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Xidan 西单

Dongcheng 东城区

This is one of Beijing's most popular shopping streets, and a rather unusual mishmash of ultra-modern and downright dingy. The Grand Pacific department store undoubtedly falls into the former, with its glittering Dior and Calvin Klein perfume stands. It stocks good-quality everything, including clothes, home wares, sporting goods and designer jewelry. On the opposite side of the street is a rather bizarre selection of cheap clothing outlets, with Adidas, Nike and Reebok at the southern end. The Xidan Department Store, while not as well stocked as the Grand Pacific, does offer some nice jewelery and handbags. In between the two is the Xidan Shopping Centre, which is worth a visit for the experience. Like a flea market or jumble sale, it is packed with a mixture of tack and quite nice, affordable clothes. Meanwhile, for those in search of electronics, don't miss the Xidan Sci-Tech Square.

The Xidan Cultural Square forms the centre of the area, and is a massive complex of rather un-cultural (but fun) activities including a cinema, bowling alley, swimming pool and climbing wall. The area has loads of places to eat, including street food and Chinese, American and Japanese fastfood chains. Shops are open daily from 08:00 to 22:00.

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