If you’re visiting the Big Apple with the intention of doing some shopping in New York City, you’re in the right place. My name is Antonina P. and I’m a 10 year NYC local. I’m also the founder of New York Simply (the official NYC partner of Apple Maps), a website where locals share firsthand experiences from NYC. Longtime readers of this website know that I’m not one for small talk, so, allow me to share my personal list of the best shopping in NYC.
Shopping in NYC (Meet the Author) | Antonina P. moved to New York City 10 years ago from the Pacific Northwest. She doesn’t miss the rain as much as she though she would. You can follow her weekly updates here.
The Sales Tax for Shopping in NYC
Before we start, it’s prudent to go over sales taxes so you’re not caught by surprise while shopping in New York (this is especially true for international visitors).
New York City shoppers are subject to three taxes:
- city sales tax (4.5%)
- state sales tax (4%)
- commuter sales tax (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 city and state sales tax. Don’t let it confuse you, here’s how it works: if you buy a shirt for $80 and a purse for $200, you won’t be taxed for the shirt (because it’s less than $110), but you will be charged a sales tax of 8.875% for the purse.
The Best Shopping Areas in New York City
(Table of Contents)
NYC Famous Shopping Areas (Table of Contents)
- The Sales Tax for Shopping in NYC
- The Best Shopping Areas in New York City
- The Best Shopping Areas in Brooklyn
- Shopping in New York City (Post Summary)
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 10 Best Neighborhoods & 3 to Avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
SoHo (South of Houston Street)
The cobble-stone streets and cast-iron buildings 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 anything you need.
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’m a huge fan of Balthazar, one of the best bakeries in New York City.
Local’s Tip: The crowds get very intense on the weekends, try visiting SoHo during a weekday morning, if your schedule allows.
SoHo Stores To Visit:
The MoMa Design Store: Offering a great selection of fascinating items ranging from small trinkets to full scale furniture, there’s always something interesting to discover. The MoMa Design Store is considered one of the best stores in New York City for art lovers.
Catbird Jewelry: A local jewelry shop specializing in delicate gold jewelry and beautiful charms. The charms are a great souvenir idea!
Bloomingdale’s: An established department store, Bloomingdale’s is great for luxury goods and affordable brands. The Bloomingdales located in SoHo is full of great finds, but the real gem is the fact that they have a public restroom (which is almost unheard of, so take advantage).
You May Enjoy Reading: 30 Spree-Worth Stores in SoHo (Helpful Guide)
Luxury NYC Shopping on Fifth Avenue
If budget isn’t a concern (way to go, you!) look no further than Fifth Avenue for the ultimate NYC shopping experience. Fifth Avenue is not only the most popular shopping area in New York City, but it’s also one of the most popular (and expensive) shopping districts in the world.
This massive shopping district is marked by luxury brands competing for attention by way of stunning window displays. It’s often said that New York is not for the timid, nowhere is this more evident than Fifth Avenue. This Avenue is a place for the loudest, riskiest and boldest stores in NYC.
Interesting Fifth Avenue Stores To Know About:
Uniqlo: Uniqlo hails from Japan and is the 4th largest retailer in the world. A great place to stock up on basics (t shirts, pants, etc) the store spans 89,000 square feet, the retailer’s largest location worldwide. If you’re shopping in New York City on a budget, this is a great place to visit.
Saks Fifth Avenue: This 10-story luxury department store 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.
Tiffany & Co.: If you love the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, make a beeline for Tiffany & Co on Fifth Avenue. This was the store featured in the film!
The Apple Store: Open 24 hours, 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 all the fuss is about. Covering 77,000 square feet, this location employs 300 people and has the largest staff of any Apple Store in the world.
The Lego Store: One of the best stores in NYC for kids, the Lego Store on Fifth Avenue covers two floors and has various fascinating NYC-themed Lego constructions (great for souvenirs!).
Nike Store: With an (official) 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.
Located just one block from Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue is one of the best shopping areas in NYC for luxury goods. Much like Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue is home to some of the most expensive stores in the world (like a mattress store that sells mattresses priced at $250K+).
Here’s some stores to check out in the area:
Ralph Lauren: Located in a renovated mansion, the store is a sight for sore eyes. Then, make your way to the equally charming Ralph Lauren Cafe for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Bloomingdale’s Flagship Store: The original Bloomingdale’s store is only two blocks east of Madison Avenue. The perk of Bloomingdale’s is getting to walk around with the most iconic shopping bag in NYC: the little brown bag!
Riding on the coattails of SoHo, Nolita (North of Little Italy) offers some of the trendiest shopping in Manhattan. The colorful streets of this charming neighborhood are full of local shops and cute boutiques.
It’s easy to mix this region with Soho since the two neighborhoods blend into each other, but rest assured – they are both great shopping districts in their own rights. Here’s a few great shops to check out:
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.
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 jewelry shopping in New York City, 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.
Bleeker Street (in the The West Village)
Bleeker Street is home to some of the most interesting boutique stores in New York City. 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 exploring this popular NYC shopping area.
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 Love Shack Fancy . 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.
Further Reading: 17+ Exciting Things to Do in the Charming West Village
Herald Square is a popular area to go shopping in New York City and the crowds prove it. Home to some of the largest department stores in the world, this area feels touristy but it’s worth knowing about. Here’s some shops to visit:
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, this is the largest Macy’s in the world. 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
Locals love shopping at affordable stores in NYC and H&M is the perfect testament to this fact. H&M opened its largest store in the world at Herald Square (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. There’s more than 13,300 products stocked on the shelves and ample samples to play around with, reason alone to visit.
Union Square is a popular area for shopping in New York City. The south end of the park is home to Nordstrom Rack (the first one in NYC) and Burlington and DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse). At the north end of the park you’ll find a variety of shops, from high-end designers to independent boutiques.
Here’s some fun local New York City stores in the area:
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.
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 guarantee is self control.
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.
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 this New York City shopping area.
From Hermes, Restoration Hardware and Christian Louboutin to more affordable stores like LuluLemon and Madewell.
East Village (For Vintage Shopping!)
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. When it comes to the best vintage shops, clear standouts are, Cloak & Dagger, L Train Vintage, East Village Vintage Collective and Cobblestones. Whatever you do, make sure to stroll down St. Marks Place while visiting the area, it’s great fun!
Further Reading: 15 Iconic East Village Activities
The Mall at Hudson Yards
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!
The Best Shopping Areas 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.
Local’s Tip: Visit Smorgasburg if you’re in the area on a Saturday during the summer for a foodie experience you won’t soon forget.
The Brooklyn Flea Market
The Brooklyn Flee Market is the gold standard for flea markets, and the notorious crowds prove it. Founded in 2008, the market has amassed an enthusiastic fan base that scours the booths for treasures every summer weekend.
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).
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
Where to Grab Brunch in SoHo: 15 Satisfying Brunch Places in SoHo (Worth the Wait)
Best Happy Hour in SoHo: 12 Satisfying Happy Hour Spots in SoHo
Coffee Shops in SoHo: 15 Satisfying SoHo Coffee Shops (Locals Can’t Live Without!)
Restaurants in SoHo: 20 Remarkable Restaurants in SoHo (Both Hotspots & Hidden Gems)
Best Things to Do in SoHO
Map of the Best Shopping Areas in NYC
We hope you found this post helpful! Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or suggestions.