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Love to shop? If you’re looking for the best cities in the U.S. to enjoy a shopping vacation, and perhaps a bit more, you can’t go wrong with these.
New York City is considered to be among the best of the best when it comes to shopping cities, regularly found on lists with London, Paris and Milan as one of the fashion capitals of the world. Many visitors come to the Big Apple just for the shopping, with Fifth Avenue in particular a shopper’s paradise with retail giants like Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman. If you’re on a budget and actually want to buy something, shop East Village for vintage finds or head to one of the greatest flea markets on the planet, the Brooklyn Flea. Treasure seekers can find everything from clothes and antiques to furniture and just about anything one can imagine. The market blurs the traditional boundaries by throwing craftspeople, jewelers and locally-made fresh food into the mix.
The Golden Gate City is the west coast version of New York when it comes to outstanding places to shop. It offers a truly world-class shopping experience, so much so that it’s been referred to as a “giant outdoor shopping mall.” But there’s a whole lot more than your typical mall stores. You’ll find unique and interesting vintage shops over in in the Haight-Ashbury district, high-end designer shops and brand name department stores in Union Square, and at the Ferry Building, a huge farmers market is held on Saturday mornings, featuring all sorts of local delicacies and handmade items like soaps and jams. In Chinatown, there are hundreds of shops and great bargains to be had, including authentic Chinese items on Stockton Street, with its fresh fish markets and other items from teas to Chinese magazines and books.
While many visitors come to Boston for its historic charms, shopping enthusiasts will discover an “over the top” retail scene with an impressive array of different shopping options, from huge malls to little hidden boutiques. You could easily spend an entire day roaming Faneuil Hall Marketplace, checking out the street performers and picking up souvenirs at the gift shops. Newbury Street offers great shopping with a mix of designer boutiques like Chanel and Kate Spade, while the Prudential Center and Copley Place feature larger chain stores. Throughout the city, there are loads of atmospheric coffee shops and a host of eateries for every budget to keep you going in between all of that shopping.
With its spectacular mountain and water surroundings, you might think Seattle would be a destination strictly for outdoor enthusiasts, but it offers a lot when it comes to shopping. Outdoor buffs who want to pick up some gear will have no trouble, with many of the top outdoor outfitters located here, like Eddie Bauer and REI, but there are a host of high-end boutiques and interesting shops with all sorts of unique wares too. Shop everything from Brooks Brothers and Gucci in Rainier Square downtown to the unusual Nevertold Casket Company on Capitol Hill, with a wide variety of bizarre items like human skulls, creepy toy monkeys, and caskets. Of course, Pike Place Market is the Emerald City’s most famous place to shop, offering not only what you might expect to find, like fresh produce, flowers and seafood, but rows and rows of vendors selling unique foods, handmade arts and crafts, vintage goods and a host of live entertainment.
One of Chicago’s most famous attractions, Michigan Avenue, AKA “The Magnificent Mile,” stretches from the bridge that spans the Chicago River to its northern point at Oak Street and is considered a true shopping mecca. The 13-block area features nearly 500 stores of all types and sizes, making it nearly impossible for shoppers to leave without a full shopping bag, no matter what their tastes. In addition to well-known retailers, you’ll find a number of quirky independent shops like Seek Vintage with its old-school board games and Logan Hardware -it’s not the place to go for a hammer and nails, but a record store with hundreds of vinyl albums plus a museum of free-to-play vintage arcade games. Be sure to wear your comfortable walking shoes for an entire day or more of shopping, eating, browsing art galleries, visiting world-class museums and more.
Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of the best shopping destinations in the country simply because it’s home to the nation’s biggest shopping mall, the nearly 5 million-square-foot Mall of America. So huge, it could actually fit seven New York Yankee stadiums inside of it. The mall not only hosts over 520 stores, including a four-story Lego store, but it also offers the chance to take a heart-pounding ride on a roller coaster, watch sharks and dine in a rainforest too. But the Mall of America is just the beginning – there are lots of funky neighborhood boutiques and other large malls too. Downtown Minneapolis is home to Macy’s, Nicollet Mall, Saks Off Fifth, Target’s flagship store, Martin Patrick 3, FinnStyle, and dozens of others.
Orlando is best known as the home of Walt Disney World and other theme parks, but it also offers some of the best shopping bargains in the country. Many Europeans fly across the Big Pond just to take advantage of the city’s 500 or so outlet stores featuring brand names at lower prices. One of the best shopping destinations in Florida, the best places for a bargain hunt are the Premium Outlets found on either end of International Drive. A vast shopping paradise of designer factory stores, you’ll find goods at up to 50% off, including major brands like Nike, DKNY, Levis, and Character Warehouse with its cut-price official Disney merchandise. For more upscale goods, head to Winter Park’s high-end boutiques, and for the best variety, the Florida Mall is the largest mall in Central Florida, with more than 250 stores, including Abercrombie, Macy’s, Apple and one of only four M&M’s World stores on the planet.
As they say, everything is bigger in Texas, and shopping is no exception. The largest city in the Lonestar State, and fourth-largest in the U.S., has been called the fashion capital of the South. It’s home to over a dozen distinct shopping areas, with more than 50 shopping centers and over 16,000 retail stores. The 2.4-million-square-foot Galleria is one of the biggest malls in the nation, a shopaholics heaven with nearly 400 stores, including Rodeo Drive favorites like Gucci, Versace and Louis Vuitton. When you’re looking for more unique items, head to resale shops like The Guild Shop with upscale consignment items, the diverse Kuhl-Linscomb, or Retropolis with its 25 vendors offering vintage fashions from the 1950s to the ’80s and beyond.
This famous California city hosts one of the most well-known shopping streets in the country: Rodeo Drive, lined with designer shops like Dior, Burberry and Armani. Even if you can’t afford the high-end array of goods, window shopping can be fun. You’ll find plenty of tourists browsing among the more serious spenders, including celebrities, along the $200 million European cobbled walkway. When you actually want to spend money, head to York Boulevard, one of L.A.’s coolest streets, with locally designed jewelry at Platform, vintage décor at Shopclass, and more. The Grove is another great choice as an open-air mall with over 50 stores, like Abercrombie & Fitch, Anthropologie, Apple and Barney’s New York. Visitors also enjoy the old-fashioned trolley rides, magnificent dancing mountains, celebrity spotting, and, The Original Farmers’ Market next door, offering everything from fresh produce to international culinary delights.
Just as you might suspect, the shopping here is just as over-the-top as the extravagant food buffets. The Forum Shops changed the face of shopping in Las Vegas when it opened back in 1992 at Caesars Palace, creating the first destination mall of its kind. Some visitors call it the highlight of their time in the city, with stores like BVLGARI, Versace, Harry Winston, Louis Vuitton and Valentino all found here. The Venetian boasts the Shops at the Palazzo with stores like Ralph Lauren, Prada and Jimmy Choo, which sits next to the impressive Grand Canal Shops which includes a large Barney’s store. Even if you can’t buy, be sure to stop into the impressive Penske-Wynn Ferrari-Maserati showroom at the Wynn Las Vegas.