Whether you like to spend your time thrifting or browsing through boutiques and home goods, everyone loves the thrill of a great shopping spree. Whether you save up, max out your credit cards or win the lottery, there are many ways to achieve a satisfying shopping experience.
From Fifth Avenue to Broadway, New York City offers a plethora of stores to satisfy every type of shopper. London also has great options, from elegant department stores to alternative shops and markets.
New York City
New York City is a world-class destination for shopping and sightseeing. Its globally recognizable skyline and 8.4 million residents provide a dynamic backdrop to some of the most iconic shops and neighborhoods in the world. From fashion houses and luxury department stores to small, independent boutiques and unique souvenir shops, NYC has it all.
Fifth Avenue is the city’s most famous shopping area and arguably one of the most well-known in the world. Here, high-end designers compete to create eye-catching window displays that beckon to tourists and locals alike. Celebrity beauty splurges are one of the most interesting tips to know if you are a a fashionista.
If you are looking for something a little more affordable, try heading to Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood or Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights. These two neighborhoods are known for their charming cafes, unfussy restaurants and unique shops that sell everything from vintage clothing to pretty jewelry (check out Catbird). You’ll also find a good selection of clothing brands that you may be familiar with from home such as H&M and Topshop.
The city’s other main shopping district is Herald Square in Manhattan. This sprawling complex is a shopping mecca, complete with the massive Macy’s store and an annual Thanksgiving parade. Macy’s is one of the largest stores in the world and boasts a wide variety of departments including home, shoes and apparel.
For a more intimate shopping experience, head to the historic neighborhood of SoHo. This once industrial area is now lined with cobble stone streets and trendy boutiques that specialize in anything from designer clothes to handmade jewelry. You can also find a wide variety of restaurants and bars here.
Other popular shopping areas in the city include Union Square and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan. The former is known for its upscale department stores like Saks and Bloomingdale’s while the latter offers a more eclectic selection of boutiques that carry everything from high-end designer clothes to unique souvenirs.
If you’re on a budget, don’t be afraid to head to the city’s many flea markets and outdoor marketplaces. You’ll likely find some great deals on souvenirs, and you can even support a worthy cause at the same time by buying from thrift stores like Housing Works. Proceeds from purchases at this chain of thrift stores go towards helping fight AIDS and homelessness in the city.
London is one of the best places to go on a shopping spree, thanks to its dazzling assortment of boutiques, flea markets, and high-end department stores. From a vintage-inspired top from contemporary designer Bimba y Lola to a Scandi-style blouse from Ganni, the city has something for everyone. If you’re ready to splurge, head to London’s ritzy Bond Street and shop for designer staples from the likes of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci. You’ll also find a selection of luxury goods at Harrods, the world-famous department store that even the Royals shop at.
Those on a budget can discover treasures at the renowned Oxford Street, home to flagship locations for top British brands like John Lewis, Debenhams, and Marks and Spencer. Alternatively, peruse the charming Burlington Arcade, a trip back in time that’s over 200 years old. Then, visit the upscale shopping mecca of Knightsbridge to browse the glamorous boutiques and unique labels, as well as the luxury brand shops and high-street staples.
Fashion lovers can take a break from their spree at the infamous Portobello Road market, made famous in 1999’s Notting Hill film. Browse through the stalls and you might spot a preloved Motorcoach handbag or Manolo Blahnik heels. You’ll also find a variety of antiques and collectables, including old maps and postcards, fossils, vintage jewelry, and antique weapons.
A stroll through Chelsea’s King’s Road is a must for fashionistas, with its collection of chic boutiques and unique labels. You’ll also find upscale fashion brands, such as Heal’s, Peter Jones, and Cath Kidston. During your spree, make sure to stop by the picture-pretty cafes and restaurants that line the street.
Other shopper-friendly neighborhoods include Shoreditch, where creative types flock to a bevy of boutiques, vintage shops, and galleries. You’ll also find a variety restaurants in this distinct East London shopping area, which sits upon the sparkling waters of Camden Lock.
Lastly, the London Underground’s Piccadilly Circus is home to a dizzying array of shopping options, from high-end department stores to a plethora of mid-range shops. The massive Westfield London mall is another great option, with a vast selection of high-end brands and affordable retailers.
Dubai, a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates, is famous for luxury shopping and ultramodern architecture. At the center of its skyscraper-filled downtown stands the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. The tower can be admired from all over the city, or at its base where visitors can watch a fountain show with jets and lights choreographed to music. At the Dubai Mall, a Guinness World Record-holder for the largest mall, visitors can shop at more than 1,200 stores and enjoy other attractions, including an aquarium and an Olympic-sized ice rink.
The mall is also the place to shop for all things beauty, with one of the world’s biggest Sephora stores. The store is divided into several sections, offering a wide variety of products for every type of customer. There are also numerous makeup workshops and tutorials. Besides beauty, there is everything from designer boutiques to high end stores, making it the perfect shopping destination for any fashion lover.
Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is another top destination for shoppers. The city’s sprawling markets house a range of items from vintage apparel to electronics bargains. In addition to the markets, Seoul has a number of high-end shops that sell everything from designer clothing to beauty products. The best places to go on a shopping spree in Seoul include Myeong-dong, Gwangjang Market, and Dongdaemun Market.
Hong Kong is another top shopping destination in Asia. In addition to its upscale department stores, the city has an abundance of shopping districts and malls. One of the most popular is Causeway Bay, which offers a variety of high end and mid-range shops. The city is also home to a Sephora that features nearly 13,300 products, so makeup lovers can find what they are looking for here.
While these five cities are some of the best destinations for a shopping spree, there are many others that should be on your list. When planning your next shopping trip, consider taking advantage of global shopping festivals and year-end sales to get the most bang for your buck.
Istanbul sits at the intersection where Europe and Asia meet. As a result, the world’s most populous city has plenty of historic and religious sights to take in. Among them are the mindblowing Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace, but also the Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), the Basilica Cistern and other sections of the old Theodosian walls.
Another popular thing to do in Istanbul is to check out some of the city’s many traditional cafes. These places have a special way of bringing the locals together over coffee, tea or Turkish delight. They’re often found in the most authentic neighbourhoods, such as Karakoy, where the river-side Ortakoy mosque and local market is located. A great choice is Okkali Kahave, where you can sample a wide range of coffee flavours.
Shopping in New York City is almost a prerequisite for any trip to the US, while London, Paris and Milan offer the kind of designer fashion that is the hallmark of these fashionable cities. If high-end luxury isn’t your cup of tea, however, cities like San Francisco and Kuala Lumpur have some excellent vintage shops to visit.
As for Istanbul, a good option is to head down Istiklal Street in the trendy Tneş district. Although it’s a busy and touristy area, this bustling road has a wide variety of stores. In addition to the typical offerings of Gap, Starbucks and Nike, you’ll find plenty of other places selling Turkish delight, figs, pistachios and spices.
It’s also worth checking out the covered Grand Bazaar, which dates back to the 17th century and is one of the city’s oldest marketplaces. This massive market has over 80 individual stores and is a must-visit for those with a love of food. Lastly, if you’re a fan of Orhan Pamuk’s novel The Museum of Innocence, be sure to pay a visit to the real-life version, which is located in the city’s Beyoglu district. The museum is a must-see for anyone interested in Turkey’s recent history. It’s open to the public daily from 10am until 6pm. Admission is free of charge, but you should book in advance to avoid long queues.