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Expat Exchange - Best Markets in Shanghai 2024
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Shanghai, China

Best Markets in Shanghai

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: What are the best markets in Shanghai? In this article we highlight the best markets in Shanghai.

Shanghai, a bustling metropolis known for its modernity and rich cultural tapestry, offers a unique shopping experience for expats and digital nomads alike. The city's markets are a vibrant mix of the traditional and the contemporary, providing a glimpse into the local lifestyle while offering a variety of goods ranging from fresh produce to handcrafted souvenirs. Whether you're looking for the freshest ingredients, unique artisanal crafts, or the latest fashion, Shanghai's markets have something for everyone. Here are some of the best markets in Shanghai that you should not miss.

Tianzifang Market

Location: Lane 210, Taikang Road, Huangpu District
Type of Market: Arts and Crafts Market
Open: Daily, 10:00-21:00

Tianzifang has transformed from a traditional residential area into a lively arts and crafts enclave. This market is a labyrinth of narrow alleys, with old Shikumen houses converted into boutique shops, galleries, cafes, and bars. It's a place where the charm of old Shanghai meets the creativity of its contemporary artists and entrepreneurs.

We Recommend: Exploring the unique art studios and picking up some handmade crafts or custom-made jewelry as a memorable keepsake from your time in Shanghai.

Dongtai Road Antique Market

Location: Dongtai Road, Huangpu District
Type of Market: Antique Market
Open: Daily, 10:00-17:00

Although much smaller than it once was, Dongtai Road Antique Market is still a treasure trove for those interested in Chinese antiques and cultural relics. Here, you can find items ranging from Mao-era memorabilia to ancient porcelain, although the authenticity of some items may be questionable, so buyer beware.

We Recommend: Picking up some vintage Cultural Revolution propaganda posters or traditional Chinese tea sets, but remember to haggle for the best price.

South Bund Fabric Market

Location: 399 Lujiabang Road, Huangpu District
Type of Market: Fabric and Tailor Market
Open: Daily, 10:00-19:00

For those looking to have custom clothing made, the South Bund Fabric Market is the place to go. With hundreds of stalls selling a wide array of fabrics, you can get anything tailor-made here, from suits and shirts to dresses and traditional Chinese garments.

We Recommend: Having a tailor-made qipao (cheongsam) or suit crafted from your choice of fabric for a truly personalized addition to your wardrobe.

Yuyuan Bazaar

Location: 218 Anren Street, Huangpu District
Type of Market: Traditional Chinese Market
Open: Daily, 9:00-17:30

Adjacent to the famous Yuyuan Garden, Yuyuan Bazaar is a bustling marketplace set in a traditional Chinese architectural style. It's a great place to find souvenirs, taste local snacks, and immerse yourself in a festive atmosphere, especially during Chinese holidays.

We Recommend: Sampling some of Shanghai's famous street food, like xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) or stinky tofu, and picking up some intricate paper-cutting artwork.

AP Plaza (Xinyang Market)

Location: Inside the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum Metro Station, Pudong District
Type of Market: Indoor Bargain Market
Open: Daily, 10:00-19:00

AP Plaza, also known as Xinyang Market, is a haven for bargain hunters. Located underground, this market is famous for its wide range of goods, including clothing, accessories, electronics, and souvenirs. Be prepared to haggle, as initial prices are often inflated.

We Recommend: Picking up some knock-off designer goods or custom-made t-shirts with your own design or text.

Shanghai Flower and Bird Market

Location: Multiple locations, including 417 Xizang South Road, Huangpu District
Type of Market: Flower and Pet Market
Open: Daily, 10:00-18:00

Shanghai's Flower and Bird Markets are a delightful experience for nature lovers. These markets offer a wide variety of plants, flowers, and pet supplies. It's also a place to see some of the local hobbies in action, such as cricket fighting and bird keeping.

We Recommend: Taking home a potted bonsai tree or a vibrant bouquet of fresh flowers to brighten up your living space.

Qipu Road Clothing Market

Location: Qipu Road, Zhabei District
Type of Market: Wholesale Clothing Market
Open: Daily, 9:00-18:00

Qipu Road, often referred to as "Cheap Road," is the largest wholesale and retail clothing market in Shanghai. With multiple buildings and hundreds of vendors, you can find a vast selection of apparel at very low prices. It's a great place for fashion-forward nomads on a budget.

We Recommend: Scouring the market for trendy outfits and accessories, but be sure to try things on as sizes can vary significantly.

Shanghai Antique and Curio Store

Location: 457 West Nanjing Road, Jing'an District
Type of Market: High-End Antique Market
Open: Daily, 9:30-18:00

For those with a taste for the finer things, the Shanghai Antique and Curio Store offers a more upscale shopping experience. This state-run store is known for its authentic and high-quality antiques, including jade, bronze, and porcelain pieces.

We Recommend: Investing in a piece of exquisite Chinese porcelain or a beautifully carved jade ornament, complete with a certificate of authenticity.

Each of these markets offers a unique slice of Shanghai life and is a must-visit for expats and digital nomads looking to explore the city's diverse shopping scene. Whether you're in search of a bargain, a unique gift, or just a fun way to spend the day, Shanghai's markets are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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