If you’re visiting the Big Apple with the intention of doing some serious shopping in New York City, have I got the guide for you!
As a New Yorker that loves a good shopping spree, I can assure you that the shopping areas in NYC are endless. You can easily spend your entire vacation popping from one trendy store to the next (while stopping for food in-between stores, of course)!
But not all of New York City’s best shopping areas are created equal! That’s where I come in, I’ve spend the better part of my last six years in NYC learning about the best areas for shopping in New York City. I don’t want this expertise to go to waste, so allow me to share my personal list of the best shopping in NYC!
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
The sales tax for shopping in NYC
Before we start, it’s prudent to go over the tax situation so that you’re not caught by surprise while shopping in New York.
New York City shoppers are subject to three taxes: the city’s sales tax of 4.5%, the state sales tax of 4% and a commuter sales tax of 0.375%. All told, the total sales tax for shopping in New York City clocks in at 8.875%.
However, clothing and footwear under $110 are exempt from NYC and NY state sales tax and will therefore not be taxed. This may sound confusing but here’s how it works: If you buy a shirt for $80 and a purse for $200, you will not be charged tax for the shirt (because it’s less than $110) but will be charged a sales tax of 8.875% for the purse.
Shopping in New York City
More than anything else New York is a city of superlatives, a place where the best, the brightest, the biggest is the norm.– Marilyn J. Appleberg
Best Shopping in Manhattan
SoHo (South of Houston Street)
Today the cobble stone streets of SoHo are home to some of the best shopping in New York City, but that wasn’t always the case. Back in the day this area was covered by factories and warehouses, which have since been converted into expensive condos equipped with storefronts at the ground level.
You’ll find quite the mishmash of high-end luxury designers, big department stores and unique boutiques crammed together from one block to the next.
The entire shopping area spans 25 blocks, and if size alone is any indication, you can bet you’ll find whatever you’re looking for here. As such, the area is typically crowded with eager shoppers, so you’ll want to avoid visiting during the weekends, if possible.
The best NYC shopping is done by getting lost, so allow yourself to roam from one block to the next aimlessly, just make sure you start with the most impressive shopping street in NYC first, Broadway.
My favorite thing about shopping in SoHo is that there’s never a shortage of great cafes and restaurants to pop into if you need to decompress. I especially enjoy popping into Balthazar Bakery, one of the best bakeries in New York City.
Notable New York City stores in SoHo
The MoMa Design Store
Whenever I’m shopping in NYC for unique souvenir ideas, I head straight to the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) Design Store in SoHo. Offering a great selection of fascinating items ranging from small trinkets to full scale furniture, there’s always something interesting to discover. Indeed, the Moma Design Store is one of my favorite stores in New York City and I’ve lived here quite a while.
Address: 81 Spring St A, New York, NY 10012, United States
Bloomingdales is a large department store with several locations in NYC. The store is famous and beloved by locals. Heck, even Rachel Green from the popular Friends show held a job here! The Bloomingdales located in SoHo is full of great finds, but the real gem is the fact that they have a public restroom while shopping in NYC (which is almost unheard of, so take advantage).
Address: 504 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, United States
Uniqlo hails from Japan and is the 4th largest retailer in the world. When the store sought to branch into the US market it had to choose a flagship location. New York City was a no-brainer, but where exactly? Well, they landed on SoHo, home to the best shopping in New York City. Since then, the store has amassed an enthusiastic fan base in NYC and many locals stock up on high quality basics here.
Address: 546 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, United States
Fifth Avenue (For Unforgettable Shopping in NYC)
If budget isn’t a concern (way to go, you!) look no further than Fifth Avenue — a legendary area to go shopping in New York City. In fact, this is not only the most popular shopping area in New York City, but it’s also one of the most popular shopping areas in the world.
This massive shopping district in New York City is marked by luxury brands competing for attention by way of stunning window displays. I do not use the term luxury lightly — indeed, Fifth Avenue is often referred to as one of the most expensive shopping districts in the world.
It is often said that New York is not for the timid. No, this is a place for the loudest, riskiest and boldest among us and nowhere is that more evident than the plethora of massive stores on Fifth Avenue. This is where you’ll find the cream of the crop, the flagships of many household names.
