Unirea Shopping Center: Everything you want under one roof
Unirea Shopping Center is a former communist department store which was transformed into the largest shopping area in Bucharest. Today it houses over 200 shops and boutiques in which you can buy pretty much everything you can think off (clothes, shoes, food, souvenirs, home stuff etc.). You can also find places to eat inside the shopping center. It doesn't look very appealing from the outside - I've read somewhere that they're planning on a new facade - but it's a good place to go shopping.
Village Museum: Looking for local craft gifts?
The Village Museum has a craft store with great choice of ceramics, icons, table cloths, etc. The store accepts only Romanian leu.
Also in front of the museum there are local people selling their own hand-made goods. Happy to accept dollars or euro :-)
I understand prices there are lower than in the stores of downtown Bucharest.
What to pay: The little bowls were 30,000 leu (less than $1) each, and the dark vase was 135,000 leu (about $4).
The small white table runner I bought from a lady in front of the museum was $16.
- Arts and Culture
Bucharest Mall: Bucharest Mall
Bucharest Mall is a modern shopping mall that opened in 1999. The building in which it is located has a bit of history. It is part of a series built all around the city at Ceausescu order.
The building got a good facial and today it looks a lot like a US mall. It has over 70 (expensive) stores spread over 4 levels, a large supermarket, a food court with over 20 restaurants, a multiplex cinema, a video games arcade and ... I can't think of something else to enumerate but it has almost everything one needs. It even has a big parking lot, a true rarity in Bucharest.
What to buy: Anything really...from food to clothes
- Women's Travel
Souvenirs and traditional Romanian artifacts
If you want to buy handicrafts made in Romania look for the "Artizanat" stores which can be found throughout the city. There are quite a few of them in downtown Bucharest. These stores sell local artifacts like embroidered clothing and decorations, hand painted Easter eggs, pottery, carpets, carvings, dolls, masks, and other items. Other popular places to buy Romanian goods are the shops located in the Peasant Museum and the Village Museum. Many of the artifacts are top quality and inexpensive.
- Arts and Culture
Unirea Shopping Center: An Icon of Communist Shopping?
Located right on Piata Unirii, the Unirea Shopping Center is in itself a testament to the determination of Communist development. Built in 1976, it was rumored that Ceausescu had built this after visiting New York City and seeing Macy's Department store on Herald Square.
Often touted by locals as the "original" shopping center and therefore the best. However, its supremacy has recently been called into question, with the development of the Bucharest Mall and the Orhideea Shopping complex. Nevertheless, its definitley worth taking a look.
On the ground floor, one can find such western stores and fast food restaurants, such as The Body Shop, McDonalds and KFC.
Orhideea Shopping Complex: A Great Shopping Experience!
The Orhideea Shopping Complex, is fantastic. A truly remarkable place to shop. Lots to buy, plenty of room to walk. Literally, redefines mall walking in Romania. It also includes the "Carrefour," a giant French-owned supermarket in Buch., stocking quality food, meats and a real delicatessen, with fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables. In addition, there's always the quality restaurants that sit nicely next to the variety of stores.
If you're in the mood and hungry, try "La Mama's."
It does get incredibly busy on weekend afternoons. So get there early.
Bucharest Mall: Bucharest Mall
The Bucharest Mall, is fashioned very much in the manner of an American style mall. So if you're jonesing for that American shopping experience this is the place to go. Interestingly, enough there's even a supermarket situated inside. A few kiosks litter the walkways, very similar to North American malls.
A few cafes are located on the lower level for a break from the daily shopping grind. On the upper most floor, a large ten screen movie theater, rounds out the experience. In addition to the cinema, the top floor also hosts the food court. For a taste of America, visit the "Ruby Tuesdays" also located upstairs.
Most locals tend to visit the mall and it does occasionally get quite busy, however, an interesting observation, many people will frequent the mall, but few people carry bags.
Particularly among young high school students, the mall is the place to be seen, not shop.
Libraria Noi, Micul Paris & Salingers: English Bookstores
For those looking for books in English, there are a few quality bookshops scattered around Bucharest. A fair bit of warning though, they can get quite pricey, depending on what you are looking for.
Libraria Noi - located just north of Piata Universitate, is a large, popular, quality bookstore with tons of modern lit, books on art and a tremendous selection.
