The main commercial center of Changsha is Bù Xíng Jiē, which translates into English as Pedestrian Shopping Street or as we call it, Walking Street. Walking Street is a street that is completely blocked off from motorized vehicles. I would guess that it’s about 1/2 a mile of clothing stores, restaurants, street food stalls, American fast food (McDonalds and KFC are the most abundant and now there is a Papa John’s Pizza), video game arcades, movie theaters, and tattoo parlors.
At night, Walking Street is crowded with Changsha’s youth. Groups of young Chinese get dressed up and go to Walking Street to hang out for the evening. The combination of bright lights and young people make Walking Street one of the more exciting places in the city, that is, before between 5 and 11pm. Confusing for the uninformed, the street turns into a ghost town at 11pm.
Walking Street is surrounded by shopping malls (with designer stores like Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabanna), alleyways lined with bars (a zoning quirk where the businesses on some streets don’t pay a liquor tax, so bars dominate these streets), dance clubs, and more American fast food. Walking Street and the surrounding area proves that there is wealth in Changsha, that there are enough people in a city like Changsha-large, but not terribly large by China’s standard-with the disposable income to support many high end businesses.