5 Great Places to Shop in New York City
Of all the places in New York City to exercise your credit card, these are some of the best.
Don't miss the Oculus, an architectural wonder that is a gateway to the 365,000-square-foot Westfield World Trade Center.(KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Get your wallet ready because New York City is a shopper's paradise. Whether you're on the hunt for a cool vintage find, a department store bargain or somewhere to window-shop, the city likely has a place that will fit your style and budget like a glove. Flea markets, artisanal shops, boutiques, major retail chains and luxury brands – they're all here. Plus, shopping offers a great way to walk around the city's many vibrant, diverse neighborhoods.
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When visitors think of shopping Fifth Avenue, they tend to picture midtown, between the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center at 51st Street. Along this stretch, you'll find Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Polo Ralph Lauren and Chanel. But there's a lesser-known stretch of Fifth Avenue that also offers great shopping, according to Jennifer Picht, things to do editor at Time Out New York. "Between 14th and 27th Streets, there's a lot of shopping opportunities and great fashion," Picht says. "Fujifilm Wonder Photo Shop, Anthropologie, Zara and trendy stores are there, and they're close to Chelsea Market. Plus you take your photos of New York City and create memory books on the spot."
Also, one block from Fifth Avenue – right off University Place between East 14th and East 17th streets – is the Union Square Greenmarket, where you can sample seasonal local fare. During the holidays, Union Square Park transforms into Union Square Holiday Market, featuring approximately 100 booths selling all kinds of potential souvenirs.
Chinatown's Canal Street is a lively, noisy place with plenty of fascinating sights and smells. It's famous for its Chinese goods, perfumes, jewelry emporiums, knock-off watches and purses, but did you know it's also a great place to find herbs and cosmetics? Makeup addicts might feel like a kid in a candy store at Tony Moly's on Canal Street, a beauty shop selling fruit-shaped lip balms or egg-shaped soaps. For a more traditional souvenir, visit Yunhong Chopsticks Shop on Mott Street, which sells handmade bamboo chopsticks as well as pricier versions made from mahogany and seashell. Another great Chinese shop, and one of the oldest, is Ting's Gift Shop at 18 Doyers St., which sells teas, toys and Chinese lanterns.
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Brick-and-mortar shops are unlikely to bargain, but street vendors might. "Chinatown can be a lot of fun, but I advise guests to visit that neighborhood prepared," says Susanne Carter, head concierge at The Ritz Carlton New York, Central Park. "If you want to explore certain neighborhoods, it's best to dress down. And be ready to bargain, but it's hard to bargain if you're wearing a lot of jewelry or a Chanel dress."
The Westfield World Trade Center on Greenwich Street in the city's Financial District opened its doors August 2016. The new building replaces the mall that was located in the concourse of the original World Trade Center. "Lower Manhattan has gone through so much change," says Chris Heywood, spokesman for NYC & Company, the city's tourism organization. "There are so many beautiful shops and new hotels and new celebrity chefs coming to lower Manhattan, there's new infrastructure. This is the new New York, in the renovated Financial District."
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The staggering 365,000-square-foot Westfield World Trade Center features more than 100 technology, fashion, beauty and lifestyle stores, as well as several dining outlets. High-end retailers include Dior, Montblanc and Stuart Weitzman. Other brands, including local companies, run the gamut from Apple to Dunkin' Donuts to Shake Shack. Shake Shack, a milkshake, burger and hot dog restaurant, is the creation of New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer. You can't miss Oculus, an architectural wonder that is the centerpiece of the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub and a gateway to this retail mecca.
You don't have to weather the elements to enjoy New York City's flea markets. The Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg winter markets are located inside the Skylight One Hanson, a regal facility in the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower. The Winter Market is fantastic for eating, shopping and sightseeing. Between November and March, every weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., approximately 100 vintage and craft vendors sell items in both the main hall and mezzanine levels. Antiques, jewelry, rugs, upcycled furniture, handmade goods and vintage wares abound. You can even sip beer while you browse.
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If shopping local and supporting smaller brands are how you like to contribute to the economy, then Story, located at 10th Avenue and West 19th Street, is worth your time. Shop owner Rachel Shechtman creates a new theme every four to eight weeks, filling her store with merchandise only made by women or locally made goods or items related to social issues. Find everything from cocktail sets to snazzy bow ties to knitted apparel. Concept stores, like this 2,000-square-foot shop, have become extremely popular among locals and may give first-time visitors a glimpse into a side of New York City that their guidebook might have missed.
To experience more of what New York City has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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