The Best Shopping in Shanghai

Shanghai is an adventurous shopper’s wonderland—here you’ll find everything from vintage Communist propaganda to ceramic paperweights shaped like dim sum. Bargain hunters and fashion-forward travelers will be in their element, too: You can grab expertly tailored suits and trendy Feiyue sneakers for scary cheap prices. No matter what you’re into, here’s where to shop.

207 Fumin Rd, Jingan Qu, China, 200085
Hunting for made-in-China souvenirs more Etsy than kitschy? Madame Mao is the spot! Check out the alphabet tote bags from Pinyin Press, cloisonné snuff bottles by Piling Palang, vibrant wrapping paper by Paper Tiger, and quirky jewelry from the young Shanghai designer Shin. If you’re into vintage finds more than handmade items, browse the extensive collection of Communist propaganda posters from the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. While the large framed images can be expensive, the postcards and photographs are affordable and can be tucked away in every suitcase.
183 Anfu Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200085
Deng Bing Bing started his line of ceramic, cloisonné and lacquer home goods after he spent a decade in Melbourne. Traditional Chinese designs incorporate playful details and vibrant colors, blending Eastern and Western styles seamlessly. Scoop up ceramic trays, bowls painted with acrobats and beautiful cloisonné tiffin carriers.

360 Kangding Road
You don’t know you need a paperweight shaped like a dumpling until you see it. Hidden behind sliding doors on an unassuming street corner in Shanghai‘s Jing’an District, Spin is the best place in the city to buy modern Chinese ceramics. The shop works with artists in Jingdezhen, China’s porcelain capital, to make original, limited-edition works of art at competitive prices, from a small porcelain and wood display table to delicate celadon-green teacups and dainty chopstick rests shaped like chili peppers. Spin ships worldwide at a reasonable cost, so you don’t have to worry about lugging a vase the size of a small child through Asia.
637弄24号 Changle Road
Blue Nankeen Exhibition Hall’s name is a bit misleading. There’s a display upstairs explaining how nankeen cloth is starched and hand-dyed a rich shade of indigo, but this is primarily a place to pick up beautiful textiles, clothing, and accessories. Nankeen, also known as blue calico, originates from Nanjing, China’s onetime capital (nanjing means “southern capital”). You’ll find it used here in mandarin-collar shirts for both men and women, pint-size tea dresses for little girls, soft-soled slip-on shoes, hats, and bags. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can even buy fabric by the meter. No discounts.
56 Shaoxing Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
Shanghai’s arts and crafts enclave, Tianzifang, is a labyrinth of narrow lanes bursting with diminutive shops, restaurants, and bars. Most of the shops here are located inside shikumen, stone gatehouses dating to the early 1930s. Gear up for your shopping spree with a coffee alfresco at Kommune before checking out Xingmu Handicraft’s gorgeous handmade leather notebooks or Shanghai Code’s vintage Chinese glasses and watches. Pick up delicate stationery at Dongxi Workshop, Shanghai‘s very first boutique, and head to Sky Music Box for—you guessed it—music boxes from all over the world.
506 Jianguo W Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
This French Concession tailor shop specializes in bespoke and made-to-measure menswear. Come here to get fitted for suits, blazers, and overcoats for a fraction of what it would cost in the States. Germain’s tailors were trained in Japan and Europe, and its fabric selection, sourced from England, Italy, China, and Japan, is expansive, with a whopping 1,000 choices of natural fibers like cotton, wool, and linen. Custom suits start from approximately $530. Bespoke shirts, in which you choose the fabric weight, pattern, and cuff and collar style, start from about $75.
17 Dongping Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
Gaze down at Shanghai denizens’ feet, and you’ll see many pairs of canvas sneakers emblazoned with the word Feiyue. You can pick up your own pair at Culture Matters, a pint-size second-floor shop offering Feiyues in dozens of styles and colors. The homegrown brand dates back to the 1920s, when canvas shoes with a supple rubber bottom were first produced in Shanghai. It wasn’t until two decades later that the shoes, popular in martial arts because of their flexible sole, got the name Feiyue, meaning “to fly across.” The street-style staples retail in Europe for as much as $71—but at Culture Matters, the original black and white models cost a fraction of that, and you can even have them custom painted!
250弄 Anfu Road
