Exploring the Big Apple: Where to Shop in New York City
By Abraham Sanieoff
New York City is many things to different people: “The Big Apple,” “Gotham,” “the City that Never Sleeps.” But to retail enthusiasts, it’s only one thing — the hub of shopping districts.
NYC’s retail sector is a booming industry, with over 7,382 chain stores as of 2020. From luxury outlet malls to vintage stores, New York offers something for shoppers of every style and taste. With so many options, there’s just one problem: where to begin?
Editor and lover of life Abraham Sanieoff shares this guide for locals and tourists alike who want to explore NYC’s bustling shopping scene. You might be surprised with what you’d be able to find.
Stretching north from Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village to West 143rd Street in Harlem, Fifth Avenue ranks high among the most expensive shopping streets in the world. Here, you’ll find fashion’s most coveted brands. Think Cartier, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Valentino, Tiffany & Co., and many more! If it’s got bling or if it costs a fortune, you’ll probably find it here. Fifth Avenue is undoubtedly every luxury shopper’s paradise.
For guilt-free shopping (well, almost), head to Greenwich Village. It offers a diverse selection of up-and-coming labels. The historic neighborhood, divided east and west by 5th Avenue, boasts specialty shops, record stores, and quaint bookstores that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else in the city.
During World War II, South of Houston or SoHo was once home to large manufacturers such as textile firms and printing plants. Since then, however, most of the warehouses have been converted into chic loft spaces, high-end boutiques, and trendy restaurants where most of New York’s elite shop and dine. You’ll find luxury shops such as Channel and Bloomingdale’s nestled in between Forever 21, H&M, Hollister, and Zara. While you’re there, don’t forget to grab a bite at one of the district’s many cafes and bars.
Sitting at the nexus of popular shopping districts like the Lower East Side, Noho, and Soho is the quaint and vibrant neighborhood of Nolita (short for “North of Little Italy”). The area is brimming with stylish boutiques, cozy coffee shops, and unassuming restaurants.
Here, you’ll find many brands that will make your shopper’s heart happy. We’re talking about Odin and Gant, White Chalk, Calypso, Vince, Poppy, Lord Willy’s, and many others. For chic home decor, be sure to stop by Canvas and De Vera. Bookworms will also have a thrilling time browsing the shelves at the McNally Jackson bookstore.
Located at the intersection of Broadway and Fourth Avenue, Union Avenue has a little bit of everything. Shops like Nordstrom Rack and Whole Foods are often seen packed with people year-round. During the holidays, the district is dotted with makeshift stalls featuring all sorts of trinkets, baked goods, craft items, knitted scarves, and more.
On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, local farmers showcase their organic fresh produce at the Greenmarket.
Madison Avenue from 59th Street to the ’90s is lined with high-fashion stores like Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford, Carolina Herrera, and Hermès, designer shoemakers like Jimmy Choo and Roger Vivier, and fine jewelry brands such as Cartier. Be sure to get your credit card ready if you do drop by. And even if you don’t end up buying, just peering into the window displays of Hermès, Graff, and Fred Leighton is already an experience in itself.
Explore New York’s Finest Shopping Spots
When you visit New York, you surely won’t leave empty-handed. Stores across the five boroughs carry the latest apparel, vintage finds, tech gear, household essentials, gourmet goods, and more. If you’re looking for retail therapy, then this is the place to be. Be sure to mark your calendars for huge seasonal sales, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Abraham Sanieoff is a writer, traveler, editor, and devoted father who enjoys life, one destination at a time. If you’re looking for exciting activities to do during your next New York getaway, be sure to check out his recommendations here