Row after row of booths are sprawled across this small part of Shanghai, just south of People's Square. Here, you can find pretty much anything you want, from tiny Mao statues, to old leather suitcases stacked 10 feet tall. Each vendor will be on you as soon as you approach their booth. They are quite polite, however, and will have a calculator or phone handy to show you the price for their items.
The catch is that the majority of these "antiques" are actually factory-made items, and most booths have similar items. The good part is that you have a really good chance of a low price if you bounce back & forth between booths that have the same items.
Shopping aside, this is also a great spot to see daily Shanghai life. Laundry hangs over your head, food trucks cruise up and down the rows, and the vendors socialize with each other when they are not selling items. This is a must for any visitor to Shanghai.
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From faux to vrai: Shanghai's notorious antique market
Formally called the "antique market," Dongtai Lu houses nothing anywhere close to authentic. Well, majority of it, anyway.
Many of the trinkets and souvenirs sold in the little street shops are replicas, so if you can't find a good deal at one shop, simply move onto the next. You will find some shops that specialize in certain items, such as old fashioned cameras, though I am no expert, such shops seem more authentic than the others that sell miscellaneous items.
There are some venders that sell birds, some that are kept as pets, then there are those that sell the occasional happy puppy, or two.
Tip: It may seem difficult to locate this street depending on where you enter it from. Ask locals for directions.
Just a few blocks south of People's Park, the Dongtai Lu Antique Market is an attraction not to be missed. Even if you aren't very interested in shopping, this is a wonderful place to get a sense of daily life in Shanghai.
The market sprawls across several city blocks, with row upon row of vendors. You'll notice pretty quickly that most vendors are selling the same "antiques." A lot of stuff may have even been built in a factory recently. Regardless, there are some neat items to sift through while you are there. Anything from Mao figurines, to vintage city maps, to engraved pieces of jade. And be aware that if you show the slightest bit of interest in something, the vendor might just follow you for a block trying to sell it to you!
And of course, you can grab some authentic Shanghainese street food as well! This food cart was serving out bowls of noodles to the vendors and tourists alike.