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[The List]: Shanghai Markets

Welcome to hell.
By Sep 9, 2015 Shopping
Some say that if you dig deep enough in Paris's catacombs, you will reach the gates of hell. In Shanghai, you don't even need to dig -- we have places like Qipu Lu. Like the catacombs, Shanghai's markets wind endlessly, and dark minions will chase your wretched soul, screaming "Bags! Watch! What do you want!?" But like the box in Hellraiser, some cannot resist the temptation of the markets, and thus we present this guide.

Before you set out, a few rules:

1) Never go to the market hungover, for this is worse than 9,000 demons ripping apart your flesh.

2) It is not uncommon for hawkers to ask for prices 32x higher than the actual price, so bargain hard. That said, don't ask for an unreasonably low price -- this is 2015. For some of the more specialized places like the tea market, bring a friend who knows the game.

3) Don't trust electronics like USB drives, unless you're at an electronics market (and even then, be careful).

4) When you first move here, there is a temptation to buy everything, just because it's cheap. Think twice -- you'll probably end up throwing most of that away in a few months.

5) Returns are usually impossible.

International Pearl City

3721 Hongmei Lu, near Yan'an Lu View Listing Taxi Printout

Good For: Pearls, Shoes, Accessories, Clothes. Hongqiao -- home to Laowai Jie 101, Koreatown, all kinds of imported grocery stores, DVD shops, and lots of posh shopping malls. And about three minutes away from Laowai Jie 101 by foot, you've got the pearl market. Guess what they sell here.

Huxi Mosque

No. 4, Lane 1328 Changde Lu, near Aomen Lu View Listing Taxi Printout

Good For: Halal Foods, Snacks, Cakes, Full Lambs We've got a full article dedicated to the Muslim Market, which has been running for years. Tons of good food, furs, and photo opportunities here. Definitely worth a visit on a Friday. Note: The market has been on and off over the past few years -- we cannot guarantee it will be there on any given Friday.

Neon Kids Plaza

10 Pu'an Lu, near Jinling Zhong Lu View Listing Taxi Printout

Good For: Children's Clothes and Shoes, Children's Photography Stalls, Toys, a Fun Playground. This one is like a smaller, cleaner version of Qipu Lu, but only for children. Been there since 2001. Toys are definitely cheaper here than at Carrefour.

Pacific Plaza (Xuijiahui)

41 Caoxi Bei Lu, near Hongqiao Lu View Listing Taxi Printout

Good For: Picking up Electronics, Laptops, Video Games, Phones, Headphones This place used to the best place to buy electronics. Now there are only a few reasons to go. One is a really nice headphones shop you'll have to seek out. They've got a bunch of high-end models by brands like Sennheiser and AKG, and some really good cheap earbuds. The other reason is video games. Lots of those up in here, including modded / chipped consoles, and you can test the games on their big-screen TVs.

Caojiadu Flower Market

33 Wanhangdu Hou Lu near Changshou Lu View Listing Taxi Printout

Good For: Flowers and Plants, Potting, Chinese Antiques, Wedding Supplies This is the largest spot in downtown for plants, flowers, trees, and herbs. They've got like 400 stalls with all kinds and sizes of flowers and plants, including some rare imports. And if you buy some large trees, they can arrange the delivery for a small fee.

Qipu Lu Clothing Market

168 Qipu Lu, near Henan Bei Lu View Listing Taxi Printout

Good For: Cheap cheap Clothes, Korean Clothes, Shoes, Accessories, Wigs, Watches, Thieves. In the '90s, this was the biggest clothing market in town. Aunties and sisters would fight viciously over the clothes, spend 10 hours digging for the best items, then walk away at sunset with suitcases and shopping bags stuffed with their finds.

AP Plaza

Inside Metro Line 2, Shanghai Science & Technology Museum, 2000 Shiji Da Dao, near Yingchun Lu View Listing Taxi Printout

Good For: Cheap crap AP Plaza is Pudong's biggest "fake market", located underground in Metro Line 2's Science & Technology Museum station. The northern half of AP Plaza, called Xinyang, is a collection of stalls, touts, and greedy salespeople out to rip-off unsuspecting tourists with fake, Fake, FAKE goods of all stripes. As a general rule of thumb, offer 10% of the original asking price, and settle for somewhere between 10% and 30%. Bargain hard, carry cash, and be prepared to walk away from a bunch of stalls before settling on a price.

International Glasses City

Railway Station North Plaza 1688 Zhongxing Lu, near Henfeng Bei Lu View Listing Taxi Printout

Good For: Glasses, duh. The 3 story market is one of the best places in town to buy glasses - custom made glasses are still one of the few products that's much cheaper in Shanghai than back home. Over a hundred shops sell glasses, sunglasses (prescription and non-prescription) and contacts - from cheap plastic frames to copies of the latest-ish fashions from overseas.

Tianshan Tea City

520 Zhongshan Xi Lu, near Wuyi Lu View Listing Taxi Printout

Good For: Tea Leaves, Tea Sets, Chinese Antiques Do you know about tea? If not, better bring someone who does, lest you get fleeced. The tea market has around 150 stalls slangin' thousands of varieties of leaves, a lot of which ain't cheap. But if your tea game is strong, there's lots to find here, like rare Pu'ers and that Da Hong Pao.

