Suzhou Shopping Guide provides you the detailed information about Suzhou local specialties, featured shopping areas, What to Buy in Suzhou, Where to Buy in Suzhou, Suzhou Local Products, Suzhou Souvenirs, Suzhou Shopping Districts, Streets and Malls.
What to Buy in Suzhou
Shopping in Suzhou is not only to enjoy the beautiful things, but also to experience the folk customs. The intelligence Suzhou people produce the delicate goods. As early as in Ming and Qing Dynasties, the goods will be sold extraordinary well so long as they have a “Su” character on it.
Arts and Crafts in Suzhou
Su embroidery features rich colors, inspiring designs, refined needlework, smooth finish and realistic presentation. It is also known for its characteristic stitching techniques and use of split silk threads. For instance, Su embroiderers usually split a hair-thin silk thread into two to 16 thinner threads. Different thread thicknesses are used for different parts of a subject in embroidery to create subtle shades, smooth color transition and a lifelike effect.
Suzhou fans have a long history and are famous at home and abroad. The exquisite sandalwood fan, folding fan, silk palace fan, paper fan are all characteristic of arts. The production of sandalwood fan include zigzag shaped steel thread on the two ends of a bamboo bow and the engraving of flowers with it. “Ironing Flowers” refers to the drawing of flowers and characters on the spread sandalwood fan with an electric pen. The drawing is vivid, with clear gradations, has the effect of drawing on paper. “Drawing Flowers” refers to the drawing of women, flowers and birds, mountains and waters on the silk on the upper half of the fan. The picture is colorful and the drawing is fine and delicate.
Taohuawu Woodblock New Year Prints(桃花坞木刻年画)
Taohuawu woodblock New Year prints are so named because the painting genre, heavily influenced by Suzhou-style literati painting, were primarily created and produced in Taohuawu. Historical records are indicated that among 40 New Year print workshops in Suzhou in the Qing Dynasty, two thirds were located in Taohuawu. The brand of Taohuawu had been already developed and stood out by the middle of the 18th century. In fact, Taohuawu woodblock New Year prints originated from woodblock printing of the Song Dynasty. Based on embroidered images, Taohuawu woodblock print evolved into an independent folk art genre during the Ming Dynasty. The extant earliest Taohuawu New Year print is "Longevity Stars" created in 1597.
In addition to its stunning gardens and flowing canals, Suzhou has been at the centre of China’s illustrious silk trade for centuries. Delve into the ancient techniques and fine craftsmanship of Suzhou’s most famous export. Because of its historical association with riches and royalty, Suzhou has had a major part to play in the prosperity of China’s silk trade. Silk was, of course, the material of choice for the garments of the ruling classes and, since the arrival of the gentry, cultivation of silk has been an integral branch of Suzhou’s past. As a city famous for its silk products for a quite long time, Suzhou is one of the best places to purchase silk handicrafts,
This intricate craft uses the olive pit (or stone) as a tiny canvas for highly intricate and detailed carvings to create a miniature 3-D works of art. The best-known olive-pit carving was created in 1737 and depicts a boat with eight people, furnishings and 300 characters from a Chinese poem. That masterpiece can be seen in Taiwan’s National Palace Museum.
Song Brocade, as its name implies, is a kind of brocade developed during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It is mainly produced in Suzhou, the ancient “Silk City,” and hence is also called Suzhou Song Brocade. As an ancient city of silk famous in China, Suzhou has been recognized as the land of brocade and satin. Suzhou Song Brocade is characterized by its bright color, exquisite patterns, and solid but soft texture, and has been acknowledged as one of the three types of celebrated brocade in China, together with Yun Brocade of Nanjing and Shu Brocade of Sichuan.
Best Souvenirs for Friends and Relatives
This style began more than a thousand years ago, and is known for its layers of flaky dough and generous allotment of sugar and lard. Within this regional type, there are more than a dozen variations. It is also smaller than most other regional varieties. Suzhou-style mooncakes feature both sweet and savory types, the latter served hot and usually filled with pork mince. Filling made from salt and pepper (椒盐) are common in flaky Suzhou-style mooncake.
Bi luo chun is a very famous green tea in China for its beautiful appearance, bright color, strong fragrance and mellow taste. Bi luo chun is a Green Tea that is also one of the 10 Chinese famous teas. Bi luo chun is famous in the world for its beautiful appearance, bright color, strong fragrance and mellow taste. Suzhou is home to one of the most famous and premium varieties of tea in the world called Biluochun, which was usually offered to the imperial family back in the days. Biluochun and Hangzhou's Dragon Well are two varieties that's usually considered #1 and #2 in China. It's worth getting some in Suzhou (note that in China traditional teas are only sold in loose leaf).
Suzhou Writing Brush(苏州毛笔)
Since ancient times, Suzhou has been home to many fine writers. They used to write using a special brush with ink and this led to beautiful calligraphy. The distinctive writing brush is made from the finest materials and these days, a hint of technology! What better souvenir than calligraphy set from Suzhou?
Sweet Dried Fruit(蜜饯)
It's a traditional dessert from Suzhou, made from all kinds of plums and other fruit. There are a lot of varieties so it's hard to describe what they all are. It's best to just try different ones and see which ones you like. There will be a lot of shops everywhere in the old town selling this. One of the more famous ones is Caizhizhai(采芝斋), close to the Pedestrian Street.
