As the capital city of the Five Dynasties of China, Beijing has such a rich culture and history spanning thousands of years. This gives it a myriad of diverse shopping options. There are plenty of shopping streets and markets to provide you with an authentic shopping experience, and a large range of souvenir choices for your loved ones. Here in Beijing, you can buy quality well-loved souvenirs, like silk products, calligraphy, paper cutout artwork, Chinese tea, jewelry of jade and pearl, and handmade Chinese fans and knots. Many of these street markets have been in business for over a century, offering a glimpse into this prominent city from another angle.
1. Panjiayuan Antique Market
Hosting more than 3,000 individual stalls within its colossal building of 48,500 square meters, the Panjianyuan Market is Beijing's most extensive antique trove. It is possibly the largest antique market of its kind, in both China and Asia. Stores here are open every day, and there are additional street stalls running on Saturdays and Sundays. It is a must-visit for serious collectors, casual strollers, or just anyone on the hunt for unique Chinese treasures. Swoop in for a surprising souvenir, such as calligraphy, ceramics, traditional arts and crafts, or even memorabilia from the Cultural Revolution.
2. Beijing Silk Street Market
Over 1,700 retailers are housed in the Silk Street Market shopping center, located in the heart of Beijing. Here, you can expect to see a display of the latest ins of Chinese fashion. In addition to the bountiful silk products, it offers many diverse souvenirs at more reasonable prices, making these markets great places for tourist shopping. Also, for something a little different from shopping, there is a new silk museum on the third floor of the Silk Market. The Market is also surprisingly urbane, with modern shops, bars, restaurants, and cafes.
3. Maliandao Tea Street
This 1.5 km-long tea shop hub is the best place in Beijing to learn about China’s long and storied tea culture. Located in the southwest area of the Xuanwu District close to the Beijing West Railway Station, Maliandao Tea Street hosts nearly 1,000 tea shops. It is the largest collection of teahouses in northern China, where tea lovers gather to sample and buy loose and bagged teas from all across China. The many nutritional benefits of green tea are well-studied, so be sure to bring some home to impress your family and friends.
4. Qianmen Street
Qianmen Street is the place to shop if you want to get a feel of the old Beijing ambiance. None of the regular mega-shopping malls can be found here. Rather, scores of little shops are tucked away in ancient-style buildings that can stretch for at least a kilometer. You can find anything, from traditional snacks and Chinese medicine to luxurious silks, quirky bookstores, and modern electronics. Shortly before the 2008 Summer Olympics, this 600-year-old commercial street was given a facelift and reopened to the public.
5. Wangfujing Street
Last but not least, Wangfujing, located within walking distance from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, is Beijing's oldest shopping street. It is internationally famous for hosting many brands unique to Beijing. You could easily spend the whole day on the lively street, checking out everything from the quaintest boutiques to the trendiest designer stores. If all this shopping has worked up an appetite, you might want to stop at the Wangfujing Snack Street, a good place to taste Beijing's street food and enjoy a relaxing night stroll.