Nanjing Road in Shanghai City is one of the world’s longest and busiest shopping streets, stretching over 5 Km and attracting over a million visitors daily from all over the world. The bustling street dates back to the Qing Dynasty, and many of the same shops from that time are still trading today. It was famously named one of the World’s Seven Great Roads in the 1930s; today it is a must-see metropolitan destination. The street is named after the city of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu neighboring Shanghai.
Nanjing Road features over 600 businesses including massive modern multi-level shopping malls, historic stores, specialty stores, restaurants, and world-class hotels. Along this largely pedestrian-friendly street, you’ll find every conceivable type of consumer good, from street vendors selling Chinese foods and souvenirs to expensive boutiques selling traditional arts and crafts, as well as a number of mega shopping malls and department stores. It is also an entertainment hub, home to many theaters, cinemas, attractions, and street performances.
Nanjing Road is located in the city center, running in a west–east direction. Its eastern section is in Huangpu District and extends from The Bund west to People’s Square. The western section begins at People’s Square and continues westward towards Jing’an District. A traffic free zone, Nanjing East Road is more historical. It stretches from People’s Square to the Bund Waterfront, and is usually overcrowded, especially in the afternoon and during weekends. It has shops, flagship stores, malls, and European-style restaurants and cafes.
Central Market is a century-old outdoor market today specializing in electronic components and digital media. Nanjing West Road is modern and is reputed as a famous luxurious shopping center with many high-end boutiques catering to the brand-conscious. Nanjing Road Pedestrian is the car-free central section between People’s Park and Henan Zhonglu, known for its stationery and book stores. The Golden Belt in the road includes public facilities such as seats, shopping booths, enquiry booths, signboards, sculptures, street lights, trash boxes, and telephone booths. The Manhole Covers here are cast in gold and copper and are embossed with images of the iconic buildings of the road.
5 Things To Do On Nanjing Road
- Explore traditional and modern stores: Over 600 businesses on the road include traditional stores and specialty shops selling choice silk goods, jade, embroidery, wool, and clocks, and upscale stores selling brands like Tiffany, Mont Blanc, Omega, and Dunhill.
- Experience authentic Shanghai food: Centuries-old traditional food stores abound on Nanjing Road offering a range of local specialties including sesame ice cream, smoked fish, moon cakes, various kinds of local snacks, traditional cakes, wontons, desserts, and special treats for traditional Chinese festivals. You can enjoy eating all these along the Huangpu River.
- Take the Dangdang sightseeing tram:For an unforgettable experience, take a ride on the old-style Dangdang tram which operates from 8:30 to 22:30 daily. On the slow bus, you can see the road at leisure. A single trip takes about 10 minutes.
- Enjoy the night view: Flashing neon signs illuminate the magnificent buildings and light up the night skyline of this lively city. Open-air shows, abstract sculptures, and street sounds enhance the experience of night strolls.
- Catch a festival: It’s especially fun to visit during major holidays such as the Chinese New Year when the street becomes a focal point for festivities and fireworks.
5 Key Attractions on Nanjing Road
- The Shanghai Museum: The world’s largest museum of Chinese bronze works; China’s best museum for art and artifacts.
- Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall: Showcases how planners envisage the future of Shanghai with a stunning to-scale model of inner Shanghai stretching over an entire floor.
- Jing’an Temple: A Buddhist temple dating back to the Southern Song Dynasty almost 800 years ago, with a delicious vegetarian restaurant and bakery.
- Shanghai Theatre: Acrobatic shows include tightrope and spinning plates.
- Shanghai Madame Tussauds Wax Museum: Statues of life-like celebrities in wax.
5 Tips For Nanjing Road
- Avoid and say NO firmly to any touts and random people offering dubious services.
- To avoid large crowds, avoid busy hours such as weekends, holidays, and peak meal and shopping hours.
- If you want to go to a particular shop, check its location, days, and timings before you go.
- You can choose to wander along the whole road or just part of it according to physical strength and time. If you are not keen on walking, use the metro to go directly to your places of interest on the Road. If you want to explore the road on foot, start at the pedestrian street section (at Nanjing East Road Station), for the most character and culture. It is well worth visiting at day and night, especially if you are into photography. Then see the attractions centered around Peoples Square. Next check out Taikoo Hui and the Starbucks roastery, then visit Jingan Temple and City Plaza. If you don’t have enough time, visit the prime stretch of Nanjing Road between Huanghe Road and Henan Zhong Road.
- For good deals, look for small shops in the adjacent streets, where you can find real bargains.
Shopping on Nanjing Road
Famous Historic Stores
- Shanghai Laojiefu Department (1860) – cloths, silks, and fabrics
- Heng Da Li Clocks and Watches Co. (1864) – high-end watches and clocks sales and repairs
- Cai Tong De Pharmacy (1882) – four stories of Chinese traditional medicines
- Shao Wan Sheng (1852) – specialty local foods
- Duo Yun Xuan (1900) – Chinese calligraphy and painting, writing materials, woodblock printing
- Lao Feng Xiang Jewellers (1848) – jewellery, gifts, and souvenirs
- Heng De Li Clocks and Watches Co. – luxury clocks and watches
- Guanlong Photographic Equipment Co. – high-end photographic equipment
- Lao Da Fang – smoked fish and moon cakes made with a secret ancestral recipe
- The Old Phoenixes (1848) – ornaments made from gold, silver, and diamonds.
- Shen Da Cheng – all kinds of desserts and local snacks
- Zhang Xiao Quan – specially crafted non-rust scissors with decorative handles for shearing silk fabric smoothly
- Wu Liang Cai – specializes in various glasses
Modern Malls on Nanjing East Road
- Shanghai Sports Goods General Shop – all kinds of sports equipment
- Hualian Commercial Building – fashion and accessories
- Shanghai Landmark – ten floors of homeware, fashion, and accessories.
- Shanghai No.1 Department Store –China’s first iconic department store, featuring 8 floors of modern shopping retail therapy.
Shops on Nanjing West Road
- HKRI Taikoo Hui– over 250 brands and several eateries.
- 2.Starbucks Reserve Roastery – largest Starbucks store in the world with several attractions
- Shanghai New World Co., Ltd. (New World City) – 12 floors of shopping, entertainment, and dining.
- TAG Heuer – China’s largest store for the Swiss watch brand.
- 5Westgate Mall (Westgate Isetan)– mid-level price shopping mall covering 10 floors offering shopping, entertainment, and dining.
- CITIC Square– five floors of fashion and dining.
- Plaza 66– high-end luxury brand mall offering Prada, Hermes, Christian Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Cartier, Celine, Bvlgari, Loewe, Hugo Boss, Gieves & Hawkes, Lagerfeld, Escada, Versace, and many more.
- Shanghai Center– three floors of luxury brand name fashion including Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Paul & Shark, and more.
- Jiuguang Department Store (City Plaza) – 10 floors of dining, entertainment, and shopping including homewares and high-end fashion brands.
Recommended Hotels on Nanjing Road
Getting to Nanjing Road
To the middle of Nanjing Road
1. Take Metro Line 1, Line 2 or Line 8 and get off at People’s Square.
2. Take City Sightseeing Bus Line 1 and get off at Madame Tussauds.
To East Nanjing Road:
Take Metro Line 2, Line 10, or City Sightseeing Bus Line 1 and get off at East Nanjing Rd. Station.
To West Nanjing Road:
1. Take Metro Line 2, Line 12 or Line 13 and get off at West Nanjing Rd. Station.
2. Take bus 23, 24, 41, 301, 304, or 955 and get off at Shimen Yilu Nanjing Xilu Station.