Notable New York City stores on Fifth Avenue
Uniqlo hails from Japan and is the 4th largest retailer in the world. This beloved clothing store has amassed an enthusiastic fan base in NYC and many locals stock up on high quality basics here. Spanning 89,000 miles, the Uniqlo store on Fifth Avenue is the largest store in the world. If you’re shopping in New York City on a budget, this is a great place to visit.
Address: 666 5th Ave, New York, NY 10103, United States
An iconic NYC shopping experience since 1901, Bergdorf Goodman is a luxury department store known for high end designer clothing and shoes and personalized styling services. This is the place to go if you’re coming to New York City for shopping with the hope of scoring timeless investment pieces.
Address: 754 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019, United States
Tiffany & Co.
If you love the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s then you will want to make a beeline towards Tiffany & Co store on Fifth Avenue. The store was featured in the film, but has been high regarded as a top notch jewelry store in New York City since opening in 1940.
Address: 727 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, New York City
Saks Fifth Avenue (flagship store)
Saks Fifth Avenue is a luxury department store that neighbors the breathtaking St. Patrick’s Cathedral (one of the most beautiful churches in NYC). The store has been meeting the needs of shopping New Yorkers since 1924 and doesn’t show signs of slowing anytime soon. The Fifth Avenue flagship store spans ten floors and offers luxury goods from a plethora of well-known designers.
Address: 611 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022, United States
The Apple Store
The Apple Store located at Fifth Avenue is one of the most iconic stores in New York City, largely thanks to an intriguing glass cube that serves as an invitation to head below ground and see what the store has “in store” for you.
As strange as it sounds to say, the store is downright beautiful!Covering 77,000 impressive square feet, this Apple Store employs 300 people and has the largest staff of any Apple Store. What’s more, it’s open 24 hours a day — so if you’re trying to figure out where to shop in New York City into the wee hours of the morning, this should fit the bill.
Even though there’s several Apple Stores sprinkled throughout NYC, I always make an effort to visit this one because it’s such a unique NYC shopping experience, even if it’s out of the way.
Address: 767 5th Ave, New York, NY 10153, United States
The Lego Store
The first time I stepped foot into the Lego Store on Fifth Avenue I was taken aback by the creativity and delightful store — no wonder this is one of the best stores in NYC for kids! The store covers two floors and has various fascinating NYC-themed Lego constructions.
Not only can you stock up on some impressive Lego sets, but you can also make your own personalized Lego figure while you’re visiting this exciting NYC store. Come early because this place gets busy fast.
Address: 636 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10020
Adidas Flagship Store
The Adidas flagship store in Manhattan is the largest Adidas store in the world and visiting the shop feels like an experience. The store was inspired by high school sports stadiums and admittedly exudes nostalgia. Stocked to the brim with the latest and greatest clothing and shoes, this is one of the best stores in NYC for sports apparel.
Address: 565 5th Ave, New York, NY 10017, United States
Nike Store — House of Innovation 000
With a name like House of Innovation 000, you better believe the Nike Store on Fifth Avenue is something special. Opened in 2018, the Nike flagship store spans 68,000 feet and covers six stories. If you’re looking for unique shopping in New York City, this immersive store is worth a visit.
You’ll be able to find exclusive styles of clothes and shoes, in fact, this NYC store has the largest in-store selection of Nike footwear, accessories and apparel.
Address: 650 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019, United States
Let’s talk about another gem of a shopping area in New York City, located just a block from Fifth Avenue — Madison Avenue.
Peppered with luxury brands in the posh Upper East Side neighborhood, this popular NYC shopping street swells with tourists and locals alike every day of the week. Much like Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the world. I mean, I can barely afford to window shop here, but when I do, I always find myself inspired (I mean, someone can afford to shop here, right?).
Even if you don’t plan to purchase anything, I highly recommend strolling down Madison Avenue if you’re looking for the best shopping in NYC because this is an experience in and of itself.
There’s plenty of high end stores you’re bound to recognize, but if you’re looking for affordable shopping in New York City, you will need to look elsewhere. However, I do suggest swinging by Ladurée for a sweet treat while you’re in the area.
