Top Shanghai Markets

The term "market" is flexible, and in Shanghai, it applies to vendors selling virtually the same thing all under one roof, or in one open section of space. Unlike the Western sense of competition, the Chinese believe that if you are all selling the same thing, you'll attract more customers. Fair enough.

Indeed, this makes life easy for the shopper. Want pearls? Go to the pearl market. Want fabric? Go to the fabric market. Want crickets? You guessed it, go to the cricket market. Just remember your bargaining skills! You'll need them in the markets of Shanghai.

01 of 13

Pearl's Circles, Wholesale Pearl and Stone Market

Pearl Market
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​Let fantasy be your guide. For pennies, you can design jewelry to your heart's content. Every vendor will have loads of ready-made jewelry for you to look over but you can also design your own with wholesale freshwater pearls, seawater pearls, natural stones, and crystals. Just wait a few minutes and they'll string everything for you as you watch. Remember the golden rule: bargain, bargain, bargain!

First Asia Jewelry Plaza, 3rd floor, 288 Fuyou Lu

02 of 13

Shanghai Shiliu Puhong Qixiang Cloth Market

Textiles in shanghai market
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168 Dong Men Lu, Huang Pu Qu, Shang Hai Shi, China, 200010

This market is very similar and similarly priced to the other fabric market on the list, but is much quieter and has a lot fewer foreigners standing around looking confused. You'll find three floors of tailors and fabric: Cashmere, silk, linen, wool, and cotton. Many vendors speak a bit of English but if you're having something complicated made, it's best to take along someone who can speak a bit of Chinese.

168 Dongmen Road, not far from Yuyuan Garden

03 of 13

Flower, Bird, Fish, and Insect Market

View of bamboo bird cages in the flower, bird, cricket, and fish market in the old part of Shanghai, China.
Patrick Donovan/Getty Images
6F7Q+V3G, Huang Jia Que Lu, 老西门 Huang Pu Qu, Shang Hai Shi, China, 200021
Phone +86 21 6333 2226

Unless you're in the market for fighting crickets or grubs to feed your birdies, this is more of a gawk-stop than a real shopping trip. It's worth the trip for the weird and unusual and you'll get some great photos. You'll find a crazy ​maze of vendors selling pets and supplies. The bugs are really the main attraction.

Tibet Road at Fuxing Road (just a few minutes walk from Dong Tai Road)

04 of 13

Shanghai Optical Glasses Market

Shopping for glasses in China
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452 Qing Yun Lu, Zha Bei Qu, Shang Hai Shi, China, 200081

​Most people can afford one pair of glasses every few years. You wear them so long that your friends have to tell you that round Harry Potter glasses are really, truly out. Those days are over. One trip to the Shanghai Optical Market and you'll have new face furniture for every outfit with 2 floors within a shopping mall full of nothing but glasses.

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05 of 13

Weekly Friday Muslim Street Market

Friday muslim market in shanghai
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China, Shang Hai Shi, Pu Tuo Qu, 常德路1328弄3号 邮政编码: 200061
Phone +86 21 6277 2076

This is an interesting place to see some non-Han Chinese culture. It's a small area of a street with roadside vendors gathered selling Muslim foods and products. Check out the different offerings, sample some street food and even have a wander around the mosque. Most of the vendors come from Xinjiang Province and their cuisine is very different from eastern China. Folks are friendly but don't speak a lot of Mandarin - hand signals and smiles are useful. Ask before taking photos. The market is open weekly on Fridays from morning until afternoon. It's best to go in mornings before lunchtime to catch all vendors.

In front of the Huxi Mosque, 1328 Changde Lu, near Aomen Lu, Northern Jing'an District

06 of 13

Tianshan Tea Market

Assorted Chinese tea in open market
Nash Photos/Getty Images
China, Shang Hai Shi, Chang Ning Qu, 中山西路520号 邮政编码: 200050

If you want to get all your tea shopping done in one place, this is the place. It's a 3-story market full of Chinese tea. If you can, take along a Chinese speaker. None available? No problem, allow yourself plenty of time. Arm yourself with a dictionary and go sample tea. Shop owners are extremely friendly. Don't be afraid to touch, smell, and ask for tastes. Most will invite you in to have a cup of tea, smell the wares and browse at will. The first two floors are all tea, the third floor is a mix of tea and curios. You'll find everything from Long Jing green tea, Yunnan Province Pu'er tea, jasmine, and oolong, everything is here.

