Shanghai is a bargain shopper's paradise, perfect for picking up keepsakes and gifts as well as practical stuff to help you along your way. With markets galore, you'll find just about anything you could possibly imagine—and plenty of things you can't!—so dive in and consume. Feed your shoe fetish, deck yourself out in pearls, release your inner designer, indulge in the—ahem—"designer" handbag you'd never buy otherwise. But always remember the golden rule: bargain, bargain and then bargain some more!
We've put together a rundown of 10 of our favorite markets in town so you can indulge in a budget blowout. You might want to pick up an extra suitcase for all the goodies you'll be hauling back home!
The most convenient of Shanghai's fake markets, there are several floors of stalls crammed into this building. Watches, bags, suitcases, clothing, shoes, jewelry, DVDs, computer software—it's all here.
Located under the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum metro station on line 2, this is an enormous warren of stalls selling all manner of replica designer fashion and accessories as well as the usual China memorabilia.
A mecca for local Chinese shoppers and bargain-hunting expats, Qipu Lu is not for the faint of heart. This is where many of the small boutiques you see elsewhere get their stock and it is chock-full of clothing, bags, shoes, accessories and jewelry, all at rock bottom prices.
The South Bund Fabric Market is the best known of Shanghai's cloth markets. There are three floors full of material to choose from, with most stalls also offering tailoring services. The tailoring can be hit or miss, especially when working from photos or images, so it's best to come armed with something you want copied. They're used to foreigners here and many stallholders speak a smattering of English, though you'll need to bargain hard for good prices.
Head here for prescription glasses for a fraction of the price opticians charge back home. There are several different malls in this area with nothing but eyeglasses—meaning literally thousands of frames to choose from and plenty of designer knockoffs.
An underground maze of goodies for that special little person in your life. This mall has clothes, toys, shoes and all kinds of baby-related stuff to spoil your kids rotten.
Great for picking up souvenirs and gifts, this street is filled with knickknacks, curios and "antiques" of questionable authenticity. Bargain hard as prices will start sky-high.
A great stop for pearl fiends. Though a little out of the way compared to the more central First Asia Jewelry Plaza, it makes up for this by being bigger and considerably calmer, though of course stallholders are still enthusiastic about getting your business. Pearls come in all shapes, colors and sizes and are of various quality. Freshwater pearls are most common and tend to be the best value. Be sure to bargain hard here and in the mini fake market downstairs.
9. Cybermart Electronics Market
A one-stop shop for all things electronic—you'll find all the laptops, printers, cameras and accessories you'll ever need.
10. Tianshan Tea City
A must for both tea connoisseurs and those who don't know their pu'er from their longjing—this is the place to head to discover, taste and purchase some of China's finest cha.