New York City

The Big Apple is one of the best shopping destinations in the world, rivaled perhaps only by London, Paris, and Tokyo. Its compact size, convenient subway system, and plentiful cabs (or Uber or Lyft rides) make it easy to navigate with plenty of bags in tow. But what it really comes down to is the staggering number and variety of stores. If you can't find it in New York, it probably doesn't exist.

If you like elegant flagships and money is no object, head to Midtown, where you'll find international megabrands like Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, and Gucci, as well as famed department stores Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys. Nearby Madison Avenue has couture from Carolina Herrera and Vera Wang, and 5th Avenue is lined with famous jewelry stores such as Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston. This is also the neighborhood to indulge in bespoke goods, such as handmade shoes from John Lobb. If you like designer pieces but can't afford them, don't despair—there are plenty of upscale consignment shops around the city where you can find last season's Chanel suit or a vintage YSL jacket.

The small, independent shops that once lined SoHo have largely been displaced by the likes of J.Crew and UNIQLO, but if you want to hit the chains, this is a great place to do it, because the neighborhood also provides high-quality people-watching and superb lunches. Poke around on the side streets and in nearby NoLIta for outposts of smaller local and foreign designers and, if you're craving some of old SoHo's artistic spirit, don't discount the street vendors' stalls, which sell handmade jewelry and simple cotton dresses.

The East Village and Lower East Side are hotbeds of creativity and quirky coolness, with little boutiques selling everything from retro furniture to industrial-inspired jewelry. They're tucked among bars and old tenement buildings. The Meatpacking District is another great shopping destination to find chic designer stores like Diane von Furstenberg and rag & bone along with independently owned boutiques. And if you jaunt over to Brooklyn, you'll discover that some of the city's hippest designers are hanging out at boutiques just across the East River.

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  • 1. Beacon's Closet, Park Slope

    Park Slope | Clothing

    Of the four secondhand clothing shops in a two-block stretch, this one's the best. The well-organized local chain carries vintage and modern...Read More

  • 2. V Curated

    Park Slope | Clothing

    Designer Vanessa Vallarino's motto for her cooperative of 38 emerging designers is one-of-a-kind, and handmade in the United States. Aesthetics...Read More

  • 3. A. Cheng

    Park Slope | Clothing

    Owner Alice Cheng curates a lovely selection of elegant women's clothing. Choose from her own A. Cheng line, Sessùn from France, or Local from...Read More

  • 4. Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store

    Park Slope | Gifts/Souvenirs

    The perfectly giftable, Brooklyn-made products at this variety store include Apotheke candles and diffusers, Bellocq teas, Claudia Pearson’s...Read More

  • 5. Barnes & Noble

    Park Slope | Books/Stationery

    Two floors of books, a vast and varied selection of magazines, and an extensive collection of travel information for New York City and beyond...Read More

  • 6. Bhoomki

    Park Slope | Clothing

    At designer Swati Argade’s women’s boutique, every handmade piece of jewelry or pair of shoes, hand-blocked silk shirt or woven scarf has a...Read More

  • 7. Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

    Park Slope | Toys

    If you can't crack a smile in this store—where all proceeds from superhero costumes, gear, and secret identity kits benefit 826NYC's writing...Read More

  • 8. Community Bookstore

    Park Slope | Books/Stationery

    In a neighborhood known for its large population of authors, editors, and bloggers, it’s fitting to have a bookstore where pride of place goes...Read More

  • 9. Norman and Jules

    Park Slope | Toys

    Unique toys and dolls from around the world score points with children and their parents at this high-end toy shop. It stocks an excellent selection...Read More

  • 10. Otto

    Park Slope | Clothing

    Splurge on Anni Kuan's New York–made designs, Catherine André's limited-edition knits, and clothing by other European designers like Anne Willi...Read More

  • 11. The Clay Pot

    Park Slope | Ceramics/Glassware

    Family-owned since 1969, this Park Slope stalwart carries glassware, ceramics, jewelry, and wedding rings, nearly all made in the United States...Read More

  • 12. Flirt

    Park Slope | Clothing

    A free-spirited sensibility imbues this clever women’s clothing shop where a whimsical wildlife print might adorn a mug, a purse, or the hip...Read More

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