South China's vibrant port city has something for every kind of shopper, with glossy malls, concept stores and cutting-edge art districts. Here's our pick of favourite destinations
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TaiKoo Hui shopping mall
If you're looking for luxury, head straight to TaiKoo Hui (383 Tianhe Road). Situated a stone's throw from Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou, it's one of South China's premier shopping malls. Spread over 138,000 square metres, TaiKoo Hui is home to over 180 brands, including luxury fashion flagships Chanel and Dior, boutiques by independent Chinese designers and high-street fashion. If pacing TaiKoo Hui's five floors works up an appetite, there are plenty of dining options: more than 70 different restaurants offering Western, Asian and Chinese cuisine (plus bakeries and ice-cream parlours for sweet treats). If your purchases slow you down, pop back to the hotel for dim sum, or ‘yum cha’ at Jiang by Chef Fei, or afternoon tea at the stylish Taikoo Lounge. You can also lighten your load before heading back to the fray. Shop, drop, repeat.
Massimo Alba boutique at Fangsuo Commune
Located inside TaiKoo Hui, Fangsuo Commune is a must-visit. The book and lifestyle shop is akin to a concept store and is a welcome find among the mall's wealth of luxury brands. It's worth visiting for the architectural interior alone, which draws inspiration from classical European libraries and features awe-inspiring vaulted ceilings and striking industrial elements. Natural materials, low lighting and an in-store café make for a peaceful space that's perfect for a pit stop and leisurely browsing. As well as books, stationery and art, you'll find contemporary homeware and progressive fashion from Chinese label Exception de Mixmind and Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto. The shop also hosts artists and writers for readings and talks.
Big Buddha Temple
Located amid the bustle of central Guangzhou in Yuexiu District, Beijing Road, a well-known pedestrianised shopping street, is lined with mainstream and independent stores and dining options, from traditional Cantonese restaurants to fast-food chains. Be prepared for tourists (lots of them). If that doesn't deter you, you can pick up clothing, homeware, electronics, souvenirs and local handicrafts, all in one place. If you like the busy vibe here, head west to Shangxiajiu for a similar experience – otherwise the beautiful Big Buddha Temple situated on nearby Dong Huifu Road will provide welcome respite.
Redtory Art and Design Factory
Inspired by Beijing's 798 and Shanghai's M50 art districts, Redtory (and the surrounding area) is the place to go to buy work from up-and-coming artists. In an old industrial area to the east of the city, the Redtory Art and Design Factory (128 Yuancun Si Heng Lu), previously used for canning, is a short drive from Guangzhou's central business district and boasts a view of the Pearl River's north bank. Since its opening in 2009, it has spurred a gradual influx of artists' and makers' studios, fashion boutiques and cafés, which are giving the decaying factory buildings a creative new lease of life. See which exhibitions are on before you visit.