Guide to Shopping in Shanghai

Shanghai is known for it’s fast paced development in China. It is not only more Westernized than other provinces, but it also offers more Western amenities, restaurants, shopping plazas, and the like for tourists and residents alike to enjoy. Included in many of the big shopping centers are places to buy Western products, and smaller more exotic gifts and goods if that is what you are looking for. Below are some of the best shopping areas in all of Shanghai including clothes, electronics, toys, home decor, gifts, and other types of souvenirs. Not only that, but each of the following are surrounded by some of the most colorful and flavorful restaurants and sites in Shanghai. The shopping sites here aren’t generally traditional gifts, although you can find them in these spots. However, each of these spots surrounds many of Shanghai’s sightseeing spots which sport excellent traditional shopping. *For additional traditional gifts, it is highly recommended to visit Yu Garden and the surrounding streets.

1. First is Xujiahui, this hotspot is easily reached by subway using line one. The Xujiahui station alone provides enough entertainment for nearly half the day. With many different exits leading up to the street, each exit is accompanied by a barrage of small venders and large department like stores. There is a section devoted wholly to clothing, shoes, and accessories, one for electronics, and still more for restaurants, souvenirs, foreign foods, and home decor. The restaurants range from caf�© style dinning to Japanese cuisine. In the electronics department you can find anything from mp3 players to laptop computers, stereos, and cell phones. Although this section is generally packed with people trying to get bargains on the latest technology for a fraction of the price, it is well worth a look. Generally, you can find some great items for even better prices. The same goes for the fashion section, although less crowded, the people here are a bit more hip. The clothes are mostly aimed toward the younger college aged generation. However there is a little something for everything there. Leaving the subway station puts you right in the center of Xujiahui where there is a KTV (karaoke), many different and classy restaurants (not all being expensive), and many opportunities to pick up new clothes, and other unique gifts.

2. Nanjing road or Nanjing lu as it is called in Chinese, is a popular walking street. You can expect this street to be crowded during the peek tourist times. Yet despite this, it has a lot of offer. Nanjing lu, offers an interesting sight for the eyes with its combination of old and new architecture. The shopping is like any street mall, filled with books, dvds, clothes, accessories, some fantastic restaurants, and additionally it has many places to pick up traditional Chinese snacks and trinkets. Nanjing Lu also leads directly to the famous Bund area where you can see many international buildings, and view Pudong on the other side of the Huangpu river.

3. Shanxi Lu is a highly versatile shopping area. Some paths lead to low price bargain shopping, and I do mean bargain. In the market one should remember to “haggle” in order to get the best deals, and although this may seem like a hassle, one can walk away with the best deal in Shanghai if they are persistence enough. On the other hand, there are pricey and upper-class shops lining the street which also serves as a great place to window shop. Here you can find just about anything from gorgeous gowns to traditional teas and spices. The surrounding area is also filled with interesting and unique shops, several being a hip t-shirt shop (very original in Shanghai), an electronics and anime shop, and a low price cd/dvd shop. All of which offer excellent shopping guaranteed. Additionally, Shanxi and the surrounding area offer a great view of Shanghai. Some streets look older and more traditional, the houses are small and quaint. Whereas other streets remind one of the bustle of New York City. This street is highly recommended for all visitors.

4. Huai Hai Lu (Huai Hai Zhong Lu, meaning Huai Hai middle road) is another street easily accessible from subway line one. However, if one ventures to this spot plan to spend a lot of money. Huai Hai is an extremely classy, and thus pricey, area of Shanghai. Here many tourist or foreign businessmen shop, as it is mostly for those who can afford it. This street is filled with architecture that is highly modern and bares little resemblance to the more charming old parts of town. However, in contrast, the light lined street is beautiful at night, and Huai Hai boasts one some of the best restaurants in Shanghai, and certainly some popular clubs. If you’re not looking to spend money, window shopping at the Hong Kong Plaza can be a fun and interesting experience.

5. People’s Square Underground Market. This area is, as formerly stated, in the famous People’s Square in Shanghai. If the sightseeing attractions don’t lead you to this spot already, perhaps the shopping will. Near the subway station, right as you exit, there is an underground shopping mall that the youth of Shanghai nearly dominate. This spot is excellent for the younger shopper. All sorts of fashions can be found here, as well as quick and easy dining, and a decent arcade. The shops are similar to those in Xujiahui, however there is a bit more variety for men as well as women, and the clothes are somewhat more unique as they generally differ from those offered in surrounding shops. There are also some Japanese fashion shops where one can pick up the latest in J-pop fashion or have something tailor made. Overall this is a good place to stop in for some shopping, but seeing as how there are hundreds of little shops, it is best to set aside a good portion of time to look through them.

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