There’s never a dull moment when shopping in Chengdu, an inland-oasis in the Sichuan Province, tucked away in the far west of China.
Chengdu is China’s unofficial capital of cool, and a hub to artists, fashion designers, stylists, and musicians. Despite being pulled into a vortex of creativity and coolness, Chengdu managed to retain many of its laidback provincial city charms. After all, there’s a reason those lazy, giant pandas feel so at home in Chengdu.
Shopping in Chengdu
Being such a fashion-forward city, Chengdu has a cutting-edge shopping scene that’s worth a visit. Get ready to see, and buy, all kinds of trends and treasures.
But what are the most wowing and wallet-worthy items to take home, and where do you find them? The following guide will help you make the most of your Chengdu shopping experience.
Chengdu, China’s most fashionable city
Chengdu may not be China’s largest city but it’s certainly China’s most fashionable one. What’s hot in Chengdu today, will certainly be picked up by the rest of the country tomorrow.
And that’s not something that happened overnight. Fashion has been fundamental to Chengdu since the starting point of the Southern Silk Road. Nowadays, foreign brands have colonized the city’s high-end retail landscape, though Chengdu is still home to a thriving number of locally owned boutiques and cozy night markets.
Chunxi Road is Chengdu’s most iconic commercial street and a popular hangout for fashionistas. Chunxi Road is home to enormous malls, such as Qunguang Square, and trendy department stores, like Wangfujing Department Store, Tai Koo Li, and New World Department Store.
It’s obvious shopping in Chengdu at Chunxi Road really fuels an adventurer’s shopping stamina. But if you do need to rest and replenish your energy, simply pull into the hidden laneways for an array of gourmet delights.
If you need any snacks, water or chewing gum, convenience stores can be found in most streets. Chengdu also has numerous supermarket chains, like Carrefour, Renrenle, and Wal-Mart, to stock up on your daily supplies.
Authentic Chengdu treasures to bring home
Besides being a shopping paradise for fashionistas, Chengdu is also the perfect place for treasure hunters. There are plenty of quirky souvenirs to pick up in the city, like traditional handicrafts, antiques, jewelry, silk, and everything panda.
Looking to bring some authentic gifts home? Here’s a list of some famous Chengdu-style souvenirs.
Shu brocade and embroidery
In the 17th century, Chengdu was given the name ‘City of Brocade’, renowned for its Shu brocade. Shu brocade is one of four famous brocade-styles in China and the oldest. It characterized by a variety of delicate, hand-woven patterns in bright colors and soft textures, mostly depicting the different flowers, animals, landscapes and people of the Sichuan province. Not surprisingly, the most popular pattern amongst travelers is a panda. When shopping in Chengdu, the best place for buying Shu brocade is at the Chengdu Shu Brocade and Embroidery Museum at no. 2 East Caotang Road.
Did you know Chengdu has the largest number of teahouses in China? With locals devoted to tea, it’s not only a beverage but also a culture, woven into the daily lives of the people of Chengdu. Zhuyeqing, a type of green tea produced in Mount E’mei, is one of the most famous types of tea in Chengdu and all over China. Zhuyeqing is treasured for its long-lasting fragrance, refreshing taste, and health benefits, and favored by locals and travelers alike. Want to try and buy some tea? Visit Wukuashi Tea Market at no.2 Saiyuntai East Road in the Jinniu District.
Lacquerware in Chengdu
With a history of over 3000 years, lacquer craft is a ubiquitous part of Chengdu culture. Lacquer craft is renowned for its gorgeous designs and patterns, fine gloss, and, most notably, its strong ability to resist corrosion. Chengdu lacquerware is made according to traditional techniques, which involves carving, color painting, embedding, embossing, and polishing. Being such high-value items, Chengdu lacquerware does come with a price tag. However, just browsing through the shops is a worthwhile experience. Take a trip to WenShuFang Folk and Culture Street at no. 66 Weshuyuan Street, and admire their extensive lacquerware collection.
If you’re looking to bring home a unique, hand-crafted gift from Chengdu, have a look at bamboo-over-porcelain: a true piece of art, made by bamboo filaments woven into intricate patterns and wrapped around porcelain, such as vases, tea sets, tableware, and stationary. This procedure is so exquisitely done, you barely see the joints. There’s an abundance of bamboo-over-porcelain art pieces available at the Songxianqiao Art and Antique Market at no. 24 Huanhuaxi Road in the Qingyang district.
Since you can’t bring home a real panda, why not go for the next best thing: panda-themed gifts. From stuffed toy pandas to panda phone cases, bookmarks, bags, teacups, keyrings, and postcards, you will find plenty of panda-adorned souvenirs in Chengdu to remember your once-in-a-lifetime encounter with these adorable black-and-white balls of fur. If you want to go all the way, you can send home your wishes via panda post, at the Panda Post Office, located at no. 43 Shaocheng Road in the Qingyang district.
You probably won’t leave Chengdu empty-handed, so make sure to leave plenty of room in your luggage for all those gifts and clothes you’ll bring home.
There are both day tours and multi-day tours available. Or if you’re looking for a more relaxed pace and personalized experience, why not create your very own private Chengdu tour with a local guide? Visit ChinaTours.com to book online, or talk to one of our China tour experts today.