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The ultimate shopping guide to Shanghai

No trip to Shanghai is complete without shopping. The city is home to all manner of experiences, and this ranges from gleaming malls lined with high-end luxury stores, to small shops with handmade artisanal crafts for your perfect souvenir of the city.

Little wonder then that the cosmopolitan wonderland has been nicknamed the “Oriental Paris”. Nanjing Road — arguably China’s most famous shopping belt — is a 5.5km stretch of pure shopping paradise, and is one of the world’s busiest shopping streets. On the other end of that spectrum sits Duolun Road, Shanghai’s cultural haven featuring historic architecture and art museums. Expect to encounter fine old houses that hawk precious antiques, curios, and art in Duolun Road.

There’s certainly something for everyone here. Whether you’re raring for a no-holds-barred spree or simply a leisurely stroll down nostalgic nooks, here’s our ultimate shopping guide to Shanghai.

Tianzifang

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Tianzifang might be in a lesser-known location compared to the nearby Xintiandi, but the tourist shopping area in the Old French Quarter still manages to draw a crowd looking for the trendiest boutiques and craft shops in the city.

The labyrinth of traditional Shanghai alleyways here might be confusing to navigate, so expect an adventure from the minute you step under the street’ stone archway that welcomes visitors. Lane 210 is an amazing place for the artistically inclined to absorb some creativity. Here, you’ll find renowned Chinese artist Chen Yifei’s studio, which had been converted from two abandoned factory buildings.

Lane 248 is where the action’s at if you’re looking to bring home memories of your trip; you’ll find everything from gaudy souvenirs to traditional Chinese clothing, such as silk fans and quirky local novelties.

If you’re looking to grab a good cuppa, the artsy area also offers a plethora of cafes to rest after a long day of shopping. Check out Cafe Dan, a cosy and rustic three-storey cafe that’s also tucked away in Lane 248. Their original blended coffees are worth a try, and come with unique names such as “Shanghai Confidential”, “First Love” and “Caribbean Breeze” for an element of kitsch that’s worthy of its location.

Café Dan opening hours: 9 am to 12 am daily
Address: Lane 210, Taikang Rd, Huangpu District, China

Nanjing Road

(Image credit: He Lihuo/Unsplash)

Nanjing Road is one of Shanghai’s main shopping streets, stretching from The Bund to Jing’An temple. A blend of modern malls and historical buildings define the area, which is divided into two ends: East and West.

For the ultimate shop-till-you-drop experience, head to the Shanghai No.1 Department Store on the East end. This is the first ever department store in the city and it is an eight-storey wonderland housing notable fashion and beauty brands. Over on the western end, the HKRI Taikoo Hui is another massive shopping mall with a 250-store directory, as well as one of the world’s largest Starbucks outlets.

Shangahi No.1 Department Store opening hours: 9.30 am to 10pm daily
HKRI Taikoo Hui opening hours: 10 am to 10pm daily
Address: Nanjing Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China

Xintiandi

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Xintiandi, which translates into “New World”, is a popular hangout for both young locals and tourists. It’s conveniently situated in the middle of Shanghai Town and south of Huahai Zhong Road, with stone alleys that are flanked with traditional Shikumen houses.

This pedestrian-only road is divided into the South and North Block; the former is a more modern environment with contemporary architecture and glass walls, while the latter is composed of traditional buildings. Look out for the edgy garments offered by multi-concept store, Alter, or shop creations by graduates at Shanghai’s biggest fashion college — the Raffles Design Institute — at Raffles Privato.

Alter opening hours: 10 am to 10 pm daily
Address: 245 Madang Road, Luwan District, Shanghai, China

Duolun Road Cultural Street

(Image credit: Wikimedia)

Situated in Shanghai’s Hongkou District is Duolun Road, a historic street that now doubles up as a cultural precinct. Once home to China’s top poets and writers, the area is now lined with jade shops, galleries, cafes, and teahouses, each offering an authentic slice of Shanghai’s rich culture.

Sporting architecture that dates back to the 1920s also means that this L-shaped pedestrian street is also chock-full of photo opportunities. If you’re an avid collector of Chinese paraphernalia, look out for Dashanghai, a tiny shop that stocks up on historical artifacts like posters, records, books and typewriters of yesteryear.

Dashanghai opening hours: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm daily
Address: Duo Lun Road, Hongkou District, Shanghai, China

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