urbanism. Channeling highlights the careful path that marginal place-makers must tread as they find their way through territorial regulations and commercialism in the city. This research is based on seventeen months of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with forty-five Xining urbanites.