Chengdu is every shopper’s paradise. If you’re headed to the Sichuan province, it’s almost a sin not to visit at least a few night markets and shopping districts on its capital city. Chengdu has numerous shopping streets, districts, and malls where you can find your cheap loots of souvenirs, local goods, and even some delicious snacks. In this post, we reviewed 7 of the best places to do cheap shopping in Chengdu and what you should expect.
Come by and check out these bustling shopping destinations in this holiday city:
OUR TOP DESTINATION: New Century Global Mall
Store Name: New Century Global Mall
Price range: Mid to high-end
Address: Wuhou Qu, Chengdu, China
If there’s a quintessential shopping mall in Sichuan, it would be the New Century Global Mall in the Tianfu New Area at Chengdu. It’s the world’s largest building in terms of floor area. In fact, the Sydney Opera House can fit inside it with more space to spare.
And what should we expect from this gargantuan place than a myriad of dining, shopping, and leisure experience? Inside the building, there’s a waterpark (yes, an indoor waterpark!), 5-star hotel, skating rink, movie theaters, museums, and more. There are over hundreds, if not thousands, of stores here to keep you busy shopping.
If your money is on shopping and nothing else, head straight to the shopping center inside. It occupies 400,000 square meters of the total floor area of 1.7 million square meters. In average, about 14 million tourists visit the shopping center every year.
Here, you’ll find clothing goods, jewelry, shoes, and hundreds of specialty stores. Most of them accept credit and debit cards. But to be sure, bring enough cash for your loot.
Although the New Century Global Mall is a big place, you can find affordable items here. Just make sure that you shop outside the 5-star hotel to save some Yuans.
IFS Chengdu Mall
The IFS Chengdu Mall is a shopping and leisure spectacle along the Chunxi Road in Chenghua. It opened back in 2014 and is home to more than 300 high-end jewelry and fashion labels around the world. It’s one of the trendiest and upscale shopping center in entire China.
It stands within the business district and houses office floors and a boutique hotel. Aside from that, IFS has an IMAX theater and more than 70 restaurants that offer both local and international cuisines.
IFS Chengdu Mall sounds like a posh place, how come I can shop here cheap? You just have to be at the right store. Sure enough, there are high-street brands, but there are also shops that feature the works of local designers. You can shop for clothing and premium jewelry without breaking the bank.
Anyway, expect that IFS Chengdu Mall has a higher price range than night markets. If you don’t have the budget for that, we listed more affordable options below.
A big bonus here in IFS is the ‘climbing’ Panda on the side of the building. It’s like King Kong climbing to the top of the Empire State Building.
If you got tired of sightseeing and shopping, you could dine on their massive food court. Also, the IFS Chengdu Mall probably has the cleanest toilets in the entire city.
Chun Xi Lu Shopping District
If you don’t have the money to splurge on the IFS Chengdu Mall, you can take a stroll to the Chunxi Road Shopping District. There are high-end shops and affordable options for those on a budget. This stretches to the east of Bexin Street so expect to see lots of shops and restaurants along the way.
This street gets crowded, but the broad pavement ensures that each tourist has a place for a nice stroll. Just watch out for your belongings to evade pickpockets.
Most of all, don’t let the high-end brands intimidate you. Keep walking until you find bargain stores. Overall, there are more than 700 commercial shops along the street. You can also check the Isetan Shopping Mall, Parkson Shopping Center, and the Jingyi Glasses store.
If you know how to haggle, you can get a nice winter coat for just $20 in one of the bargain shops.
Once you get tired and hungry from walking, you can have a bite in one of the numerous eateries and restaurants here. Try Chinese dishes like Zhong dumplings, Han Baozi, and Lai Tangyuan. If local food isn’t your thing, there’s a line of KFC, Pizza Hut, Bread Talk, and other foreign fast-food chains here.
Jinli Chengdu Folk Street
If you want a peek of Chengdu’s culture while shopping, Jinli Pedestrian Street is the place to be. It has branching alleyways that emanate the traditional Chinese culture. There are teahouses, hotels, and stores in this flagstone-paved street.
Here, you’ll find old-world stores with the Qing Dynasty style architecture. During the day, you can shop around and explore the street. But if you really want to see this place come to life, you should stick around until nighttime.
The whole stretch of the street gets adorned with red lanterns that imbibe a sleepy and cozy feeling.
Make sure that you drop by Shu Embroidery to purchase some souvenirs. The place sells pillowcases, quilts, shoes, purses, and embroidered clothing.
Aside from this, you can find artisan shops here that sell lacquerware, bamboo products, and other wood items.
Also, expect to find folk artists putting up Shadow Puppetry shows. Sometimes, they also place a wooden stage where some folks will perform classic Sichuan Operas. On other days when live shows aren’t available, the locals screen movies in front of the stage.
Overall, shopping around Jinlin isn’t just a money-saving experience. You also get to witness Chinese culture unfold right before your eyes.
He Hua Chi Wholesale Shopping District
The He Hua Chi Shopping District is dubbed as the ‘bargainer’s paradise’. The goods here are far from high-end brands and everything comes affordable. It’s also a favorite place for wholesalers and retailers who are buying the items in bulk.