Also, don’t miss an opportunity to pop into the stunning Ralph Lauren store while you’re in the neighborhood. Located in a renovated mansion, the store is a sight for sore eyes. Plop over to the equally charming Ralph Lauren Cafe for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Bonus: Swing by the Bloomingdales Flagship Store on Lexington Ave
Pop over two blocks east and visit the original Bloomingdales store while you’re on the Upper East Side. Pick up an item and proudly walk around with the most iconic shopping bag in NYC: the little brown bag!
Riding the coat tails of SoHo, Nolita (North of Little Italy) offers some of the trendiest shopping in Manhattan. The colorful streets of this charming neighborhood are peppered with unique stores and great boutiques. It’s easy to mix this region with Soho since the two neighborhoods blend flawlessly, but rest assured – they are both great shopping districts respectively.
Much like SoHo, there’s too many great small stores to list, but if you’d like some direction, I suggest:
L’Appartement Sézane: Sézane is a French brand that needs no introduction. It has amassed a cult-like following with its chic seasonal clothing line and decided to launch a brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan. Lucky for us! The store feels like stepping foot into a Parisian apartment, which only adds to this unique shopping experience in NYC.
John Fluevog: John Fluevog is a Canadian shoe brand best known for creating some of the most unique shoes you will ever see in your life. The designs are colorful and loud and the quality is hard to beat, pop in to see these interesting designs for yourself.
Love, Adorned: If you’re shopping in New York City for jewelry, swing by Love, Adorned, a charming boutique selling vintage and designer jewelry in a perfectly-curated light-soaked shop.
Everlane: The Everlane brand has grown like wildfire and their store in Manhattan is one of the first brick-and-mortar locations, worth a visit alone. You can stock up on quality basic pieces without breaking the bank.
The West Village
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the West Village is the most charming neighborhood in New York City. So it’s only fitting that one of the liveliest streets in the area, Bleeker Street, would offer some of the best shopping in Manhattan.
Bleeker Street is home to some of the most interesting boutique stores in New York City, not to mention the great food options in the area. You’ll find vintage stores, bookshops, cafes, pop up stores and a few big names. Make sure to visit the flagship Magnolia Bakery while you’re touring this popular shopping street in NYC.
Stores to check out on Bleeker Street:
Annie Bing: This brand is created by a Danish model who caught the world by storm when she opened her store in Manhattan in 2015. The store sells casual pieces that exude a relaxed vibe with prices on the higher side. But listen, with so many celebrities wearing these items, the quality speaks for itself.
Love Shack Fancy: If you love beautiful vintage-inspired clothing, you need to visit the Love Shack Fancy store on Bleeker Street. There’s so many playful patterns and pieces in this store you can easily spend an hour exploring!
Il Bisonte: Founded in 1970 in Tuscany, Il Bisonte creates timeless high-quality leather goods for everyday use using sustainable methods. You’ll find everything from beautiful bags to furniture. All items are handcrafted and made in Italy, and the prices are reasonable for the unmatched quality. Il Bisonte is one of my favorite stores in New York City.
Bookmarc: Bookmarc is a small bookstore opened by Marc Jacobs. Worried about the dissappearing independent bookstores, Jacobs decided to add his touch. The bookstore has interesting books on fashion, photography and art. You can also find little Marc Jacobs accessories peppered throughout the store.
Further Reading: 17+ Exciting Things to Do in the Charming West Village
The Flatiron District & Union Square
Union Square is a popular area for shopping in New York City. There’s so many great big-name stores in the area. The south end of the park is home to Nordstrom Rack (the first one in NYC), Burlington and DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse). There’s also a Whole Foods in the area, it’s a great place to swing by for a quick bite between shops.
At the north end of the park you’ll find a beautiful cast-iron Barnes & Noble store, but if you’d prefer to support a local NYC bookstore, head a few blocks over to Strand.
But the star of the show is the Greenmarket that takes place within park. You’re bound to find some unique vintage clothes or interesting souvenirs to bring home. If you’d like to stock up on farm fresh fruits and vegtables, this is the best place to do so! Make an effort to visit Union Square in the winter to experience one of the best Christmas markets in NYC.
Head a few blocks north of Union Square and you’ll find yourself exposed to a plethora of some of the best stores in New York City.
Fishs Eddy: The quirkiest store in New York City! This place is full of fascinating dishware, from vintage hotel plates to glasses donning the faces of famous politicians.
