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Concierge.com

Beijing Shopping

Karolina Lehman
Laitai Flower Market, 9 Maizidian Xilu
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 8454 0387

China is known for its porcelain, and designer Karolina Lehman carries on the tradition by giving her painted tableware a vibrant modern twist. Her eye-catching patterns—swirling goldfish, colorful birds and flowers, or traditional blue-and-white motifs—adorn plates, dishes, ashtrays, candlesticks, and even lamps that can be wired for American currents.

Nanluo Guxiang
Doncheng
Beijing
China 100009

While large swaths of Beijing's historic hutong districts were razed and replaced with sky malls, this small neighborhood near the Drum Tower has somehow survived the destruction. What started as a quiet row of houses renovated into shops and cafés has rapidly gentrified into a hip area of boutiques, small hotels, and restaurants. Perusing the artsy stores is a pleasure day or night. Start at Grifted for tongue-in-cheek modern reworkings of Cultural Revolution slogans painted onto furniture, accessories, and clothing. Then head to Plastered for brash T-shirts and streetwear. Finally, look for the small wall plate for La Mu, which sells beautiful leather-bound stationery and leather jewelry. For a break from the shopping, Xiaoxin's Cafe at no. 103 serves fresh-brewed coffee and home-baked muffins.

Panjiayuan Market
Panjiayuan Qiao
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6775 2405

If you only go shopping once in Beijing, take a trip to this colorful outdoor bazaar. Also known as the "Dirt Market," (the name comes from the long-ago days when vendors spread their wares on the ground), it's best on the weekends, when densely packed rows of stalls stock all kinds of antique (and antique-looking) curios. There's everything from Communist-kitsch items (Little Red Books, propaganda posters, and pastel-colored statues of Mao), to faded silk qipao dresses, to heavily embroidered "minority textiles"—fabrics made by minority tribal women from China's southern provinces of Guizhou and Yunnan. Savvy bargain hunters know to come on weekends, when there are the most vendors, and to arrive at the crack of dawn for the best prices.

Red Phoenix
30 Sanlitun Beilu
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6416 4423

Designer Gu Lin can make anyone feel regal with her sumptuously embroidered garments. Inspired by imperial designs, her silk and satin jackets and dresses are richly hand-embroidered with dragons, phoenixes, and flowers. Of course, all that painstaking needlework comes at a price. A plain tea jacket costs about $100, while ornate gowns run into the thousands, and unlike most Beijing shops, there is little bargaining at this intimate boutique.

Closed Sundays.

San Shi Zhai Feng Zheng Kite Store
29 Di'anmen Xidajie
Doncheng
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 8404 4505

Kite-flying has been a Chinese pastime for centuries, and the Liu family has catered to kite fans for three generations. Their tiny store is filled with colorful, traditional handmade kites, each a delicate creation of bamboo and paper that's painted by hand. Some are simply designed, while others take weeks to complete; among the selections are kites shaped like dragonflies, sleek turtles, and long-finned goldfish.

Shard Box
1 Ritan Beilu
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 8561 3712

An old-world aura hangs over this small shop, which continues a two-generation tradition of jewelry-making begun in the 1930s. Designer Hu Songlin uses fragments of antique porcelain—taken from vases and plates smashed during the cultural revolution—and transforms them into stunning bijoux, all at reasonable prices. Unique pendants and delicate drop earrings feature painted Qing dynasty beauties or a traditional pattern of blue and white. But it's the shop's namesake shard boxes—charming containers with lids that feature insets of rare china—that are the real showpieces here.

Silk (Xiu Shui) Market
8 Xiushui Dongjie (at Jianguomenwai Dajie)
Chaoyang
Beijing
China

Stiffen your bargaining spine for a visit to Beijing's indoor Silk Market, which, despite its name, is known for knockoffs, not silk. Five floors of stalls will accommodate all your faux-designer needs, with a dizzying array of men's and women's bags, shoes, and clothes. Though recent crackdowns on bogus brand names have made vendors cautious, display a hint of interest and the goods (fake Vuitton luggage, knocked-off-the-runway Chloé, Fauxlex watches) will come tumbling out of the cupboards. But this market is not for the faint of heart: The cramped floors crawl with stall owners screaming "Gucci! Prada!" and the first price quoted can be nearly as high as the real thing at Barneys. Be prepared for heated and relentless bargaining that will generally end with you paying more than you wanted to. The best deals are on the top floor, where you can score made-to-order prescription glasses for a steal.

Tea Street (Maliandao)
Maliandao Chayecheng
Xuanwu
Beijing
China

A Shangri-la for tea lovers, this enormous indoor market has 600-odd shops that seem to sell all the tea in China. Stroll among the stalls and learn about the different leaves—each province has its own specialty, from Anhui's gentle green tea, to Hangzhou's fragrant longjin dragon well, to Yunnan's pu'er tea, which is aged over decades like fine wine. There's little English spoken here, but vendors are eager to offer samples and advice. An array of tea accoutrements is also on offer—everything to make the perfect pot.

Yaxiu Market
58 Gongti Beilu
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6415 1726

Create your own body-skimming qipao (cheongsam) dress at this indoor market, where tailors and fabric vendors occupy the third floor. Choose from a rainbow of silks and flip through the stylebooks to find your perfect China-girl look. A made-to-order gown can take just 24 hours and cost as little as 200 yuan ($25)—though Beijing lacks a tailoring tradition, so don't expect perfection. The other four floors offer an enormous selection of faux designer wear, everything from shoes to shawls to sunglasses, all purveyed by vendors who will bargain fiercely.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.