Where to Shop and What to Buy in Xi'an
The scope for Shopping in Xian is vast, with everything from quaint little street stalls to the modern mega malls. Traditional Chinese crafts and local souvenirs are the order of the day. Much like Russian Babushka dolls in Moscow, Terracotta Warriors are for sale everywhere in all shapes and sizes. All the major museums sell souvenirs and the Muslim Quarter is a great spot for picking up cheap curios.
Bearing in mind that the majority of goods are counterfeit, don't be too surprised if they lack quality. Bargaining is an inherent part of Chinese culture, so be sure to go in guns blazing as street vendors are notoriously stubborn. The city’s strong cultural heritage is translated into three categories, traditional arts and crafts, folk handicrafts and replicas of cultural relics.Read More
Xi'an Shopping Items
For those interested in Chinese calligraphy or the history of the language, books can be purchased that provide accurate and extensive texts and visuals offering a great opportunity to enhance your knowledge on the ancient form of calligraphy.
The folk paintings of Xian borrow their line drawing techniques and brush strokes from traditional Chinese brush painting. Popular souvenirs, the artists draw inspiration from cultural and historical figures, flowers, birds and animals. The canvases are laden with colour and eye catching images that seek to illustrate the atmosphere of life in rural China. Paintings can be purchased at most tourist attractions, from street vendors and the shops around the areas of museums and relics.
Originating in the Song Dynasty, Qing Ciqi – Green Porcelain is a method of porcelain making that is widely used in teapots, often portraying animals and floral themes as a decorative feature. The elegant material is durable and is especially popular as a means to make crockery.
Paper cutting is a popular folk art in Shaanxi Province and is used as interior decoration by locals during holidays and weddings. During these times villagers take to adorning their walls and doors with colorful paper cuttings to signify the celebration or holiday’s season. Symbolising themes such as good luck, happiness, scenery, legends and myths – the designs are eclectic and rich in colour. Don’t expect to pay much for one of these unique decorations, but as per usual still be prepared to bargain.
Tang Pottery Replicas
As the capital of the Tang Dynasty, Xian continues to produce replicas of the pottery the Dynasty was so revered for. Distinct for its blue, green and yellow glazes of colour, it is still handmade and complies with traditional themes such as figurines, ceramic camels and horses. All visitors should be aware that all of these are replicas, regardless of the lengths the vendor may go to protest the age of his goods and it's worth remembering that the Tang era was between 600 and 900 AD which would make anything from that time a museum piece. Check out Xian Friendship store and Xian cultural relics for some good and reasonably priced replicas.
Many different types and sizes of these enigmatic souvenirs can be bought and taken home – from a few inches to life size! Of course the price rises in conjunction with the height of the models. Life-size replicas can be bought for anywhere from $500 to $1,000, depending on your haggling skills.
This usually includes shipping. The best place to buy is probably after having a tour of the site, on which you will visit one of the factories; this is the surest way to get a fair price. Otherwise, Xian’s most iconic souvenir can be purchased from most places around the city.
Shopping Streets and Markets
Jiefang Road is where you will find the Minsheng and Jiefang Department stores. It is also home to over 500 commercial and recreational services.
Century Golden Flower Shopping Center
Selling over 100,000 types of commodities famous in China and around the world, this is the shopping destination for those who want to buy up branded products that have been made in China, but for a fraction of the cost.
Xian’s version of Bond Street, this is the city’s most affluent commercial area, where Plazas and high-end boutiques are plentiful. Luomashi Garment Trading Market is in the area as is Tanshi Street Vegetable and Non-staple Food Mall.
Shuyuanmen Ming and Qing Street
This street is occupied with many stores selling porcelain, pottery, ancient books, and calligraphy and tablet inscriptions – the best place to buy up cultural relics and crafts.
The Wholesale Market
Xiang has the largest wholesale market in Northwest China. Expect to find vendors trading in leather goods, garments, sundry goods, medicinal herbs and agricultural products. This market is worthwhile checking out to experience how the Chinese operate a wholesale market, expect a buzzing and slightly chaotic atmosphere.