Gather your energy: you can shop til you drop in Shanghai. The city is packed with a temptation of department stores, shopping malls, fashion boutiques, souvenir shops and street markets where you can purchase just about everything. Good buys include antiques, Chinese-style furniture, silk clothing, arts, crafts and jewellery.
Start off along Nanjing Lu, China’s most famous shopping drag, with big shops at the eastern end and high-end boutiques, electronics stores and handicraft stores towards its western end. Locals, however, tend to gravitate towards Hauhai Zhong Lu for better prices and more interesting fashions.
Taikang Lu is good for accessories such as luxury handbags and designer silks. If you’re in Pudong district, check out huge malls such as Super Brand, IFC and Nextage. Collectables, curios and designer knock-offs can be found in street markets. Try Dongtai Lu Antiques Market, which has hundreds of stalls, Fuyou Market for curios and old Communist memorabilia, and Qipu Lu Wholesale Clothing Market for low-cost clothing.
Our top picks
Shanghai Antique & Curio Store
192246 Guangdong Lu
Even if you don’t buy, this enormous antiques store is a treasure-trove of goodies worth a walk-through. The government-run business has more sympathetic prices than touristy rivals, and runs the whole gamut of traditional Chinese arts, crafts and antiques, from enamel work to jade, ceramics to furniture, calligraphy to landscape scrolls. You can also buy small items such as wedding baskets and fans.
This Shanghai women’s and kids’ fashion label which employs an international design team has three stores and aims at eco-friendly, socially conscious but stylish fashions. Its ever-changing creations have diverse inspirations such as Asian art, old-time Shanghai, modern New York, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, meaning you can often find one-off pieces. Dresses are made from organic silks, cashmere, cotton and incredibly soft fabric made from bamboo. NuoMi also produces jewellery.
Shop like a local
Tian Shan Tea City
520 Zhongshan Xi Lu
This three-storey store is where locals go to buy their tea and, with some 150 stalls selling every tea China has to offer, there’s a mindboggling choice. Vendors will allow you to do a taste test. Some teas are beautifully packaged, making for fine presents for the folks back home.
South Bund Fabric Market
Instersection of Nancang Jie and Lujiabang Lu
This sprawling indoor market has hundreds of stalls flogging fabrics and textiles at low prices. You’ll find linen, cotton, wool and silk from China and Thailand. On-the-premises tailors snip and sew them into garments, though it’s best to bring your own pattern or picture.