Without a doubt, Shanghai is the center of China's fashion industry with "China's No. 1 Street" finding a place right here in Shanghai. "China's No.1 Street" is known to many locals, tourists and expats as Nanjing Road (Nanjing Lu), one of the busiest commercial streets of the city.
It is one of the city's premier shopping streets, and definitely lives up to its name with its shops: tall, shiny, new department stores, enormous, glass-fronted malls pushing their Western franchises to the front of their displays and side streets, all lined with stylish boutiques. These shops attract throngs of fashion-seeking shoppers both locally and from all over the world.
1. Nanjing Road E. (Nanjing Donglu)
The more famous part is its eastern section, Nanjing Road E. (Nanjing Donglu). This 1 km-long pedestrian boulevard is car-free and it extends from near The Bund in the east to People's Square. A great idea is to start at Nanjing Donglu metro station exit 3 and to walk the entire length of lined shops and department stores.
This wide boulevard is often packed with people on weekends and holidays.
It is now one of the hottest tourist destinations to most domestic travelers, who are often the target customers of the shops, so the prices are not high, but usually not reasonable. However, it is not always the case in big department stores.
In Addition, Nanjing Road is near Fuzhou Road and Yan'an Road. Shanghai Foreign Languages Bookstore (Shanghai Book Traders) at 390 Fuzhou Road has a large selection of English-language books, magazines, tapes and maps, along with other major languages, especially for learning Chinese. All these are on the first and fourth floors.
Just around the corner at 36 Shanxi Road S. (Shanxi Nanlu), you will also find a smaller but well stocked second-hand foreign-language bookshop. Fuzhou Road is also a good street to wander around and find Chinese calligraphy related shops.
2. Nanjing Road W. (Nanjing Xilu)
Nanjing Road W. (Nanjing Xilu) begins at People's Square and continues westward towards Jing'an District. This section is slightly more modern and caters more to the decadent and status-conscious luxury shopper. The district's governors have made the road the most high-end comercial area in Shanghai.
The western stretch of Nanjing Road abounds in luxury shops and there are expensive shopping malls such as City Plaza, Plaza 66 (Henglong Plaza), Citic Square, Meilongzhen Isetan and many other large shopping malls with boutiques carrying the most famous names in fashion such as Chloé, Dior, Tod's, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Armani.
Spanish retailer Zara is situated at the prominent corner of Nanjing Xilu and Shanxi Lu, opposite Plaza 66 as are other upscale international retailers and shopping malls. Along the same row is L'occtaine en Provence. The building that Zara and L'occtaine now occupy once housed the Spanish.
Prices in these shops however are not much different than in Europe or America. If you want to get good deals, look for small shops in the adjacent streets where you can find real bargains. Most of the shops in these streets are outlets of the firms that manufacture in China. When buying in the outlet shops however, do watch out for defects and fake goods.
You would be delighted to know that Nanjing East Road station is also within walking distance to Nanjing West Road and Raffles City at People's Square Station.
After all your shopping is done, take a walk along the pedestrian walkway at Nanjing East Road (Nanjing Donglu) at dusk. Continue walking on towards the elegant waterside promenade The Bund to admire the scenic night view and lights across the Huangpu River to Pudong.
How to get there Shanghai Metro Line 2 runs along Nanjing Road, including three stations: Nanjing Road (E.) – The closest station to the pedestrian walkway of East Nanjing Road and The Bund. Nanjing Road (W.) – Just two stops apart from Nanjing Road (E.), this area starts at the beginning of the western section of the street, close to People's square. Jing'an Temple – The road ends here in the farther western section of Nanjing Road.
Tips Be careful of pickpockets and street vendors touting along Nanjing Road. Be firm and say no, "Bu Yao" because they will persistently sell their wares or services that might not be in your best interest. They will pop up when you least expect it and are in your face all the time. Some will even follow and wait for you outside shops.
Walk in a group if possible. Touters or pickpockets tend to target those who walk alone.
In some of the smaller shops, have a keen eye for defects or counterfeit goods.