The Ultimate Beijing Shopping Tour

Day 1 (weekend): Can't sleep from jet lag? No worries. Rise before dawn and join the hordes at the Panjiayuan antiques market for Beijing Shopping 101. Spend some time on a reconnaissance tour of its vast collection of stores before making any purchases. Bags in tow, head directly across the street to furniture market Zhaojia Chaowai and hit the fourth floor for ceramics and more Old China trinkets. Next, direct a pedicab driver to Beijing Curio City for all manner of kitsch and souvenirs. From here, take a cab to haggle hard for knockoffs and cheap silk garments at Silk Alley. Have lunch, then make the trek to Qianmen and Dashilan for a walk down old streets newly renovated for modern shoppers. Travel their length on foot (or take the Qianmen tram); by this time of day its shops will begin to close and it’s time to head back to your hotel.

Day 2: Kick off the day by sampling tea from the seemingly infinite number of vendors peddling their wares on Maliandao Tea Street. Buy clay or porcelain service sets and loose tea leaves galore. Then take a cab to Qing Dynasty–style shopping street Liulichang for calligraphy, scrolls, paintings, and more. Linger here a while before returning to modernity and heading to Wangfujing. Then, if its mix of malls, snack shops, and souvenir stalls doesn't wipe you out, take a cab to Hongqiao Market for a pearl-shopping spree.

Day 3: Start the day in the heart of Beijing's lake district on the picturesque Yandai Xiejie, beside Houhai. Ethnic garments and Communist relics litter its stores. Afterwards, stretch your legs along the nearby, boutique-packed Gulou Dongdajie until you reach Nanluoguxiang, the popular shopping hutong. Affordable local designs, cute and ironic T-shirts, and gorgeous scarves abound. After one lap, continue east until you reach Yonghegong Dajie; here you’ll find the quieter Guozijian and Wudaoying hutong, and plenty more stores to sate your lust for trinkets. From here, grab a taxi and hit Sanlitun for a visit to Yashow Market and, next door, Sanlitun Village. Designer boutiques and chic malls scatter what used to be just a bar district. Shop, shop, shop, and then drop—wherever you land, a waiter will appear to offer you an ice-cold jianyi kele (Diet Coke) or Tsingtao beer.

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