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. Aedes Perfumery

    Lower East Side | Perfume/Cosmetics

    Arguably the best place to buy fragrance in Manhattan, this boutique's super-knowledgeable staff help shoppers find the perfect scent. High...Read More

  • 2. Bond No. 9

    East Village | Perfume/Cosmetics

    Created by the same fragrance team as Creed, this line of scents is intended to evoke the New York City experience, with a scent for every...Read More

  • 3. C. O. Bigelow

    Greenwich Village | Perfume/Cosmetics

    Founded in 1838, this is the oldest apothecary-pharmacy in the United States; Mark Twain used to fill prescriptions here. They still fill...Read More

  • 4. Fresh

    Union Square | Perfume/Cosmetics

    Long a beauty favorite, with ingredients that are good enough to eat (think brown sugar, soy, and black tea), this Fresh location has an apothecary...Read More

  • 5. Jo Malone

    West Village | Perfume/Cosmetics

    Crisp black-and-white decor sets a serene backdrop for sampling tangy scents like lime blossom and mandarin, or Earl Grey and cucumber. Fragrances...Read More

  • 6. Kiehl's Since 1851

    East Village | Perfume/Cosmetics

    At this favored haunt of top models and stylists (and the brand's flagship), white-smocked assistants help you choose between the lotions and...Read More

  • 7. Le Labo

    NoLIta | Perfume/Cosmetics

    If you're bored with the perfume stock at department stores, visit this tiny boutique with a rustic, industrial vibe and resident mixologist...Read More

  • 8. NARS

    Upper East Side | Perfume/Cosmetics

    Women adore NARS for its iconic products such as Jungle Red lipstick and multiuse makeup sticks. The NARS flagship has glossy white walls and...Read More

  • 9. The Modern Chemist


    International beauty products from Asia, Scandinavia, and beyond (Korean face masks, SachaJuan hair care, Turkish perfumes) as well as hip little...Read More

  • 10. Twisted Lily

    Boerum Hill | Perfume/Cosmetics

    All-natural scents from around the world are this fragrance boutique's specialty. This is a good place to check out the latest offerings from...Read More

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