Micul Paris - Is located in the Hilton, Marriott, Intercontinental, among other hotels. A good source for books, newspapers and periodicals for your English print fix.
Salingers- located in the JW Marriott Grand is a fantastic bookshop that has a great selection of fiction and non-fiction, with some fairly recent titles.
Universall: Grocery stores
We always stop by grocery stores when traveling, to buy beverages such as bottled water or soft drinks which are cheaper than other places, to check out local products or grab food to make a picnic lunch.
There are many small grocery stores throughout Bucharest but there is now a huge Universall grocery store right behind the Unirea shopping mall (not the smaller grocery store located below the mall). It's two floors of grocery store, connected with a moving walkway that you can take a grocery cart on, with a huge variety of products. We stocked up on beverages and snacks for our flight home and Kinder Eggs for the nieces and nephews since we can't buy them here (that garnered a few giggles from some young women on the metro).
If you don't bring your own bag, you have to buy one from the cashier and bag your own groceries although at this one they had some really flimsy bags which were free.
Using a credit card here caused a bit of confusion, I don't have a PIN for it so the cashier didn't know what to do. It appears that debit cards are more common in Romania.
Hanul cu Tei Complex: Antiques and art galleries
A lot of antiques stores seem to have flourished in the historic quarter in particular on Lipscani and Covaci Streets (or maybe they were there for a long time but I didn't notice them). Since I'm not into buying antiques I can't say if the prices are high or not, you'll have to judge for yourself. From what I saw you can find almost any type of artwork like paintings, sculptures, icons, etching, engraving, jewelry, tapestries, carpets etc. A nice place to visit, even if you don't plan on buying something is Hanul cu Tei Complex, a former caravanserai built in 1833. Nowadays a rectangular courtyard lined with antiques shops the place retains some of the 19C atmosphere. The courtyard links the Lipscani and Blanari Streets. They also hold auctions here. Even if you walk away with nothing, this is still an interesting experience.
- Arts and Culture
New mall at Lujerului: Mall trend in Bucharest
Romanians are atracted by the glamour of the western shopping style, and try to immitate it, not always succesfully. This in the picture is the second mall in Bucharest that actually uses the name "mall", even though there are other places as well that could cary the name.
It's called Romania Plaza, a quite impersonal and stupid name, but who cares in Bucharest when its just what people need considering the new shopping craze. A good thing with malls in Bucharest is that people actually dress more nicely when going there.
This picture is taken while the mall was being built. The mall is now open and its the biggest one in Romania.
- Arts and Culture
- Budget Travel
Unirii Shopping Centre: Unirii Shopping Centre
This shopping centre gives an impression of how Bucharest stands at the moment, with very expensive shops rubbing shoulders with shops selling very cheap stuff. There seems to be no middle ground.
What to pay: How much have you got
Unirii Shopping Center: From Gray Department Store To Cool Shopping Center
Its not easy to define Unirii shopping center, it was built under the communist regime when Ceaucescu built his "favorite project"-Unirii blvd. Since that times it went under a lot of chnges and today its one of the most bustling shopping centers of the capital.
Monday-Saturday: 9-21, Sunday 9-15
What to buy: The shopping center has huge potential has it one of the biggest in that part of Europe (there are more then 200 store and restaurant places) but yet the level of the stores nedd to get a bit better and the entertainment need to be finished until it will get a really good reputation.
A Good Books Shop
When you are walking along Calea Victoriei north to the Revolution square you will find a good books shop on a classical corner building, you should go inside, check if you like something...
What to buy: I bought 2 books about the city of Bucharest (both are in English), there is a lot of information about the history of the city and about the sights... There are other books in addition to tourists books, most of them are in Romanian i belive.
What to pay: The prices are not high at all, i bougght 2 good books for about 500000 Lei (15 Dollars).
Galeriile Victoria: Victoria Store
The Victoria store is a fashionable department store, similiar to those in western europe. It is located in a beautiful refurbished building at Calea Victoriei, in the heart of the classical Bucharest.
What to buy: The store is divided by floors. Every floor consists an other kind of merchandise. The most importent sectors are the clothes and fashion of course...
What to pay: About the same as in other shopping centers and high level stores in Bucharest.
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