There are excellent reasons why so many visitors head to Macau every day, over the bridge from nearby China, on the ferry from Hong Kong or by air from all over the world. Famous for its glittering casino resorts, the impressive UNESCO World Heritage Historic Centre of Macao and delicious Macanese food, you might be surprised to learn that there are quite a few places to go shopping in Macau.
Whether your tastes run from luxury brands (at some of the best prices in Asia, thanks to the territory’s free port status) to quirky independent shops in Macau, a bit of retail therapy can be a lot of fun.
For such a small territory, Macau has a lot of shops. You could spend days wandering through shops on the Cotai Strip alone.
While the city is so small as to be mostly walkable, you’ll find shops in most of the popular places to visit in Macau but there are also plenty of hidden gems to be discovered.
Head just a little off the beaten track and you’ll be well-rewarded – or stay firmly on the straight and narrow, you’re guaranteed a retail therapy trip to remember.
Whether you’re day tripping to Macau or staying longer, here’s your guide to shopping in Macau.
Where to go shopping in Macau
The downtown area covers some of Macau’s most historic districts.
Senado Square is the city’s heart and one of its busiest areas.
This is a great place to go for high street fashion, jewellery, antiques and a diverse range of shops fill the streets around.
Nearby Rua de Sao Domingos is especially good for cosmetics stores and Korean brands such as Innisfree and Etude House rub shoulders with Chinese pharmacies, Lush, and The Body Shop.
Picturesque Rua de Felicidade, Macau’s evocatively-named former red light district, is now better known for its bakeries (pick up traditional almond cookies to take home) and souvenir shops.
At Once Upon A Time, you can buy trinkets and postcards to mail home there and then.
Head towards the Ruins of St Paul’s for more souvenirs.
Tourist shops are clustered around the foot of its steps, ranging from cheap eateries to opulent antique shops.
Some of the best antiques can be found on Rua dos Mercadores, including richly-embellished Buddhist wares at Gold Silver Palace.
Head down narrow Calcada do Amparo for quirky street art, and for Portuguese Street Souvenirs.
This area is also home to some interesting independent shops.
Pick up kooky housewares at Ho Ho Market, or Chinese clothes with a modern twist at the fashion boutique opposite Travessa Curta.
Jewellery shops are resplendent with heavy, richly-worked gold and jade ornaments.
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Macau’s Inner Harbour
The Inner Harbour has a more local flavour than other areas of the city and it’s more popular with Macanese residents than tourists.
Red Market is worth a look.
Built in 1936, the distinctive building houses an extensive wet market and sundry goods, and it’s a great spot for people-watching.
The surrounding streets are a good place to pick up jewellery or Chinese clothes, with plenty more shopping options down Avenue de Horta e Costa.
There are plenty of cafes in this area if you need a breather.
Right by the Hong Kong ferry terminal, the Outer Harbour is an increasingly popular destination for shoppers.
It’s centred on Fisherman’s Wharf, a recently-opened (2006) entertainment area which mimics various European-style buildings, from Rome to New Orleans.
Shops in Fisherman’s Wharf are high-end and focused on fashion.
This area also has a high concentration of casinos, many of which have luxury shopping outlets attached. At big names such as the Wynn, expect Chanel, Gucci, and Dior galore.
The Outer Harbour is a great place to pick up jewellery and watches, either from jeweller’s shops such as Chow Tai Fook or from one of the many pawn shops you’ll find close to casino entrances.
It’s also a great place to pick up blingy Chinese clothes.
For rhinestone-encrusted tiger motifs, luxe sweatpants and ornate blazers, head to Marbob (branches all over the area), recognisable by its shiny gold exterior.
For electronics, head to the New Yaohan Department Store, an emporium of gadgets.
Laid-back Old Taipa is a treasure trove of independent shops, quirky souvenirs and photogenic buildings.
Head to O’Moon for beautiful gifts and homeware inspired by Macau’s blue and white tiles, or to Cunha Bazaar for three floors of artisanal Macau keepsakes.
There’s also plenty for foodies here such as cashew cookies from Koi Kei bakery or sheets of dried meat jerky are both highly transportable purchases and readily available along Taipa’s narrow streets. Here’s a do-it-yourself tour of Taipa’s local food.
For something a little different, pick up some traditional Portuguese liquor from Tuga & Lola, or simply wander through Taipa’s lovely streets to see what you can find for yourself.
Taipa is also a good place to have a delicious meal in a Portuguese restaurant.
Macau’s glitzy Cotai Strip is home to some of the biggest malls in Asia, including the impressive Venetian Macau, complete with singing gondoliers and an indoor replica of Venice canals.
You can buy anything and everything here, from luxury brands to high street fashion, shoes, jewellery and electronics.
For something unique to the Venetian, head to Boutique di Gondola, where you can buy mementoes of your trip ranging from wallet-friendly keyrings and postcards to flamboyant, feathered Venetian masks.
If shopping on the Cotai Strip is high on the agenda, there’s a range of hotels to stay that have convenient access to shops.