Updated: Jul 29, 2019
Shanghai is a shopping mecca! With most of our goods outsourced from China, what more would you expect but an overwhelming amount of boutiques, shopping malls, and quite frankly just OPTIONS!!!
Shanghai definitely has a lot to offer for every type of shopper.
From the budget shopper who has the patience of a saint to the hipster, looking for unique pieces to add to their collection of treasures. And if you know Chinese tourists, we can't forget ALL the luxury shopping! There is MONEY in China and they love to flex.
I'm going to break all the shopping musts sees, including tips, so you know exactly how to navigate shopping in Shanghai.
Did I mention you may need to buy an extra suitcase?! (I did!) Pack light you're going to want to bring home A L O T !
Be sure to check out the full shopping experience vlog on my Youtube channel along with the full haul of everything I bought. And while you're at it don't miss all the other things I explored while in China.
Okay let's get into it:
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU JET
Do not be shy to haggle!! I've gotten alot of sh*t for haggling prices in the past, but it has to be noted that they expect you to bargain, as they purposely leave room in the price for negotiation. This is especially true at some of the wholesale markets in China. Its haggle or get ripped off. Stores at the mall and luxury stores are more firm on a fixed price.
Most locals do not speak English! So be ready to show prices on your phone's calculator while you are haggling. Also download the app iTranslate it helps out immensely! You can type in what you're trying to communicate and show them.
Another app that will help is the Currency Exchange. You can set it for the Chinese Yuan so you know exactly what you're paying. The Yuan to dollar conversion is a bit difficult to do in my head (for me anyway) where 1 USD=6.87 Yuan. So its definitely handy!
Travel with cash. You can take Yuan (Chinese currency) out of the ATM once you're in Shanghai, but definitely pull out enough so you're not constantly needing to pull out more. The ATM fees will add up!
Some places in Shanghai don't take credit cards. So don't rely on them either.
The most popular form of payment that the locals use is WeChat + Alipay (essentially like Apple pay where they scan your phone). Some places don't even take cash so paying for things in China can get tricky, but don't stress too much about it. If you have cash, credit or WeChat you will be fine. As a foreigner you can download WeChat and link your bank account and you're able to use it. WeChat is a social networking app but also it is so much more than that! If you live in China you use it for everything!
Let's start this shopping excursion! Categorized by neighborhood.
One of the world's most famous shopping streets. It's a loooong road (almost 6 miles) that crosses straight through Shanghai. On East Nanjing Rd you'll find Shanghai stores that have been around forever as well as a mix of local and global brands... amongst a dense crowd of tourists and neon signs. On West Nanjing rd. you'll find high-end stores like Gucci and Tiffany's as well as stores like Muji and Zara.
Stand out stores:
I.T. BLUE BLOCK- located inside Hkri Taikoo Hui 兴业太古汇 shopping mall. Carries cool styles including fashion forward Korean line StyleNanda. Its so cute! Check it out
Nike Store- Coolest Nike store ever and also first ever house of innovation! Carries Shanghai only designed products. Quite the retail experience.
Etude House: Korean but we don't have one in the US and its such an epic makeup shopping experience.
Qipu Lu Market
Wholesale mart with levels (I mean LEVELS) of goods. Luckily each floor is designated to a speciality (kids, accessories, women's etc) The top levels are the best quality but also extremely logo'd. You will find all the replica's here but also other cool pieces.
Be prepared, it's not for the every day shopper. I think it takes a certain breed (And patience!) to go through everything. If you get overwhelmed at Forever21, this is NOT for you. Maybe stop by to get a laugh at the bad english and fakes like Supteme and Feezys.
For those who have patience and bargaining skills, you will find some diamonds at very good prices.
Former French Concession
One of my favorite parts of Shanghai to spend a day. Here you'll find lots of homegrown designers, independent boutiques and vintage shopping. Take your time walking through here there's so many good ones to call out. It's quite condensed.
Dong Liang- discover an array of fashion-forward Chinese designers all in one boutique.
Lolo Love Vintage: a cute vintage store that I found through this Vogue Article.
Tian Zi Fang -wander along this small alley with more boutiques in the Former French Concession area.
Huaihai Road- runs through Former French Concession and beyond
You'll find tons of international upscale brands here as well as Muji, Gentle Monster and more.
Feiyue- this famous Chinese canvas sneaker is what Converse is to Americans. They're resurrected the brand and its become a staple in streetwear. Cop yourself a pair and even get the customized in this boutique.
Also my favorite xiao long bao restuarant is located here.
No.18,lane 339, chang le lu ( 长乐路339弄18号 )
I was introduced to it on my Airbnb Experiences with Kaixin! Would highly recommend! She's so fun and knows good local food. Plus she's into fashion so worth chatting with her further.
If you haven't signed up with Airbnb yet, get $15 to use toward an experience here.
A shopping mall carrying lots of fashion forward designers from Shanghai as well as cool international brands. Def vibey as far as a retail experience goes. Its not your regular mall.
Maybe you'll be doing a lot of window shopping here like me, but its worth the trip! Lots of concept stores to appreciate if you love fashion!
You can find Uma Wang, famous Shanghai fashion designer's, boutique here.
Shanghai International Glasses Mall
3 stories of nothing but eye glasses and sunglasses. I ended up buying 3. Who knew they're so affordable here!! They do your eye exam for your prescription right then and there, and have your new glasses ready in 20-30 mins. Again bargain here. Even if you just add one or two more items they will give you a better deal. Most speak English.
South Bund Fabric Market
If you ever struggled with finding clothing that suits you perfect (haven't we all) I would suggest going to get you some tailored made threads. Unfortunately I was pressed for time once I found out about this market so head there at the start of your trip so they have enough time to finish your garments. They have denim specialists, suits specialists and again LOTS OF CHOICES just like with everything else in Shanghai. You can pick from an array of fabrics and all. A tip would be to bring clothes you'd want to have copied. I definitely wish I came earlier! Don't sleep on it sis.
Xing Guang Photography Equipment Center
6 floors of all things photography. From cameras to tripods and lighting. Each floor is dedicated to a speciality. Keep in mind not everyone speaks English and this mall can get overwhelming so have somewhat of an idea of what you want.
To pick up some souvenirs, this is your place. Located right outside the Yu Gardens you'll find this super crowded bazaar. Personally, not my cup of tea but definitely the place to go if you want specialty gifts like calligraphy, jade, buddha figurines and more. My favorite thing was picking up all the snacks and admiring the Ming Dynasty architecture.
As always I love to leave you with my Google Maps so you have everything in one place and you can easily plan your trip and where to stay. Google is blocked in Shanghai so unless you get a VPN you won't have access to it while traveling. I would suggest downloading before you get to China, so you have it offline and use Apple maps to navigate.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tune into my Shanghai IG stories highlight to see all these places in action