Qingdao, a huge port city with an abundance of natural resources just offshore and within a few hours' journey inland, has much to offer the shopper. From antiques or the latest innovations in electronics to delicate folk-art shell carvings, sparkling Laoshan mineral water, authentic designer-label clothes to genuine knock-offs, Qingdao has it all. The question is: Where to start?
Many head to Zhong Shan Lu for its small family shops and boutiques, and tourist-friendly souvenir shops. Longshan Underground Market (Lóngshān Dìxià Shāngyè Jiē, 龙山地下商业街) branches off from Zhong Shan Lu beneath Xinhaoshan Park and is a good place to find clothing of all sorts.
If you're looking for fakes and cheap deals, try the Jimo Lu market toward the end of Zhong Shan Lu. For local handicrafts and antiques, the Culture Market near the Tsingtao Brewery in Tai Dong is a great place to pick up some unique souvenirs, from folk art to antiques (do be careful of paying full price for a well-crafted fake and always bargain hard). Of specific local interest are shell carvings, with shells being used to decorate wall hangings, accessories and all sorts of souvenirs.
Qingdao prides itself on the purity of its water (something that's becoming a rare commodity elsewhere in China), especially that which flows from Laoshan's famous spring. In addition to being used for brewed for Tsingtao, it is used to both nourish and brew Laoshan tea. Pick up some leaves to bring home and sample a few cups while in town.
Qingdao's Korea Town is the next-best thing to a trip across the Yellow Sea to Korea itself, and along with great restaurants, you'll find Korean products galore.
The Taidong Lu Pedestrian Street provides another mixed-use shopping and entertainment area and makes for excellent window shopping and people-watching on a balmy summer evening.
Finally, as a fast-globalizing city, you'll find yourself with easy access to international chains, from Starbucks to Carrefour, as well as rival regional names such as the Taiwanese Parksons Department Stores.
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