Beijing Curio City is the biggest center for curio trade in all of Asia. It is a massive complex, with more than 500 stores spread over 23,000 square meters and four floors. Within the complex there are also hotels, meeting rooms and eateries, so if a weekend shopping trip is desired, every box can be ticked without leaving this one huge area!
The atmosphere within Beijing Curio City is much more chilled than some of the shopping centers in the city. This is partly due to the sellers and shop owners within – almost all are invested in their goods for sale, and have knowledge of antiques and general Chinese curio. Walking around Beijing Curio City is like taking a stroll around a museum, and a lot can be learned about Chinese culture by doing just that. For those with a keen interest in history and a desire to engage with the vendors, a full day should be allowed at the very least.
Beijing Curio City is somewhat organised so it is possible to plan a trip there and focus on particular areas of interest. The first floor displays mostly items crafted from jade, the second and third floors house antiques and carpets, and the fourth floor specializes in antique clocks and watches. As well as these main displays, there are also paintings, porcelain goods, calligraphy, coins, jewelry and vintage furniture for sale.
It goes without saying that many of the items within Beijing Curio City are very convincing fakes of vintage and antique items. Cheap replicas still have their place for many shoppers, but serious collectors should always examine closely and be discerning. Of course, bargaining is expected for any and all items for sale, and the earliest shoppers have the best chance of finding the awesome deals. The stores here do not open until 10am, and it is advised to arrive when the shops open for the best chance of a genuine bargain.