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The Ultimate New York Shopping Guide

SmarterTravel

When it comes to New York shopping, there’s almost nothing the city doesn’t offer. From world-renowned department stores like Macy’s (34th Street and Seventh Avenue), Bloomingdale’s (59th and Lexington), Saks Fifth Avenue (50th Street and Fifth), and Henri Bendel (56th and Fifth) to specialty shops, charming boutiques, and bargain basements, Manhattan is truly a shopper’s heaven.

New York Shopping Guide

Looking for souvenirs? Take home a Yankees cap or anything that looks like the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building. Read on to learn about the best shopping in New York.

Shop Gotham Tour

Get an overview of the New York shopping scene with a Shop Gotham tour. These three-hour group and private excursions focus on stores that are exclusive to New York City and include information about not only shopping but also the history and culture of local neighborhoods. The company’s primary group tour focuses on the Garment District.

Madison Avenue

If you’re a big spender—or you just want to see how the 1 percent lives—take a stroll down Madison Avenue, where you can duck in and out of stores such as Barneys, Armani, and La Perla. It’s some of the richest shopping in Manhattan.

Specialty Districts

The city offers districts of stores devoted to particular items, such as furs off of Seventh Avenue in the West 30s, diamonds on West 47th Street, and wedding gowns in the West 30s between Sixth and Ninth Avenues.

Nolita

I love Nolita (which stands for North of Little Italy) for its many cute boutiques from up-and-coming designers. It’s a great spot to pick up clothes, accessories, and jewelry.

Century 21

On Cortlandt Street in Manhattan’s Financial District, Century 21 was once appropriately nicknamed “New York’s best-kept secret.” No longer is that the case for this New York store. It’s doubtful you’ll leave empty-handed, considering this is the bargain hunter’s mecca for deeply discounted designer merchandise. Be prepared to elbow your way through weekend crowds of savvy New Yorkers and international tourists to find your size. But who cares? It’s worth it.

Chinatown

For an eclectic shopping experience, check out Chinatown. It’s more Shanghai bazaar than city streetscape along Pell and Mott Streets, where funky herbal medicine shops and kitschy novelty stores sell everything from silk pajamas to Chinese board games and embroidered slippers. Come weekends, it’s hard to break through the five-deep mob checking out the hard-to-tell-from-the-real-thing Gucci and Prada along Canal Street’s stalls.

Flea Markets

If you’re dying to shop but not eager to break the bank, check out one of the city’s many flea markets. One of Manhattan’s oldest and best is GreenFlea, offering antiques, collectibles, jewelry, and handicrafts on the Upper West Side every Sunday. If you’re in Brooklyn, don’t miss Brooklyn Flea, a massive market that runs in Industry City and DUMBO. LIC Flea & Food is a similar offering in Long Island City that operates on weekends throughout the warmer months.

Bookstores

Bibliophiles should look beyond the usual Barnes & Noble outposts—New York is home to a number of great independent bookstores. Rizzoli recently moved to a new location near Madison Square and is great fun to browse. Bluestockings is the spot for lefty types with its wide selection of titles on feminism, queer studies, capitalism, and liberation. The Strand dates back to 1927 and claims to offer 18 miles of books at the corner of 12th Street and Broadway.

Bloomingdale’s

A Big Apple icon, Bloomingdale’s is the first stop many tourists make on their New York shopping excursion. The wide variety of merchandise available at this upscale department store attracts shoppers from all over the world. Tourists can have purchases delivered to the hotel they’re staying in ($250 minimum purchase)—or take pride in walking out with one or more of the store’s famous “brown bags.”

Apple Store

Anyone who can’t get enough of technology often finds themselves at the city’s Apple Store when in town for a visit. Its location across from Central Park makes it a hot spot for tourists. Any Apple product can be purchased at this store.

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—Original reporting by Theodore W. Scull, with contributions from real traveler reviews about New York shopping

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