By Gina Duncan

New York City is one of the most popular cities to visit. It boasts the most recognisable skylines with towering skyscrapers and impressive museums. First-timers are drawn to the city’s endless energy, must-see landmarks, and electrifying nightlife.

The fashion capital of the world, it is also the best place to shop. Macy’s, and Tiffany’s are city landmarks, but for a first-timer on a shopping spree, navigating the city’s options can feel like a daunting task.

As a native New Yorker who has window shopped at the big department stores, picked up one of a kind items from unique boutiques, bought the latest styles in name brand stores, and bargain hunted at thrift stores and flea markets, let me guide you to the best places to shop in New York City.

Every neighbourhood has its own best shopping streets so let’s get you pointed in the right direction.

Midtown: 

Fifth Avenue

One of the most famous and high-priced shopping streets in the world spans from 42nd to 59th Street at Central Park. Here you can find everything your fashionista heart desires–designer boutiques such as Versace, Chanel, and Dior, and luxurious department stores. 

Landmark stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany and Co., and Saks Fifth Avenue are a must-visit for an authentic New York shopping experience. If you grew up with an American Girl doll, you can’t miss American Girl Place to revisit your childhood or start new memories with your child.

Louis Vuitton, Banana Republic, Prada, Adidas, Apple, and Gucci all have flagship stores on Fifth Avenue. For lower-priced shopping check out Fifth Avenue’s Uniqlo, Victoria’s Secret, Ann Taylor, and H&M. 

Times Square

Include a visit to one of the most famous places in the world, Times Square. There is plenty of shopping to be done in the area too with American classics such as The Gap, Old Navy and The Disney Store all present. Have a sweet tooth? Check out Hershey’s and M&Ms’ stores on the square. Or do you need something more substantial before more shopping? Restaurant Row is nearby on 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues. I suggest you stay until after dark to experience the full effects of the neon signs and glowing billboards.

Herald Square And Garment District 

On 34th Street and Broadway is the world’s most famous department store, Macy’s. Offering top designer clothes, name brands, and housewares, don’t miss special shopper experiences

Also on 34th and Broadway, check out the coolest gift shop in the city, Story, it changes themes monthly. On Seventh Avenue, a block over, you will find the Garment District, Urban Outfitters, and Vans Off the Wall. The garment district is the place in the city to get good deals on fabrics.

Downtown:

Looking for a discount department store, head over to Century 21 across from the World Trade Center Memorial. They receive new inventory daily but go early to avoid the crowds.

SoHo And Nolita

Both SoHo and Nolita are named for their location in the city. SoHo, South of Houston Street, is home to a blend of trendy, high-end designer stores–Prada, Chanel, and Coach, as well as low-end shops–H&M, J. Crew, and internet famous brands–Reformation, and Glossier

Nolita, North of Little Italy–is where to go for boho-hippie boutiques and funky jewellery.

Greenwich Village

Known to New Yorkers as “the Village”, it’s an excellent place for speciality items like books, antiques, and records. It’s also where you shop for unique fashions and vintage clothing that’s fashionable yet affordable. You can find eclectic gift options at Curiosities, Pink Olive, and Village Toto.

Union Square 

Union Square is a mega-shopping area with a Forever 21, DSW, and New York’s best lingerie store, La Petite Coquet. For book lovers, there are two great stores, the Strand, and the chain, Barnes & Noble. This is also where you will find antique stores and Greenmarket–the largest farmer’s market in the city.

Uptown:

Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is home to small neighbourhood shops, edible gourmet markets like Zabar’s, and big-name brands like Williams-Sonoma, Coach, and Tip Top Shoes

Harlem

Harlem is the place in the city for outlet shopping. There is a GAP, Mac Cosmetics, Old Navy, Children’s Place, Marshall’s and H&M. 

Hip hop clothing boutiques and Hue-Man Books, specialising in Harlem based authors, have been a part of the culture of Harlem for decades.

Shop The Flea Markets And Thrift Stores

Head across the Brooklyn Bridge to Williamsburg for the best local flea market in the area Brooklyn Flea. While you’re there check out the many thrift stores in the area. There are more thrift stores located throughout the city, some of the most popular are: Buffalo Exchange in the East Village, the Vintage Twin, Crossroads. The Housing Works chain of thrift stores proceeds goes towards helping people living with and affected by HIV/Aids.

Image courtesy Brooklynflea.com

Visiting New York City is an amazing experience, and if you come to shop, it certainly will not disappoint. Explore some of the city’s best neighbourhoods for shopping and go home with suitcases bursting at the seams