The best places to go shopping in New York pretty much suit all tastes and temperaments. Couture designer shops line Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side, while a few blocks south sit stylishly grand luxury department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. Vintage clothing stores and up-and-coming designer boutiques are found along the maze-like streets of both East Village and Greenwich Village. Behind the many cast-iron facades of SoHo are high-fashion outlets, cool décor stores, and independent bookshops.

    While New York streets can get packed and hectic, its extensive range of shopping options more than makes up for the mayhem. Our list below is a comprehensive guide to the city’s best neighbourhoods for shopping, which includes the vast Manhattan and the ever-trendy Brooklyn.  

    Where are the best places to go shopping in New York?


    Upper East Side

    For luxury lovers

    The Upper East Side is well-known for its wealthy residents and upscale high-rises. Following close behind are the strings of designer shops and high-end department stores on the world-famous Madison Avenue. Think Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Co., Prada, Valentino and many more, they have it. Although it may be a shopping spot for those willing to splurge, a wander down Madison Avenue allows for a true New York window shopping experience. 

    With each turn of the season, department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s and Bergdorf Goodman will update their windows with lavish displays – which attract thousands of people each year. A little tip – the further uptown you walk, the pricier the stores.

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    Location: Upper East Side, New York, NY, USA



    For cult brands

    SoHo, abbreviated from South of Houston Street, is an energetic neighbourhood filled with trendy shops and cafes – all worthy of an Instagram post. The area has a decent mixture of all types: fast fashion brands like Zara, art book publishers like Taschen and mainstream finds like Levi’s. It’s a neighbourhood ideal for those who like to explore by foot, and certainly a lot less crowded than Madison Avenue. What stands out the most in SoHo, in terms of shopping, is its cluster of cult brands such as Reformation, Glossier, American Two Shot… just to name a few. Visit these stores to enhance your cool-girl/boy/human status. The hotels located around SoHo are pretty cool too, ranging from cheap to luxury.

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    Location: SoHo, New York, NY, USA

    photo by Prayitno (CC BY 2.0) modified



    For unique boutiques

    Nolita, short for North of Little Italy, is the less-visited counterpart of SoHo. The neighbourhood exudes a charming, trendy atmosphere, which is fairly obvious by the mobs of stylish people who strut about the streets. Composed of narrow streets and carefully curated window displays, Nolita boasts boutiques such as Vince, warm, Babel Fair, Lingo, which all sell curated selections of women’s and menswear. Those are just a handful of the boutiques this area has to offer; if you fancy just wandering around, you’re sure to come across excellent boutiques on your own.

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    Location: Nolita, New York, NY, USA

    photo by Paul Arps (CC BY 2.0) modified


    East Village

    For flashback finds

    East Village may not seem like the first choice for a day of shopping, but if you’re one of those people who finds pleasure in past trends, the shops in this area will delight you. East Village is often noted as one of the few places in Manhattan that still has quirky character; it’s full of strange little nooks where you can escape into different worlds. Transport into retro-world when you visit Cloak & Dagger – a shop offering below $100 pieces reminiscent of Wes Anderson characters. Other charismatic shops include Cobblestones and VideoGamesNewYork – a walk-in-closet-sized shop filled with games from across the years.

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    Location: East Village, New York, NY, USA

    photo by Ian Cochrane (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Canal Street

    For bargain hunters

    Canal Street is a popular place to go for people eyeing a designer-looking bag they can’t afford. The makeshift stalls here sell everything from “designer” handbags and wallets to watches and perfumes. Visiting these stalls is as much an attraction in itself – vendors are eccentric and friendly and you’ll often hear funny conversations between themselves. Whether you believe they’re real or not, it’s a different side of New York to the glossy streets of Upper East Side. Choose a hotel located in Chinatown if you'd like to stay closeby.

    Not all the products here are genuine, but make sure you know the difference between counterfeit and knock-off pieces; counterfeit bags are the same in model, colour and logo whilst the latter are imitations “inspired” by the originals. 

    Location: Canal Street, New York, NY, USA


    photo by Wilson Rivera (CC BY 2.0) modified


    West Village

    For a bit of everything

    West Village, home to the famous Bleecker Street and the historic Greenwich Village, holds a mixture of chic boutiques and well-known brands. Found amongst the meandering streets of this area are popular brands like Diptyque and C.O. Bigelow, to fulfill all your home décor needs. Hidden treasures include Madame Matovu, which can be pretty expensive but when it’s vintage high-end discards – who cares. For trend-setting brands, check out Maison Margiela and Urban Zen (Donna Karan’s new baby circa 2015).

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    Location: West Village, New York, NY, USA

    photo by Monica D. (CC BY 2.0) modified



    For vintage heaven

    Williamsburg, found in the almost-too-cool Brooklyn, is sprawling with amazing vintage and thrift shops. This neighbourhood is well worth trekking over the Brooklyn Bridge – not just for the great shopping but also, for its ever-growing supply of delicious restaurants and cafes, as well as upcoming art galleries. A true mecca for vintage-lovers, you can find two sources of vintage goods: stores and marketplaces. Check out Beacon’s Closet, a staple vintage stores, and the much-loved Artist & Fleas marketplace and Brooklyn Flea Market. You'll find a good variety of hotels dotted around the neighbourhood, perfect for your stay.

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    Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, USA


    Park Slope

    For the “other Fifth Avenue”

    Park Slope is that shy but trendy friend who’s far too modest but has all the coolest and newest clothes. When you think Fifth Avenue, the doors of Tiffany and Co. probably spring to mind, but in Park Slope’s case – Fifth Avenue marks a flurry of independent fashion shops selling one-of-a-kind items. Shopping in this area sees you among vintage troves in the form of brownstone buildings; make sure you snap a picture of this Brooklyn aesthetic. Pay a visit to Bird, another fabulous Beacon’s Closet and Diana Kane.

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    Location: Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY, USA


    photo by Matthew Rutledge (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Sophia Macpherson | Contributing Writer

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