Shanghai-based shoe company Feiyue means “flying forward” in Chinese. Around since the 1920s, these lightweight sneakers became the shoe of choice by kung fu fighters in the 1930s. In fact, rumor has it that nearly 80% of kung fu fighters today still wear Feiyues for training. But it’s not just martial artists you’ll find sporting these kicks. They’ve been popular footwear for ages and have even started popping up in boutiques and outlets around the world. Why not buy them at the source?
Changshou Road, Putuo, Shanghai, China
For something beautiful, unique and quintessentially Chinese, you’ll want to pick up a yak-wool knit from Shokay. This incredible social enterprise works with yak farmers in Western China to teach them how to harvest the finest down from their yaks. From here the wool is sent to a group of trained spinners who work their magic, turning the down into the most luxurious, soft yarn. Further transformed into elegant wraps, scarves, jewelry, hats, mittens, throws and pillows, Shokay’s collection offers perfect locally-made, ethically-sourced, beautiful gifts to take home. Store Location: InShop, 1605 West Nanjing Road (Just above JingAn Temple Metro Station, Line 7/Gate 10). Tucked back on aisle “D”, you’ll find Shokay’s pieces in an open space boasting a collection of Shanghai-based designers and labels. And for a true adventure, SHOKAY has transformed its knitting cooperative on Chongming Island into an open textiles workshop. Just over an hour away from Shanghai, the creative space welcomes visitors to spend the afternoon relaxing, joining in knitting classes, or custom ordering hand knit pieces from yak down. For more information, visit their website.
1221 Changle Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200085
Combining the purity of natural elements with traditional Chinese wisdom, Ba Yan Ka La has developed a line of skincare, hair care, and other beauty products that are both carefully sourced and expertly blended. Ba Yan Ka La means “Mountain of Abundance” and it’s the namesake of the range in Qinghai (Western China) where the company sources its water, drawing from the mountain’s pristine glacial springs. Chock-full of ingredients like lotus seed, Tibetan roseroot, and Chinese mulberry, their product list is not only unique but thoughtful.
221 Changle Rd, Lu Wan Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200085
Whether you decide to buy one off the rack or get a custom-made qipao (recommended), these figure-hugging dresses are arguably the most iconic fashion piece for females around China, and sexy to boot. If you opt to visit a tailor (which I really suggest that you do!), the selection of fabrics and details will ensure you’ll be able to customize your dress to fit your body and your style. Now, that’s a great souvenir.
Liuhekou Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
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.
399 Lujiabang Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200010
Shanghai tailors are the best in the world, says fashion designer Christy Holzer, whose label, Dowry Designs, was inspired by the city. She suggests visiting the South Bund fabric market to order custom garments. DRESS: STALL 308 “A fun style to wear is the qipao [a centuries-old Chinese dress that got its form-fitting shape in the 1920s]. Traditional silk patterns make the garment look old, so request a solid-color silk.” SUIT: STALL 309 “If you want truly exceptional fabric, ask for 100 percent wool. Most of the wool fabrics they have are blends. Specify that they line your suit with 100 percent silk or cotton.” COTTON SHIRT: STALL 310 “Look at the buttons the tailors are planning to use, as they often choose cheap ones. If you don’t like the buttons, stop by a button stall at the market; it will be worth the extra investment.” Illustration by Michael Hoeweler.
300 Luban Rd, DaPuQiao, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200023
A shutterbug’s dream come true: two buildings of several floors each house any camera, lens, or piece of photography equipment you could ever want. From brand-new DSLRs to vintage Hasselblads and everything in between, this behemoth market is likely to have whatever you may be looking for, or hold surprises you didn’t even know existed. Tip: keep an eye out for a few original Seagulls manufactured in Shanghai.
1号 Huaihai Middle Road
For all things tech, head over to the cybermart on Huaihai Lu. With three floors of gadgets, there’s little you won’t find here in the way of wired toys. For an extra memory stick, thumb drive or cable, this is the place to pick it up. But if you’re looking for a bargain on big name electronics, you might be disappointed, as import costs rack up prices. Nonetheless, if you want to power up and play, this is the place to come. Open 10am - 8pm daily
518 Zhongshan W Rd, HongQiao, Changning Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
With over 150 vendors offering up aromatic leaves, you can sip and shop your way through this multi-floor tea market. Beyond tea, there are a number of vendors selling handmade ceramics and other tea-related necessities and accessories. Open daily from 9:30am- 8:30pm
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