The best shopping cities have a wide selection, a broad range of prices, and a great atmosphere. If you haven’t shopped in any of these destinations, they’re worth your consideration. At a bare minimum, we can dream.
Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, treats shopping with the respect it deserves. They’ve created the world’s first literal “shopping resort” just for all of us die-hard shoppers.
The Dubai Mall is the biggest in the world, and it has waterfalls, an underwater zoo, an ice rink that would satisfy Olympians, a virtual reality park, and an indoor ski slope. You might be wondering, “What about the stores?!” Don’t worry; the mall has an area called Fashion Avenue that has every top designer boutique you could imagine from, Valentino to Luis Vuitton, Oscar de la Renta to Chanel. There are premium jewelry stores and, in another worldwide first, the first Bloomingdale’s outside of the US.
The best, albeit busiest, time to shop the Dubai Mall might be the Dubai Shopping Festival that happens in the first month or two of every year. The mall becomes even more lavish and unforgettable — with a full-fledged fireworks show on top of everything else. But they also drop prices on many stores in the range of 50-70%. If you want to shop one of the most high-end malls in the world, this is probably the best time to do it without going broke!
If you long to stay in the lap of luxury and get yourself a brand new wardrobe, stay at the on-site Armani hotel. Again, be prepared to see your credit card statement skyrocket. But hey: you’ve earned it, right?
2. New York
There’s no way to talk about shopping and not mention New York. Something about New York screams style and sophistication, making it perfect for a shopping spree.
There are, of course, the high-end boutique stores with names like Dior or Givenchy, but there are also lesser-known gems such as the Rare Vintage showroom.
You’ll have to walk along the famed 5th Avenue, but if you find that prices are too high for your tastes, search for shops more off the beaten path in places like Chelsea or Brooklyn. There are some stores that escape the public eye but offer premium items for a steal of a price. There are also some flea markets like the Brooklyn Flea that have vintage items you won’t find at a big chain store. There’s no better feeling than walking away with something unique.
Paris is the definition of romance, and what could be more romantic than shopping? Trendy neighborhoods like Canal Saint-Martin are stylish and full of great little establishments, while other streets like Saint-Germain-des-Pres provide the best atmosphere for shopping with cobblestone streets and charming little cafes.
Merci is a favorite local retailer and an excellent option whatever you’re looking for. They specialize in clothing, jewelry, shoes, and everything is uniquely high-fashion. They also have an in-house cafe, bookshop, and florist so you can take a little break from shopping.
Some other shops to check out include Galaries Lafayette for lingerie needs, Colette for high-end designer items, and Printemps for cosmetics. There are so many quaint little boutiques that you might not end up making it everywhere on your list, but you’ll leave with some souvenirs you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.
If you didn’t know it already, Tokyo has some weird stuff (like vending machines that sell women’s used underwear). But the quirkiness of their stores means that you’ll also find some things that you literally can’t get anywhere else.
One of the most famous areas for shopping is Harajuku which has stores like Comme des Garcons and Visvim, but if you want a luxurious shopping experience, you can also visit just about any department store. They provide interpretation services and staff that speak multiple languages. You’ll even get your own personal consultant to help you find the right items for you.
If you’re nostalgic for North America, check out Daikanyama, a Brooklyn-esque neighborhood that has vintage record stores, baking studios, and of course, clothing boutiques.
While you might think Tokyo prices would be ridiculously expensive, it’s one of the cheaper cities for shopping in Asia, coming in fourth overall. Not that you needed another reason to go pull out your plastic and go crazy!
The name of the shopping game in London is the market. Yes, they have the ultra-luxurious West End with all the Instagram-worthy designer boutiques, but markets like Dover Street and Old Spitalfields offer a mix of handmade artisanal goods along with high-end brand name goods.
London is an expensive place to fly to, stay, and to get around in, but it’s one of the top cities in Europe to shop. So we take the good with the bad.
If you’re looking for your shopping nirvana, start with these cities, and you’re sure to be satisfied. Not only will you find everything you could imagine, but you’ll also be in some of the greatest cities in the world where you’ll get to explore distinct cultures while looking fantastic.