Shanghai is one of the world’s most populous cities, with more than 24 million people calling the city home. It is a city that’s both modern and historic, with ties to the past that keep its traditions alive, while also being modern and contemporary. Shanghai is one of the world’s most important transport hubs and is a leader in the financial sector, on a global scale. It is considered a centre for innovation and progress, with tons of museums, art, cinema and even it’s own fashion week.
The Shanghai Museum has some of the best collections of Chinese artefacts in the world, the splendid Yu Garden is a great place to take in nature and local flora and finally, the Oriental Pearl Tower offers the best views of the city from its iconic dome tower. But what should you take home from your trip? While visiting Shanghai, make sure you grab the best things to bring back - here are our recommendations on what to buy in Shanghai.
1. Bespoke clothing
Shanghai is a hub of not only traditional Chinese fashion but its own Shanghainese style. It also hosts its own Shanghai Fashion Week, held twice a year in October and April. Aiming to build its reputation internationally, as well as within China itself, Shanghai Fashion Week is becoming one of the biggest in Asia. So, while you’re in Shanghai, why not visit one of the many tailors and pick up a bespoke suit, dress, shoes or anything else!
Tony the Tailor
Address: 684 Changle Rd, Jingan Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Website: Tony the Tailor
2. Chinese tea sets
The Chinese love their tea and, in Shanghai, no day is complete without having some. Much like wine in France or Italy, where the tea was grown and the climate it was grown in, as well as the quality of the soil, has an effect on the growth of the tea leaves. There are tons of places in Shanghai to buy tea, from teahouses to tea markets and even from vendors on the street. So, while you’re visiting Shanghai, make sure to pick up some tea and a traditional tea set.
Tianshan Tea City
Address: 520 Zhongshan Xi Lu, near Wuyi Lu
Website: Tianshan Tea City
Shanghai is home to some of the most beautiful ceramics in the world. From elegant pots and vases to intricate knickknacks, any visitor to the city should pick up a piece of Shanghai’s oldest export. There’s a reason Shanghai’s ceramics are some of the best - a small town just south of the city has been making ceramics for over 2,000 years! With all that practice, you’re sure to perfect your craft.
Address: F1, Bldg D2, 5i Center II, 538 Hutai-Zhi-Rd Jingan Distric
Website: Spin Ceramics
4. Traditional Chinese souvenirs
Who doesn’t love a souvenir! Things like candies, silk, tea, ceramics and little trinkets are perfect things to buy for your loved ones and maybe for yourself on your trip to Shanghai. Things like jade and tea, as well as tea sets, are traditionally Shanghainese things to get and handicrafts with regional designs will really set your souvenirs apart and show that the item is distinctly Shanghai. Make sure to check out the Yuyuan Garden outdoor bazaar while you’re here.
Address: 218 Anren St, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Website: Yuyuan Garden
5. Shanghai silk
The origin of Chinese silk dates back at least 5,000 years and is produced in many regions around China. But Shanghai silk is some of the best in the country, so much so that it is exported the most out of all other Chinese silks for the international market. Shanghai silk products are admired and bought worldwide, both as items to be enjoyed in museums and as a product to buy and wear. Definitely check out the Suzhou Silk Museum, learn about the ancient art of silk making and also buy some, on site.
Suzhou Silk Museum
Address: 2001 Renmin Rd, Ping Jiang Qu, Suzhou Shi, Jiangsu Sheng, China, 215001
Website: Suzhou Silk Museum
6. Nankeen fabric
Nankeen is a fabric that originated in the area around Nanjing China but has since taken on various different forms. What sets Nankeen fabric apart is that the Shanghai variant is blue and white in colour, as opposed to the yellowish hue of the other kinds.
Unfortunately, the making of Nankeen is a dying art form and good, authentic fabric is getting harder and harder to find. But, if you look hard enough, it’s still around and a great item to purchase from Shanghai that’s unique and beautiful.
Address: 637 Changle Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
Website: Nankeen Exhibition Hall
7. Traditional handheld paper fans
They’re small, compact, relatively inexpensive and definitely a cool gift to buy, not only for yourself but for others, as well! Traditional paper fans will not only keep you cool but their beautiful, intricate designs are always a nice thing to look at. Use them as a decoration in your home or even just to cool yourself off. A traditional handheld paper fan is a great gift from Shanghai to show off to your friends.
Nanjing Road shopping district
Address: Nan Jing Lu Bu Xing Jie
Website: Nanjing Road
Gu embroidery is the preeminent style found in Shanghai, dating back at least 500 years, and just about any type of material found in Shanghai can be embroidered with a design. Tapestries, carpets, clothes and silk are just a few of the things around Shanghai that are typically embroidered. Embroidered fabrics are a great thing to bring back and make beautiful decorations for the home.
Shanghai Xinfujie Craft Embroidery Co
Address: 300 Shuangfeng Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
9. Chinese Tea
If you’re going to buy a traditional Chinese tea set, you might as well also buy some delicious Chinese tea to serve it with. As previously mentioned, Chinese tea comes in a variety of flavours, types and serving methods and, much like wine and coffee, the region, climate and growing methods are what sets the different types of tea apart from each other. Certain types of tea grow in different seasons, so, depending on when you’re here, you might find more of one type of tea than another. Make sure to inquire about what you’re looking for.
Old Shanghai Tea House
Address: 385 Fangbang Middle Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Website: Old Shanghai Tea House
If you feel like splurging on your trip, make sure to come back and impress your friends with some authentic Shanghai pearls. Shanghai has a large pearl market and they make for an amazing souvenir. Pearls are pretty easy to find around the city and many places will even sell them wholesale. Check out the First Asia Jewelry Plaza to get your fix of this luxury item.
Address: 567 Zhonghuaxin Rd, Zhabei Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Website: First Asia Jewelry Plaza
Pearl of the Orient
Shanghai is an amazing city to see and visit and you can be sure there are some amazing things to buy. The city has some unique things to purchase, so make sure you find something that speaks to you and get something truly authentic on your trip.
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