1. Hong Qiao Market

    Hong Qiao is best known for pearls (hence its alternative name, the “Pearl Market”), with a huge range available, freshwater and seawater, up on the third floor. The floors below are a tight compress of clothing, shoes, electronics, and more, while in the basement is a pungent, but fascinating market for fish, frogs, and snakes .

    Hong Qiao Market
  2. Oriental Plaza

    A large mall that stretches a whole city block and boasts several levels of top-end retailers including Paul Smith, Swarovski, Sisley, Max Mara, and Apple. There is also a Watsons drugstore, a big CD and DVD store, and an excellent food court.

    Oriental Plaza
  3. Silk Market

    More properly known as Xiushui, this is the most infamous market in Beijing. It is reportedly the city’s third main tourist attraction after the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. Some 100,000 shoppers a day visit to snap up famous brand goods for ridiculously low prices. Of course, they are all fakes, but who’s to know? Come prepared for feisty salespeople and items of varying quality .

  4. Yashaw Market

    At the center of the embassy district of Sanlitun, Yaxiu (or Yashow) offers more of the same as the Silk Market: four floors of clothing, bags, shoes, and sportswear, plus some jewelry, nail salons, and a bunch of tailors on the top floor who can run up a gent’s suit for around ¥350 .

    Bead stall at Yaxiu Market

    Beaded purse
  5. Panjiayuan Antique Market

    As much a tourist attraction as a shopping experience, Panjiayuan is home to around 3,000 dealers peddling everything from broken bicycles to family heirlooms. Come herefor Mao memorabilia, a Qing-dynasty vase, or yellowing Tintin comics in Chinese. Panjiayuan Market is at its busiest, best, and most chaotic at the weekends. Serious collectors swoop at dawn, but it’s fun any time. 

    Panjiayuan Antique Market
  6. China World Shopping Mall and Shin Kong Plaza

    The CBD around Guomao is China’s equivalent of Wall Street, attracting luxury hotels as well as glitzy malls. China World and Shin Kong are both home to high-end international brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Moschino. Prices are at least as high as back home 

  7. Dong Jiao Wholesale Market

    In a series of hangar-like buildings southeast of SOHO, traders sell just about anything. This is where restaurants and hotels buy pots and pans, schools come for classroom supplies, service staff buy uniforms, and small traders and cooks come for fresh fruit and vegetables. You may not need a carton of 1,000 chopsticks, but it is fascinating to browse, all the same.

    • Dong Si Huan Zhong Lu, west of Sihui Bridge

    • Subway: Guomao

    • Open daily

  8. Joy City

    The latest addition to Xidan, this 13-story mall boasts the world’s largest escalator, as well as the largest digital cinema in China. It is very popular with Beijingers. Brands available here include Zara, FAB, Uniqlo, and Muji.

    • 131 Xidan Bei Dajie

    • 6651 7777

    • Subway: Xidan

    • Open 10am–10pm daily

  9. Solana

    Located next to Chaoyang Park, Solana is Beijing’s biggest outdoor shopping mall. It is a California-style complex centered around a plaza with fountains, a clock tower, and paths leading to a lakeside strip. Zara, Esprit, Nike, and Sephora are some of the brands you can find here; Todai is a popular eatery famed for its sushi and seafood buffet.

    • 6 Chaoyang Park Road

    • 5905 6666

    • Open 11am–9pm daily

  10. Zhongguancun, Electronics Avenue

    Zhongguancun is the capital’s technology hub, and Electronics Avenue is home to some of the biggest electronics markets in Beijing. Stores sell everything from computers and mp3 players to cameras. Staff rarely speak English, so bring a printout of the model you want.

    • Subway: Wudaokou, then taxi

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