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Beijing shopping

Beijing's shopping scene was long a poor stepsister to those of cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong: Beijing's lack of a discernible downtown area always made it unattractive to foreign retailers. But sustained pre-Olympic development created glassy, brand-friendly megamalls, such as the Place, Shin Kong Plaza, and Seasons Place, plus trendy districts like the Village and Qianmen. Consequently, Beijing shopping, though more geographically dispersed, is almost on a par with shopping in Shanghai—and Beijing boasts better markets, plus some very creative novelty stores.

You'll be blown away by the industriousness of the knockoff machine in Beijing. There's standard-issue faux Coach and Louis Vuitton, but you'll also find Thomas Pink button-downs, fake Montblanc pens, Tom Ford sunglasses, and Miu Miu bags. The more interesting fakes are the ones you'll find in Beijing's antiques markets, from purposefully roughed-up fake Communist kitsch to reproductions of vintage tin robots. Be prepared to bargain ruthlessly, especially in the more tourist-heavy markets. Opening prices are often 10 or 20 times what you should actually end up paying.

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Karolina Lehman, Beijing

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...more

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Nanluo Guxiang, Beijing

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...more

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Panjiayuan Market, Beijing

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...more

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Red Phoenix, Beijing

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...more

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San Shi Zhai Feng Zheng Kite Store, Beijing

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...more

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Shard Box, Beijing

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...more

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Silk (Xiu Shui) Market, Beijing

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...more

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Tea Street (Maliandao), Beijing

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...more

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Yaxiu Market, Beijing

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...more

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

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