Shanghai is chock-a-block with places to spend money. The markup on luxury goods is extremely high in China, and even clothes at American chains are pricier here than in the States. Malls usually don't open until 10 am; boutiques open at 11 am. The upside is that chain stores tend to stay open later, with many closing at 10 pm. Independent shops close by 7:30 pm. Markets generally start earlier, at around 7:30 or 8 am, and close around 6 pm. Most stores are open seven days a week.

Yu Garden, a major tourist haunt in the Old City area of Shanghai, can be overwhelming, but if you’re looking for tchotchkes, hard bargaining brings rewards. Here is where you’ll find imitation jade, tiny Buddha statues, costume jewelry, scarves, and the like. Also check out these streets that specialize in specific traditional products: Fenyang Lu, in the French Concession, and Jinling Lu, west of the Bund, for musical instruments; Fuzhou Lu, between People’s Square and the Bund, in City Center, for books and art supplies, including calligraphy supplies; Changle Lu and Maoming Lu in the Former French Concession for qipao (Chinese-style dresses).

For a traditional massage, you’ll find hundreds of blind massage parlors, inexpensive no-frills salons whose blind masseurs are closely attuned to the body's soft and sore spots. At the other end of the spectrum lie the hotel spas, luxurious retreats where pampering is at a premium.

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  • 1. Brut Cake

    French Concession

    Taiwanese designer Nicole Teng's showroom is welcoming, with comfy oversize chairs (for sale), reclaimed wood, and quirky ceramic pieces on every surface. In addition to dinnerware and ceramic lampshades, Brut Cake sells beautiful handwoven and dyed fabrics.

    232 Anfu Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200031, China

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.
  • 2. Madame Mao's Dowry

    French Concession

    This shop claims its covetable collection of mostly propaganda items from the '50s, '60s, and '70s is sourced from the countryside and areas in Sichuan Province and around Beijing and Tianjin. Whether they're authentic is up for debate. Shelves and racks are filled with women's clothing from local and international designers. Look for beautiful wrapping paper from Paper Tiger and dish towels, notecards, and T-shirts from Pinyin Press; both are indie, Shanghai-based design companies. Although this could be your one-stop shopping experience, remember this is communism at capitalist prices.

    207 Fumin Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200040, China
  • 3. Piling Palang


    Designers Judy Kim and Bingbing Deng, who hails from Tianjin, founded their line of cheerful ceramics in Paris in 2010. Their Jing'An boutique is packed with bowls, vases, plates, trays, and beautiful cloisonné tiffin carriers in a rainbow of bright colors.

    1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200231, China
  • 4. Propaganda Poster Art Centre

    French Concession

    This small-but-mighty museum, housing a collection of Chinese propaganda posters from 1949 through the 1970s, has an equally impressive pint-size shop attached selling original and replica posters, postcards, and more excellent keepsakes for history buffs. Tip: the museum is a little hard to find, tucked away in the basement of a nondescript apartment compound, but on-site guards will point you in the right direction.

    868 Huashan Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China
  • 5. Spin


    Halfway between a gallery and a shop, Spin sells reasonably priced contemporary Chinese pottery handmade in Jingdezhen, China's pottery capital. Treasures include chopstick rests shaped like bone fragments and too-cute dim sum paperweights in a little bamboo steamer. The ceramics sell for a fraction of the price of what they go for in New York City, where they're available at venues like Bergdorf Goodman. Note that this shop was once closer to the city center but moved to the northern Zhabei district in 2018.

    538 Hutai Zhi Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200032, China
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  • 6. Alter


    Founded by fashionista Sonja Long Xiao in 2010, this multibrand shop was started as a reaction to the Chinese luxury market's focus on huge name megabrands. The store carries interesting, arty designer labels from around the world as well as Xiao's own in-house brand Rolling Acid. Even if you don't plan on buying, the layout and design of the store itself is provocative.

    245 Madang Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China
  • 7. Blue Shanghai White

    The Bund

    The eponymous colored ceramics here are designed and hand-painted by the owner and are made in Jingdezhen, once home to China's imperial kilns. Some larger pieces are made with wood salvaged from demolition sites around Shanghai.

