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There’s nothing more au courant than returning home from Beijing with a photograph or piece of artwork from one of the city’s many contemporary artists. You can find such a treasure at 798 Art District, a Soviet-era electronics factory complex that has been turned into a maze of galleries, restaurants and hip coffee houses.
China supplies the much of the world’s cultured fresh-water pearls. Bargaining for a strand (or two) is a fun challenge that makes bringing home your acquired treasure even more satisfying. Look for pearls in the stalls at the Hongqiao (Pearl) Market near the Temple of Heaven.