Cultural shows are dance shows that most hotels in Leh can organise for you. There are supposed to be several cultural groups that can perform these dances for you. A private show costs about 100 dollars. To their defense, the dances are suggestive and the clothes, from the several Ladakhi regions, colourful. Some of the dances performed only took place at the court of the king.
Unique Suggestions: It's a trap, and yet it's probably the closest one can get to watching traditional dances and costumes - I'm not talking about authenticity, but chances are that one can not see those dances otherwise. Catching a monastery festival with dances is easy enough in Ladakh, catching paesant dances is nearly impossible. As for the royal dances, forget about them...
Fun Alternatives: You can try to ask around for local original dances, but they tend to take place informally, and regular visitors would never find out about them - so I guess the show is your only option.
Count your rupees
Most Kashmiri shops. There are about thirty of them in town, and only a few honest ones. Most will try to get you for every rupee they can get. You will think you are getting a good deal and find out later that locals pay less than half that price. Also, many times, they try to pass off inferior goods as the real things, like silk carpets or pashmina shawls.
Unique Suggestions: Start your bargaining at maybe a tenth of their original price. Some things, like the Kashmiri silk carpets, only they have. Find a shop that is reputable and shop there.
Fun Alternatives: Buy Ladakhi or Tibetan for as much as you can. The Pashmina Emporium, for example gives accurate information as to the grades of material they have. You will pay more there, but will be getting the real thing, not a cheap imitation (angora rabbit wool).