Although a very modern city, Beijing remains very much a market-centered shopping experience. There are few mega centers selling food, clothing, furniture and everything in between. In Beijing, you'll have to head to the specific market for the item you want. This old school method is fun, and gives you a cornucopia of choice when you shop.
The most famous market in Beijing is the antique market Panjiayuan. Here you'll find a collection of affordable fakes and unaffordable real antiques. Unless you really know your Chinese antiques don't assume anything here is real and pay accordingly. Reports that up to 80% of the items on offer are knock offs can be believed fairly easily. Still, its a fun experience and you might walk away with a gem.
The Pearl Market, Silk Market and Ya Show Markets are all general clothing and trinket shopping for the tourists. You'll find the sales girls speak English fairly well and as a result the prices and scams can be a bit high. Negotiate on everything down to 1/4th of the original asking price as a simple rule of thumb. You'll find fun silks and affordable pearls, but unless you know your merchandise assume its fake until proven otherwise.
For food, enjoy a bit of exotic charm at the Dong Hua Men Night Market where you can try anything from squid to scorpion on a stick. Don't be fooled, these odd items are entirely edible and although not consumed regularly in China, the locals find it a fun and adventurous experience just like the tourists. For more familiar foods, if you want fresh produce, try the Farm Produce Wholesale Market-- where prices are low, quantities are high and the photography is awesome.
Pan Jia Yuan Road
A Must for Weekend Antique Hunting... read more
16 Hongqiao Lu
On the northeast corner of the Temple of Heaven
East Jianguomenwai Dajie
Directly above Yong'an Li subway stop
The best place for souvenirs and fakes... read more
Zhu Bao Market Street, Qian Men Avenue
Xuan Wu District
Silk Market Popular with Chinese Tourists... read more
58 Gontirentiyuchang Beilu
Across the street from Workers' Stadium
Five floors of all the clothing you need... read more
A recreation of an ancient shopping street...
Xing Dong An Plaza
off Wangfujing Daije