Where to Buy in Suzhou
You have gone Suzhou’s famous classical gardens, explored the canals and had some great food. Now it’s time to have some fun and go Shopping! Suzhou is a great place to find bargains but you’ve got to know where to go.
Best Shopping Streets and Food Streets in Suzhou
The Taijian Alley is the first place where you can find the delicious food. Many of Suzhou's most famous restaurants are concentrated here. Fenghuang Street and Shiquan Street are connected in a vertical and horizontal direction, especially the Master of the Nets Garden. It is very close to Shiquan Street. It is a 200-meter lane in Quanqian Street. Tiajian alley in the past time was famous for a place where eunuchs of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) congregated. Nowadays Taijian Alley becomes into a famous gourmet (food) street in Suzhou.
Shiquan Street is located in the hotel area in the old downtown of Suzhou. There strew many Ming and Qing Dynasties style architectures including characteristic restaurants and craftwork shops, such as tea house featured culture and catering of Wu, Japanese Restaurant, Korean barbecue, Cantonese dish, etc., which are scramble for by both home and oversea travelers. Famous craftworks like Suzhou Embroidery, chinaware antique, calligraphy and painting, chinaware, silk, inscriptions, jade, rosewood articles can be found here.
Suzhou Shantang Street has a long history of development and is a very prosperous place. There are many businesses and shops on this street. It is very lively. Many old and famous buildings are also on this street, such as De Yue Lou, Song He Lou, at the same time, is also a well-known night market street in Suzhou, not only a variety of local Suzhou cuisine, but also some foreign cuisine.
Guanqian Street is located in Suzhou city center, an area covering 0.52 square kilometers, the commercial part of the city. There are many features of the street, including the famous century-old shops such as Huangtianyuan, Sanwanchang, Caizhizhai and so on, which gain an international reputation. It is precisely the existence of these century-old shops that make the Guanqian Street not only become a typical commercial street, but also illustrate the culture of Suzhou. Tourists at home and broad are attracted by these century-old shops because there is variety of Jiangnan dishes available in those century-old shops. Meanwhile, some of the shops have a long history of more than 100 years, which gives the tourists deep impressions and many of the tourists visiting Guanqian street just come to enjoy the delicious food.
Suzhou Xizhongshi Street(苏州西中市)
Xizhongshi, Suzhou, is by far the only well-preserved old street of the Republic of China in Suzhou. It was an extremely rich and wealthy place 600 years ago. In this street, countless foods and snacks are hidden. Although many people are exhausted all the way, they are excited to come to this street to taste the characteristic gourmet snacks.
Fenghuang street is a mile-long ancient street in Suzhou’s old town. There you will find a wide array of bars, bakeries, clothing shops, museums, and traditional Chinese restaurants. Dining on Fenghuang Street is a must when visiting Suzhou. We love eating at Xiehe’s traditional Suzhou Restaurant, snacking on Xishengyuan’s steam dumplings, or slurping up Tongdexing’s soup noodles.
Children’s Clothing Street(儿童服装街)
For children’s clothing, there is a special street called, not surprisingly, Children’s Clothing Street on Gongyuan Road. Things are cheap but you need to check everything closely. A better place for children ages 3 to 10 is The Kids’ Shop in Xindu Plaza (新都广场). Here you find good quality branded goods at very reasonable prices.
With a history of over 2,500 years, Pingjiang Road was once the main road of the ancient east Suzhou city. This road can be seen on the map of Suzhou in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).The government has protected and reconstructed the old buildings and alleys in accordance with their previous appearances and the “water flowing along the roads and alleys” structure.
Local Products/Souvenirs Stores
- Gaobing Daoxiang Village(糕饼稻香村)
Add: No. 72 Guanqian Street, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区观前街72号)
- San Wan Chang(三万昌)
Add: No. 121 Guanqian Street, Pingjiang District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市平江区观前街121号)
- Qian Tai Xiang(乾泰祥)
Add: No. 136-138 Guanqian Street, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区观前街136-138号)
Most Popular Markets in Suzhou
Situated at the Weitang Town in the Xiangcheng District, Suzhou, China, Pearl(Treasure) City has become well known far and near since its completion. It is understood that although China produces over 95 percent of the world's total output of pearls with China's output of fresh water pearls accounting for 99 percent of the world's total output, no international pearl auction has been held in China.
The market, just south of Shiquan Street, next to the Master of the Nets Garden, is a labyrinth of small jade carving shops. You can see the single Chinese character for “Jade” that looks like a capital “I” but with a line across the middle and a stroke at the inside bottom right (玉) poking out all along the winding streets.
If you are looking for famous Suzhou silks you can try the Suzhou No.1 Silk Factory on Panmen Road along the south moat. They have a great selection of bed comforters. Or try the Silk Museum at No.66 Renmin Road south of the Railroad Market.
Best Shopping Malls in Suzhou
- Suzhou Center(苏州中心)
Add: the Interjection of Suxiu Road and Xinggang Street, Wuzhong District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市吴中区苏绣路与星港街交叉口)
- Yuanrong Time Plaza(圆融时代广场)
Add: No. 268 Wangdun Road, Suzhou Industrial Park, Wuzhong District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市吴中区苏州工业园区旺墩路268号)
- Impression City(印象城)
Add: No. 1699 Xiandai Avenue, Suzhou Industrial Park, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市工业园区现代大道1699号)
Suzhou Shopping by Region
- Gusu District
- Huqiu District
- Wuzhong District
- Xiangcheng District
- Wujiang District
- Changshu City
- Taicang City
Jiangshu Shopping by Region