Take note that this place is massive and it will take you days to explore all the shops. Anyway, the stores here are organized based on the category of their products, so finding things should be easy.
If you’re purchasing many items, you can haggle by as much as half the price. Anyway, for the usual souvenirs, you can haggle with 25% off the price set by the seller. You can save a few Yuans in this cheap shopping in Chengdu.
If you have the time, we suggest that you shop around to compare items and prices. Here, you’ll find overwhelming options shop by shop. There are rows of pantyhoses, polo shirts, shorts, belts, and other mass-produced items that will make you go beyond the airline baggage limit.
Take note that this place gets crowded and you might feel drowning during the peak days of shopping. If ever you want to rest, you can drop by a restaurant to have a quick bite.
Song Xian Qiao Night Market
The Song Xian Qiao Night Market is also known to be Chengdu’s antique and art center. The place is lined with booths where most are selling prayer beads, stamps, old coins, and Buddha statues.
When you walk inside, there’s a three-storey arts and antique building. There’s a southern building where you can check out, and probably purchase, artworks. There are a lot of fascinating artworks that you can discover in the place.
The good thing about Song Xian Qiao is that they have a lot of affordable items to offer. You can also haggle if you’re purchasing a rather expensive piece.
It could be a bit off the beaten track, but this night market is unique in its own right. Also, you won’t find a lot of foreigners here and the language barrier could be a challenge. If you wish to explore the Song Xian Qiao market thoroughly, it’s best to hire a tour guide.
Anyway, if you want to visit a place that’s not crowded and not frequented by fellow tourists, this night market is the perfect spot. It’s not easy to reach, but it’s worth the visit.
The sellers here are happy to haggle. If you’re planning to purchase an item, visit and try to haggle in multiple stores first before purchasing.
The Kuanzhai or Kuan Zhai lane is one of the most historic districts in Chengdu. It’s also well preserved which you’ll see on the courtyards and its old-world alleyways.
Overall, Kuanzhai Lane isn’t just a shopping destination. It’s also a top tourist spot for its 45 Qing Ming Dynasty ancient courtyards, gardens, villas, and themed hotels.
This lane is a breath of fresh air from the busy and buzzing night markets of Chengdu. You’ll be transported to the 16th-century era with the place’s architecture and culture. Kuanzhai is both a landscape and gardening wonder on this side of the city.
For shopping, you’ll find shops selling traditional and novelty items. Kuanzhai is a great destination for cheap shopping in Chengdu. It’s the perfect place to shop for souvenirs before you head home after the vacation.
Aside from that, Kuanzhai Lane is also the best place to taste Chengdu’s native street food. Here, you can find roasted pig ears, pig noses, roasted scorpions, and more exotic delicacies.
If you want to avoid the large crowds, it’s best to go here in the afternoon during weekdays. There are few local shoppers at that time and the tourists haven’t flocked yet.
If ever you got tired from walking, there are many restaurants and eateries here to tuck away in between visiting shops.
*Always bring cash (Yuan)
If you’re shopping in alleys and streets, don’t expect that the stores will accept credit or debit cards. Small stores will only accept Yuan payments. Also, not all of these areas have an accessible ATM slot. With that, make sure that you have enough cash for your shopping spree.
Another tip: always bring small denominations. Some dubious sellers will try to dupe you by escalating the prices or giving improper change.
*Learn some Chinese phrases
Knowing how to say “how are you” (Ni hao ma?) in Chinese always warms the heart of the locals. It’s also an excellent way to set the mood for the next reminder.
Anyway, if you can’t manage some Chinese, you can still shop around. Sellers use calculators to communicate the price. You can also tag a local friend to guide you on your shopping.
This tip applies only on shopping streets, alleys, and stores outside malls. Start haggling at a fraction of the price of around 25% lower than what the seller says. Chances are you’re going to save some dollars as you haggle around. Cheap shopping in Chengdu always involve bargaining with the seller.
You can also use the “walk away” tactic. If the price is still high after haggling, pretend that you lose interest. Slowly walk away but keep your eyes on the prize. Some sellers will call you back and agree for a lower price. But if you don’t get called back, shop on another store or accept your defeat by paying the higher price tag.
*Watch your belongings
Shopping streets and night markets can get crowded. It’s best to divide your money in small denomination and tuck it in different pockets. If ever the worse happens, you won’t be left empty-handed. Just like any place, there can be pickpockets in Chengdu. Also, don’t bring your passport unless you feel the need to do so.
Anyway, don’t believe the myths that you shouldn’t wear expensive things while shopping. Although you’re not really supposed to flaunt an expensive necklace, the shady sellers won’t stop ripping you off if you didn’t wear your wedding ring.
*Take your time
Don’t settle in just one seller. If you’re looking for an item, say an antique vase, visit multiple shops before buying one. This way, you can compare prices and check the authenticity of the item. That’s how you do cheap shopping in Chengdu.
Cheap shopping in Chengdu doesn’t have to be a hard find. With our top 7 shopping places to visit, you now have a bucket list to fulfill during your Chengdu visit. From upscale to budget-friendly options, the streets and malls of the city have a lot to offer to tourists like you.