07 of 13

Caojiadu Flower Market

Flowers at a Shanghai market
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China, Shang Hai Shi, Pu Tuo Qu, Wan Hang Du Lu, 万航渡后路33 邮政编码: 200042
Phone +86 21 5239 7777

Go to see the flower culture of China with two floors of flowers, both live and fake. There are also gifts available. Especially during Chinese New Year, the flowers and plants are just amazing.

08 of 13

Mu Lan Hua Ge Antique, Curio and Junk Warehouse

antique pocket watches, Shanghai
casper shaw image/Getty Images

Make sure you visit this market with plenty of time. A few well-spent hours digging through the piles in this enormous warehouse crammed floor-to-ceiling with old furniture, ceramics, and junk will surely yield some amazing treasures. 

No. 1788-A Ji Yang Road, near Shang Pu South Road

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09 of 13

Hongqiao New World Pearl Market

Hong Qiao Pearl Market
Jon Hicks/Getty Images
Hongmei Lu 3721, 长宁区 China, 201103
Phone +86 21 6262 6588

The market is a little out of the way for the normal tourist who is staying downtown, but if you have time since they are open until late evening, make the trip out. Like Pearl's Circles, vendors have ready-made items for you to buy, but you can do your own designing. Freshwater pearls are a real value in China.

Hong Mei Road on the corner of Hongqiao Road

10 of 13

Yatai Xinyang Fashion and Gift Market

Cropped Hand Holding Animal Bags At Market
Thai Yuan Lim/EyeEm/Getty Images
2002 Shi Ji Da Dao, Pu Dong Xin Qu, Shang Hai Shi, China, 201204

​What happened to Xiang Yang market? After that famous "fake" market closed its gates in 2006, many vendors relocated to Yatai Xinyang. This is a great place to buy inexpensive souvenirs: Shanghai t-shirts, chopsticks, toys, jewelry, cushion covers, and pashminas. Let the buyer beware: when it comes to fakes, you get what you pay for (and you probably paid too much).

Science and Technology Museum Metro Stop (Metro Line 2), Pudong

11 of 13

Shanghai South Bund Fabric Market

Tourists shop for dresses in the South Bund Fabric Market, famous for fabrics and cutting suits, in Shanghai, China
Ryan Pyle/Corbis/Getty Images
China, Shang Hai Shi, Huang Pu Qu, 董家渡陆家浜路399号 邮政编码: 200010

​Here you can make your couture dreams come true with three more floors of fabric and tailors. Great values are qipaos, cashmere coats, and men's shirts. Almost every stall has its own tailor who can whip up whatever you want in about a week. Your best bet is to have something you like copied over in your new fabric. Clothing made from photos or descriptions yield mixed (mostly bad) results. If you can, bring a Chinese speaker with you. Some tailors do speak English.

399 Lujiabang Road (near the Bund)

12 of 13

Nihong Children's Clothing Market

toy shop china
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
2865 Long Hua Lu, Xu Hui Qu, Shang Hai Shi, China, 200232

​If it's cheap kids' clothing or toys you're looking for, hit this market. Sometimes you have to dig around for sizes and quality but there are some good finds, especially for babies and girls. Some vendors sell brand-name clothing such as Ralph Lauren, Jacadi, Gant, Janie & Jack, etc. Toys are a good bargain here, especially if you need to stock up on little surprises for the airplane.

Northwest corner of Pu'an Road at Jinlin Road

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13 of 13

Upholstery and Bedding Market

silk shop China
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China, Shang Hai Shi, Jia Ding Qu, 曹安路1618号轻纺市场3158号 邮政编码: 201824

This market is a great place to order custom-made bedding like those silk duvet blankets at a fraction of what you pay in the Suzhou silk markets. Custom-made sheets and bedding and upholstery fabric are all good value here.

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Top Shanghai Markets