Strand Bookstore: Founded in 1927, the Strand is the only remaining bookstore from “Book Row” which was a coalition of 48 bookstores that lined Fourth Avenue. Every single bookstore, with the exception of the Strand, closed during the Great Depression. Today this large NYC bookstore is home to 2.5 million books and serves as a safe-haven for insatiable bookworms far and wide.
ABC Carpet & Home: I call this store the Anthropologie of home goods. It’s full of interesting and unique home decor items that spam the gamut. You’ll find everything from furniture to candle holders, the only thing this store can’t gaurantee is self control.
If you’re shopping in New York City with your sights set on high-end designer cloths, head straight over to the trendy Meatpacking District.
The Meatpacking District has a great vibe. The area used to be chock-full of industrial warehouses that have since been converted as new life was breathed into the neighborhood. You’ll find some of the most expensive stores in New York City in this shopping area.
From Hermes, Restoration Hardware and Christian Louboutin to more affordable stores like LuluLemon and Madewell. What’s more, the Chelsea Market is a true delight. Head inside for a bite and, if you still have energy, check out some of the great stores inside the market. I always hop into Anthropologie before heading to the smaller local boutiques.
East Village (great vintage shopping in NYC)
The East Village has developed a reputation as a bohemian safe haven. Nowhere is this more evident than in the disproportionate amount of great vintage stores in the neighborhood. Clear standouts are, Cloak & Dagger, L Train Vintage, East Village Vintage Collective and Cobblestones.
Herald Square is a popular area to go shopping in New York City and the crowds prove it. Home to some of the largest stores in the world, this area feels touristy but there’s no denying it’s a great place for affordable stores in Manhattan.
Brace yourself for crowds, loud street noises and a frantic pace, all in the name of shopping, no? Here’s the stores you should make an effort to see:
The Largest Macy’s in the world
This is the ending point of the beloved Macy’s Day Parade that takes place every Thanksgiving. Covering an entire city block and spanning 1.1 million square feet, as the largest Macy’s in the world, they don’t do anything halfway. Their Christmas window displays are legendary and the Santaland event is what dreams are made of. This is one of the most iconic stores in Manhattan, visiting is a must!
The largest H&M store in the world
New Yorkers love shopping at affordable stores in NYC and H&M is the perfect testament to this fact. H&M opened it’s largest store in the world in Herald Square, spanning 63,000 square feet, I was half-expecting to get a map upon entering. The irony is that there’s two other massive H&M locations just steps away.
If you love makeup, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to visit one of the largest Sephora stores in the world. The massive store spans 11,300 square feet and offers anything a beauty guru could want, not to mention the brand new Beauty TIP Workshop. There’s more than 13,300 products stocked on the shelves and ample samples to play around with, reason alone to visit!
Address: 112 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001
Bonus: The Largest Levi’s Store in the world
Who among us doesn’t own at least one pair of Levi’s? If you’re an avid fan, head to the Levi’s Store in Times Square (a few block north of Herald Square) to pick up a new pair! At 16,900 square feet, this is the largest Levi’s store in the world. It spans two floors and has a great assortment of classics and new styles.
Address: 1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, United States
The Shops at Hudson Yards is an impressive mall that spans 720,000 square feet. Covering four floors, this mall houses some of the biggest name stores in New York City. There’s more than 100 stores in this shopping mall and you can find everything from luxury brands like Cartier to more affordable stores like Uniqlo.
When you’re done shopping around head to the basement level to check out the Spanish food hall called Little Spain. The sangria is worth writing home about!
Also, if you’re visiting NYC at Christmas time, make sure to swing by Hudson Yards to experience the breathtaking display of lights, it’s a sight to behold!
Address: 20 Hudson Yards, New York City
Battery Park City
Battery Park City is home to two impressive shopping malls, The Oculus and Brookfield Place. Inside these two malls you will find some of the best shopping in New York City. Whether you’re looking for athletic apparel at Lululemon or new shoes from Gucci, you are sure to find them here.
The two malls are located a few blocks apart and offer different shopping experiences in New York City. Brookfield Place will make you feel like a million bucks, thanks to the luxury designers crammed into one spot. Oculus has more affordable brands. Swing by both to see which you prefer!
