1. Wangfujing Dajie, Center of Beijing's Commerce
Wangfujing Dajie is a bustling pedestrian shopping mall and a place where old and new perfectly blend together: it's a wonderful place to just sit, sip on a cool drink and "people-watch," because Wangfujing is home to people from all across the nation and across the globe.
As one of the oldest shopping streets in Beijing, Wangfujing features many "Time-Honored Brands" stores; most are more than 100 years old. International brands, fantastic shops, cinemas and restaurants, bookstores and an old, refurbished Western-styled church epitomize modern Beijing.
It is advised, in early evening to check out the "snack street" on the north side of Donghuamen Dajie, east of Wangfujing Dajie. Check out Wangfujing's bookstore to get the latest best-selling novels, works of literature, language books and audio tapes to read while traveling through the country’s vast expanses after you leave the capital.
Address: Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng district
Traffic: Subway Line 1, Wangfujing Station; Bus No: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 37, and 728
2. Xidan Commercial Area
The Xidan Commercial Area, north of West Chang'an Avenue, offers a wide range of shopping options. Xidan has five big shopping centers (Chung- Yo Shopping Center, Xidan Shopping Center, Grand Pacific, Joy City and Maison Mode) and Beijing's biggest bookstore, Beijing Books Building (see its excellent imported books section in the basement).
Address: Xidan Beidajie, Xicheng district
Traffic: Subway Lines land 4, Xidan Station; Bus No: 1, 10, 102, 603, 728 and 808
3. Qianmen-Dashilan (Dazhalan) shopping Area
As the oldest commercial street in Beijing, the fortunes of the Qianmen-Dashila shopping area have reflected the city's sometimes turbulent history.
For generations, many Zhonghua Laozihao (Time- Honoured Chinese Brands) have welcomed customers here. After recent renovations, the century old shopping area is booming, because of its historic atmosphere and new conveniences.
Traffic: Subway Line 2, Qianmen Station; Bus No: 2, 5, 9, 20 and 44
4. Fuchengmen-Fuxingmen Area
Just outside the Second Ring Road in western Beijing, there's a multitude of discount markets that sell everything from tools to toys. There are some great prices on clothing and small electronics, but be prepared to haggle to get the best price at any random stall. The biggest and most comprehensive markets in the area are Wantong, Guanyuan and Tianyi.
Traffic: Subway Line 2, Fuxingmen or Fuchengmen Station
5. Hongqiao Pearl Market, a World of Pearls
The Hongqiao Pearl Market is known as the Hongqiao Market (Hongqiao Shichang). The market’s annual sales volume of pearl account to more than 30 percent of the entire worlds. Fill your baskets with pearls, bespoke jewelry, jade, arts and crafts, toys, antiques and clothing, as well as modern electronic goods, camera memory cards, clocks, watches, or all kinds of other interesting products. You can see other stores in this rapidly developing complex near the Temple of Heaven.
Address: 16 Hongqiao Lu, Dongcheng district
Traffic: Subway Line 5, Tiantan Dongmen Station; Bus No: 6, 34, 35 or 610
6. Maliandao Tea Street, China's First Tea Street
The Maliandao Tea Street is a must-visit destination. Here you can walk around tea shops, taste diverse tea, get exquisite tea sets and learn more about Chinese tea culture. Regarded as the country’s first tea street, Maliandao offers six categories of Chinese teas, about 10,000 kinds of tea products, with 11 big tea cities and more than 3,000 merchants, making Maliandao North China's largest tea- trading base.
Addres: Maliandao Lu, Xicheng district
Traffic: Bus No: 6, 38, 46, 57,122, 390 or 414
7. Nanluogu Xiang, A Place for Exploring Beijing's History
With a history of more than 740 years, Nanluoguxiang is one of the capital's oldest hutongs. The Nanluoguxiang area is characterized by narrow hutongs (lanes), brick houses, wooden steles, stone gate piers; stories abound with nearly every one of them. History is encountered with every step; yet it's also a quaint place, packed with bars, cafes, restaurants and shops selling souvenirs and traditional crafts. Heavily oriented towards tourism, Nanluoguxiang is visited by the young and old, from China or from overseas even locals. TV programs get shot there, and stories about it are later publicized in the media, making it one of Beijing's most popular tourist destinations.
Address: Nanluoguxiang, Dongcheng district
Traffic: Bus No: 107 or 124
8. Liulichang Culture Street, a Cluster of Books, Antiquities, Calligraphic Works and Paintings
Liulichang Culture Street has a history of more than 700 years. Liulichang has long been a cluster of time-honored shops such as the Rongbaozhai and Cathay Bookshop. After several renovations, the area has retained its classic style, while becoming a favorite for locals and foreign visitors in search of books, paintings, antiquities and stationery, especially the "four treasures of the study" and traditional Chinese artwork.
Rongbaozhai, known as the "home of painters and calligraphers,” is an artists’ paradise for anyone engaging in the practice of traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. Ancient books are available in the Cathay Bookshop.
Address: Hepingmenwai, Xicheng district
Traffic: Bus No: 7, 14 or 15
9. Yandai Xiejie (Pipe-Stem lane), A Place for Experiencing Pop Culture
One end of Yandai Xiejie is located about half a block south of the Bell Tower on Beijing's Central Axis on the west side of Dian'anmenwai Dajie. It's one of the oldest streets in the city where some streets date back to the Yuan Dynasty.
Many antique and jade shops were once located here; today there are small bars, large and small restaurants, souvenir, painting and calligraphy shops, along with clothing stores.
Yandai Xiejie is China's historical and cultural street. It was a well-known business street in ancient times. Since the street was famous for tobacco-related products and pipes, this was how the street got its name. Yet, smoking products were just one product line found along the street in its rich past.
Address: Yandai Xiejie, Xicheng district
Traffic: Bus No: 5, 60,107 or 124
10. Beijing Curio City, Asia's Biggest Curio Arts and Crafts Trade Center
Beijing Curio City houses scores of kitsch and curio shops and a few furniture vendors. The market specializes in antique pottery, paintings from China and other countries, bone carvings, antique furniture, antique carpets, antique timepieces, pearls and jade. Many dealers are connoisseurs and curio collectors.
Address: Dong Sanhuan Nanlu, Chaoyang district
Traffic: Bus No: 28, 300 or 368
11. Silk Street, China's First Store for Foreigners
The old Silk Alley was a treat for bargain-hunting tourists, yet it was hot in the summer and cold in the winter and jam-packed with people. Today, developments in the area have made way for bigger and brighter things: one of which is the new Silk Street, a mall where many traders and wares of the old alley have now occupied a comfortable, safe and new building that faces Beijing's main traffic route, Jianguomenwai Dajie.
Address: No 8 Xiushui Dongjie, Chaoyang district
Traffic: Subway Line 1, Yong'anli Station; bus Nos 1 or 37
12. Panjiayuan Antique Market, China's Largest Market for Second-Hand Goods
Known locally as the Dirt Market (or Sunday Market), this is the place for antiques, arts and crafts and old-style furniture. A fascinating once-in-a-lifetime shopping opportunity, and don't forget to haggle!
Authentic, dusty, filled with curios, humorous local characters and people from everywhere in the country, bustle and noise! Keep a close watch on your personal belongings, as it can get over-crowded.
Address: No 18 Huaweili, Panjiayuan Lu, Chaoyang district
Traffic: Bus Nos 34, 36, 368 or 800