    17 Fuzhou Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200002, China
  • 8. Brocade Country


    The English-speaking owner, Liu Xiao Lan, has a Miao mother and a broad knowledge of her pieces. The Miao sew their history into the cloth, and she knows the meaning behind each piece, some of which are collector's items. Antique embroidery can cost an arm and a leg, but smaller embroidery pieces are affordable and easy to slip into a suitcase. Ms. Liu has also started designing more wearable items.

    616 Julu Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200040, China
  • 9. Chou Chou Chic

    French Concession

    This irresistible French–Chinese children's-wear shop is your go-to when you’re looking to spoil your fashion-focused nieces and nephews. Think adorable qipaos and unique sweaters adorned with Chinese button knots.

    Lane 285, Taikang Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China
  • 10. Culture Matters

    French Concession

    Shanghai’s iconic sneaker brand, Feiyues, can get comparatively pricey when bought internationally, but in Shanghai, where they’re made, you can pick up a pair very cheaply. The classic designs are canvas with rubber soles, but there’s a variety of styles on offer, including felt models, rubber sneakers that are good for wet weather, an intricate line decorated with traditional Chinese drawings, and a cute collection for kids.

    206 Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200031, China
  • 11. Dong Liang

    French Concession

    For one-of-a-kind designs from up-and-coming (and a few well known) Chinese designers, carefully curated multibrand store Dong Liang is a stunning—albeit pricey—one-stop-shop.

    184 Fumin Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China
  • 12. Hu & Hu Antiques


    Co-owner Marybelle Hu worked at Taipei's National Palace Museum as well as Sotheby's in Los Angeles before opening this shop with her sister-in-law Lin in 1998. The bright, airy showroom contains Tibetan chests and other rich furniture as well as a large selection of accessories, from lanterns to mooncake molds. The prices are higher than their competitors', but so is their standard of service.

    601–38 Qingxi Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200335, China
  • 13. ifc Mall


    Like its Hong Kong sister, this shiny mall is packed with luxury goods stores. The basement food court has everything from octopus balls to Japanese-style crepes, as well as very expensive imported groceries. The upper levels are dotted with restaurants serving various fare, high in quality and in price. The Lujiazui station of metro Line 2 is inside the mall.

    8 Shiji Dadao, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200120, China
  • 14. Shanghai Foreign Language Bookstore

    The Bund

    You could while away an hour or two in this massive bookstore, which has a huge selection of English-language books for children and adults. The downside here is that there's so much, it's not always organized well, and few of the clerks speak English. Still, wander the floors, and you'll find new and back issues of magazines ranging from Vogue to NationalGeographic, and shelf upon shelf of novels and nonfiction books. Prices are higher than what you'd pay in the States but not terribly so.

    390 Fuzhou Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200020, China
  • 15. Shanghai Museum Shop

    City Center

    This selection of books on China and Chinese culture is impressive, and there are also some interesting children's books. Expensive reproduction ceramics are available, as are more affordable gifts like magnets, scarves, and notebooks.

    201 Renmin Dadao, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200003, China

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.
  • 16. Shanghai Tang

    French Concession | Clothing

    Cathay Mansion, 868 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200020, China
  • 17. Shanghai Tang

    City Center

    This is one of China's leading fashion brands, with distinctive acid-bright silks, soft-as-a-baby's-bottom cashmere, and funky housewares. Sigh at the beautiful fabrics and designs, and gasp at the inflated prices.

    181 Taicang Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200021, China
  • 18. Super Brand Mall


    One of Asia's largest malls, this 10-story behemoth has a mind-boggling array of international shops and food stops, as well as a cineplex. It can be overwhelming if you don't love to shop.

    168 Lujiazui Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200120, China
  • 19. Suzhou Cobblers

    The Bund

    Sold here are beautifully embroidered handmade shoes and slippers for men and women, with quirky designs such as cabbages. You’ll also find funky round handled bags, gorgeous children’s shoes and more intricate accessories and trinkets.

    17 Fuzhou Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200002, China
  • 20. Tianshan Tea City


    This place stocks all the tea in China, and then some. More than 300 vendors occupy three floors, but most vendors sell the same tea, so find a seller with whom you have a rapport, and sit down for a taste test. You can buy such famous teas as West Lake dragon well (longjing) tea, from nearby Hangzhou, and Wuyi red-robe tea, as well as the tea sets to serve them in. Though the vendors encourage you to taste all their teas, as you should, they are not terribly pushy.

    520 Zhongshan Xi Lu, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, 200051, China

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