If you haven’t had your fill of shops, head to South Street Seaport to experience one of the most charming areas for shopping in NYC. I’m partial to McNally Jackson Books (which has a great in-house cafe and wine bar).
Best Shopping in Manhattan’s UWS:
I currently live on the Upper West Side and while I find all of my shopping needs met in the neighborhood, I wouldn’t consider the UWS one of the best areas for shopping in New York City. However, we’re all about educating here at New York Simply and we want to give you all the information you need.
The best shopping street in the Upper West Side is Columbus Avenue. Small shops pepper the storefronts from 66th Street to 86th Street. You’ll find everything from Madewell to an outpost of the famous Strand bookstore. In addition to the clothing stores, you’ll also find a lot of great grocery stores in the area– like Zabar’s, Trader Joe’s and Fairway Market. Also, if you’re in need of new walking shoes, the kind service at Tip Top shoes cannot be beat!
Another great shopping area in the Upper West Side is the mall at Columbus Circle. The mall spans four floors and is home to both luxury brands and more affordable shops, like the Amazon bookstore, this is a great place to check out for the views of NYC alone.
Also worth mention, Columbus Circle has a Whole Foods underground that spans 59,000 square feet. This is a great spot to get a midday snack if you’re in the area.
Best Shopping in Brooklyn
Williamsburg is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in New York City. Known for easy-going locals and epic flea markets, this is one of the best places for affordable shopping in New York City. Swing by Smorgasburg if you’re visiting on a Saturday during the summer for a foodie experience you won’t soon forget!
Brooklyn Flea Market
The Brooklyn Flee Market is the creme de la creme of flea markets, and the notorious crowds prove it. Founded in 2008, the market has amassed an enthusiastic fan base that swells the market every weekend of the year. Vendors span the gamut, from vintage clothing to antiques, jewelry, art and furniture. Indeed, the Brooklyn Flea Market was named one of the best markets in America and the world by multiple reputable publications (Travel + Leisure, Country Living, Budget Travel, and Fodor’s).
There’s two locations to choose from: the outdoor market held at Lafayette Avenue on Saturdays and the year-round indoor market hosted at Skylight One Hanson every Sunday (rain or shine).
Another great shopping street in New York City is Bedford Avenue. You’ll find a plethora of charming cafes, unfussy restaurants and unique boutiques mingled together. The small local shops sell everything from vintage clothing to beautiful art and pretty jewelry (Catbird is a great shop to peruse if you’re in the market for jewelry).
You can’t talk about the best shopping in Brooklyn without mentioning Greenpoint, one of the best shopping areas in NYC for vintage finds. The most notable vintage store, by a mile, is Beacon’s Closet where you can find steep discounts on high-end luxury brands.
Best Outlet Shopping in New York City: Staten Island
Ready for a surprising fact? There’s technically only one outlet mall in New York City. Located on Staten Island, Empire Outlets just opened to the public in 2019. You’ll find affordable brands like Levi’s, Banana Republic and Nordstrom Rack.
If you don’t mind a slightly longer trip, head to the Woodbury Common outlet mall (1.5 hours by train) to score deals on top designer brands.
Shopping in New York City (Post Summary)
Here’s a quick roundup of the best shopping in NYC:
- SoHo (South of Houston Street)
- Fifth Avenue
- Madison Avenue
- The West Village
- The Flatiron District & Union Square
- Meatpacking District/Chelsea
- East Village (great vintage shopping in NYC)
- Herald Square
- Hudson Yards
- Battery Park City
- Columbus Avenue & Columbus Circle
- Empire Outlets
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Map of the best areas for shopping in NYC
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Great summary but VERY short on affordable and accessible. The great ones you missed are Chinatown in Manhattan and Chinatown in Flushing. Can’t be beat for affordable fashion, great gifts and oh yes…the food. Plus the subway ride to Flushing gives great views of the skyline and of New York neighborhoods.
Aman Sharma says
I love this blog! I’m from New York City and I can definitely relate to all of the recommendations. I’m definitely going to have to start shopping more often!
Jeniffer Smith says
Great share. Thanks for your time. Worth reading.
How about LES? I was surprised to not see that listed as it looks like small brands are moving there due to absurd rents in Soho!