Good For: Photography, Filmography The six-story market is the place in Shanghai for all your photography needs, whether you're a novice or a pro. The first two floors are packed with shops selling big brand names, the other floors are good for second hand cameras, specialist equipment, accessories, repair services and foreign books on photography. Bargaining on new cameras is usually not possible.

Qiujiang Lu Electronics Market

500-526 Qiujiang Lu, near Sichuan Bei Lu View Listing Taxi Printout

Good For: Electronics, Home Security, KTV Gear, Bizarre Finds This is the finest, most colorful electronics market in Shanghai. We've got a whole article dedicated to this place. With the Xiangyang Lu / Fuxing Lu market gone (R.I.P.), this is the spot to buy blank CDs, AV cables, personal massage devices, fake cigs, boomboxes, pipes, medicinal liquor, roach traps, and bike locks all in one noisy, dirty, beautiful place. There's way more than just electronics here -- we've found Vietnamese Lizard Wine, pepper spray, and pilates balls.



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  • likeagisy

    Is the Muslim market still ongoing? Went a few weeks ago on a friday at noon and there was nothing there.

  • SmartShanghai

    @likeagisy: Someone we know went there a few weeks ago. We'll check up on this for you tomorrow and report back. The market has been on and off over the past few years, for example:

    The market is now directly ON Ao'men Lu, near Changde Lu. Just a little ways away from the original location.

  • treefrog0

    Hello? dark minions? that's so mad racist

  • SmartShanghai

    Ok we just went to the Muslim Market, and it's open from 5am-5pm. Had some lamb baozi and some cake, both really good.

  • moses

    Moses gets his robes from the South Bund Fabric Market.

    It is probably the best market in Shanghai for cheap tailor made clothes. Business shirts and trousers are fine, and more importantly the quality is decent and they will last. Don't believe signs that read 100% cashmere, it is a mixed blend of rubbish

    I haven't been to the muslim market on Changde Lu but I know that market stalls are often set up outside the Rushan Road Mosque in Pudong, every friday afternoon.....

  • GanMa

    Hotel Market - for crockery and kitchenware should be on this list, and of course don't forget the "erotic" market.

    I would also argue not every market needs you to go with someone who knows what they're talking about as the article suggests...unless you're a complete muppet, it's not that hard!

  • lawrence

    Missing a couple -

    Tong Chuan Lu (fish market), although i think its moving too if not already gone.
    The motorbike market in Putuo, (may be gone, haven't visited in a year or so)
    A few of the car parts markets in the outskirts (less and less of those), as well as the second hand car market(s) that are still around (barely!).
    The insanely huge decoration market out by jiuxing etc.

    Is it bad when I can recognize the stalls at qiu jiang lu? hehe.
    The computer mall in the basement towards sichuan lu there used to be great for repairs, but now thats going the way of the dodo.

  • martenkid

    hi there,

    im seeking for a special electronic products. video glasses, or android glasses. I have one myself. and i know you can get them on taobao enz. but i like to see the product first.

    anybody know, if there is place in Shanghai that sells video glasses. already went to some places, like qipu lu. or big electronic store in Shanghai. but no luck yet.

    thanks for your feedback.

  • marydemay

    This was very informative, but does smartshanghai not have editors anymore? There are so many glaring mistakes in this.

  • 4 years ago ph Unverified User

    do you know where can i find some cute stationery or kawaii stuff?

  • 3 years ago debeuesch

    hey what about the animal market. Is there still one?

  • 2 years ago John E

    A few of these markets have closed since the article was written:
    Caojiadu Flower Market closed Dec 2017.
    The biggest Plant market I know is on QinZhou Lu, near Shanghai Stadium,
    Just take the street which runs behind the IKEA until it ends at Qinzhou Lu then take a left and the plant market is on the left close to the corner. Big, good selection and prices. But Caojiadu was closer to my home.

    There are 3 sections: 1) the open-air section in the back has lots of houseplants and cut flowers and tiny plants, and good prices. 2) an indoor area which is mostly plants, set a ways back from the road and directly behind the car entrance gates. 3) an indoor area closest to the street with parking in front of it -- this is more expensive and sells mostly flowers, fancy plants/flowers and large plants. They mostly sell to businesses and barely notice one or two people walking around. benefit: this is air-conditioned in the Summer, so worth popping in on hot days to cool off.
    Unfortunately the way it's set up is most people will go into the expensive less customer-friendly area first , and might or mgiht not find the cheaper more bustling areas in the back.

  • 2 years ago John E

    Pet Market on Xizang Lu, just north of Fangbang Lu. Not far south of HuaiHai lu.
    They sell kittens, rabbits, crickets galore, chinchillas seem to have become popular the past few years.
    Also birds, squirrels, chipmunks, fish.

    It's a bit grungy, but the people there are pretty nice and decidedly low-key.
    They also sell plants especially along the street outside the market, while the animals are within the outdoor warren. The outdoor antique market used to be just across the street, but that got knocked down a few years ago when they decided to build a construction site there.

    Used to buy my cat food at the Pet Market until I discovered online shopping was cheaper and with free delivery. I still go there to buy Y20 bags of cat litter from the nice Kitten Lady (right inside the south entrance near the toilets)

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