From home decor to vintage clothes, Philadelphia’s shopping scene has special finds in just about every neighborhood—as well as one of the nation’s biggest malls in the nearby suburbs. If your wardrobe needs a few additions, don’t be afraid to whip out that plastic: Pennsylvania charges no sales tax on most clothing or shoes (formalwear and swimsuits are exceptions). Below are a few of the best spots for shopping in Philadelphia.
Old City District
Philadelphia’s historic Old City District is a popular shopping spot for art, housewares, and clothing. If you’re in town at the beginning of the month, don’t miss “First Friday,” when local art galleries and shops stay open into the evening.
The funky, alternative spot for shopping in Philadelphia is South Street, where vintage clothing boutiques and used bookstores meet eclectic gift shops and quirky music stores (there are also a few places to pick up more “adult” merchandise). Most of the action occurs between Front and Broad Streets.
Seek out shiny baubles along Jewelers’ Row. Located in the area around Sansom and 7th Streets, it’s the country’s oldest diamond district.
The ritzy area around Rittenhouse Square offers a mix of national chains (Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters) and locally owned boutiques offering clothing, shoes, accessories, and home furnishings. Also in the area are numerous spas and salons, as well as a mall, The Shops at Liberty Place.
Located north of Old City is the up-and-coming Northern Liberties area, where the heart of the action is The Schmidt’s Commons, an open-air plaza surrounded by boutiques, artists’ studios, and places to eat. Don’t miss a stop at Art Star, a popular gallery and boutique selling housewares, jewelry, accessories, and more, all created by national and international artists.
Hipsters should head to Manayunk, a historic district on the Schuylkill River. The renovated buildings on the main drag house a selection of unique boutiques and cutting-edge restaurants. It’s a particularly good spot to pick up one-of-a-kind furniture and home decor.
King of Prussia Mall
When deciding where to shop in Philadelphia, don’t just look within city limits. For serious shoppers, the massive King of Prussia Mall—the largest on the East Coast—is worth the trip out of town. Offerings include department stores such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, as well as multiple food courts and hundreds of smaller boutiques and shops. It’s possible to get here from Philadelphia via public transportation (train and bus), but as it’s out in the suburbs, it’s best reached by car.
Philadelphia Premium Outlets
Another outstanding day trip option for shopping is Philadelphia Premium Outlets, located northwest of the city in Limerick. Here you can snag discounted clothes, shoes, and other items from brands like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Calvin Klein. Though limited bus service from Philadelphia is available, renting a car is your easiest option to get here.
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Carolyn Spencer Brown contributed to this story.
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