A Complete Guide to Shopping in Shanghai

The Best Markets, Shops, Tailors and More

lujiazui district and Shanghai bund at night,Shanghai,China
••• DANNY HU / Getty Images

You might be surprised to land in Shanghai and as you're being whisked from airport to hotel, you pass all the same brands you're familiar with at home...and then some. Shanghai has become one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet with shops and brands from all over the world. The largest Japanese Muji store in China just opened its doors and multi-story malls touting everything from Starbucks to Louis Vuitton dot nearly every neighborhood.

There are plenty of homegrown brands too and even while the Mom & Pop shops are being razed to make room for the latest multiplex multi-story shiny mall, there are still curio markets and super cool unique shops to be found if you know where to look.

While many shops and markets are obvious, you might not know where to go to buy what and you might not even realize what's available. The following shopping guides and lists will help you maximize your shopping time.

Warning: you may need to buy an extra suitcase at the end of your...MORE trip.

  • 01 of 09
    A tourist visits Shanghai
    ••• blue jean images/Getty Images

    Before you start shopping, read Bargaining 101: Eight Rules and Two Myths about Shopping in China first. While most shops in malls and many stand-alone boutiques are fixed-price, the prices in market stalls are almost always negotiable. You need to hone your skills before you begin shopping for your treasures.

  • 02 of 09

    Here's a little photo gallery of different traditional (and some non-traditional) Chinese items to pick up on your travels here. Most of the photos here were snapped at the Yuyuan Garden bazaar but the items can be bought from Shanghai to Chengdu, Yunnan to Beijing.

  • 03 of 09

    Shanghai boasts a number of markets spread all over the city - and not all of them are tourist traps. Locals go to markets too and you can pick up some great bargains - from pearls to bed linens.

  • 04 of 09

    Sometimes it's hard to see beyond the markets and when you don't have much time, markets are definitely a ​time-saver when it comes to shopping. But Shanghai has a growing number of independent boutiques and designers that you should check out. You can find a few treasures that aren't in the markets or the local import shop back home. It's nice to find something truly unique to bring home as a souvenir.

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  • 05 of 09

    Fuxing West Road offers some lovely boutiques to poke around in as well as a number of cafes and bars. You'll enjoy the walk down this tree-lined street that is actually rather quiet despite its location in the center of the city. It is also one of the best walks to include in a historic tour of Shanghai's former French Concession.

  • 06 of 09

    Shaoxing Road is one of my favorites in Shanghai's former French Concession. Combine a little walk down Shaoxing Road and then head to the alleys of Tianzifang on Taikang Road to enjoy more shopping.

    A small warning, Tianzifang used to be under the radar and rather secluded but it is now on the main warpath of many domestic tour companies so you might find it extremely crowded. Visit Tianzifang in the late afternoon when the tour crowds have mostly left for the day.

  • 07 of 09

    You can go to any of the fabric markets and get a decent suit made but if you're looking for exceptional quality using imported high-end fabric (at a fraction of what you'd pay back home), then visit W.W.Chan's.

  • 08 of 09

    You may be jetting into town for a quick business trip but there are still souvenir expectations back home. Check out the gift guides for some quick tips on what to buy family and friends.

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  • 09 of 09

    Hitting the pearl markets? Understand how to tell a fake from a real one and get the best value.