While shopping in Prague isn't on a par with many top cities in Europe, many hypermarkets and shopping malls have started to develop, offering a wider selection of products since the fall of communism. The growing competition has led to better prices for customers, making shopping in Prague a must.
The main shopping area in Prague extends from Wenceslas Square, past Na Prikope and into Republic Square; large stores such as Marks and Spencer and Debenhams are all located here. The Parizska vicinity has some international boutiques, while Mala Strana and the Old Town Square are home to small shops and art galleries. The Old Town Square also has a permanent market selling arts, crafts and souvenirs. Much of what you'll find on the thoroughfare between Charles Bridge and Old Town Square is mass-produced and overpriced.
There are several shopping malls in Prague, including the upscale Palladium in the centre of the city; Metropole Zlièín, which has cinemas and fast food eateries near the bus station; and the huge OC Nový Smíchov.
Local products include crystal ware and accessories, puppets, hand painted eggs, wooden toys, folk art and memorabilia from the communist era (army surplus hats, knives and badges). Many artists sell pen-and-ink drawings on the street, and of course you'll find many Prague souvenirs bearing the face of native son Franz Kafka. Locally-mined Czech garnets are also popular, but make sure you get a certificate of authenticity.
Most shops are open from 9am to 7pm, with some large supermarkets staying open till 10pm or 24 hours a day. Most shops in the city centre and tourist destinations are open on weekends. Some sales tax refunds are available to non-EU citizens.
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