New York City is a shopping haven, with all of the stores you could ever want packed into its ever crowded streets. The famous 5th Avenue is home to all of the usual suspects, and massive department stores, but that’s not the end of New York’s shopping magic. To take advantage of the truly unique shopping opportunities in NYC, you’re going to want to check out some more off the beaten path areas. Here are our picks for the top 5 shopping areas in NYC.
While SoHo can hardly be considered “off the beaten path” anymore, it’s still a key shopping area. One of the first areas in NYC known for its killer boutiques, it’s still home to some unique finds. While the main drag in SoHo, West Broadway, will deliver up all the typical stores like H&M, Gap, etc. the adorable, cobble stoned side streets are home to high-end boutiques for all kinds of different sensibilities. In this area you’ll also see quite a few pop-up shops and designer blowout sales, giving you access to great deals that you won’t find anywhere else.
The East Village/Lower East Side
The East Village is Manhattan’s top area for finding great vintage and consignment shops. You can wander in and out of the streets in Alphabet City to find all kinds of gems. St. Marks is also a must visit street in this hood. While it has changed quite a bit in recent years, it is famous for being home to an alternative crowd, and eclectic stores. Trash and Vaudeville, long a staple of St. Marks, recently moved to E. 7th St. and is definitely worth a gander. For some more upscale stores, E. 9th St. is home to a delightful little collection. As you make your way a bit further south into the Lower East Side (LES to the locals) you’ll come on to the historic Orchard Street shopping district. This area used to be known for its bargains, but is now home to much more hip wares.
Upper East Side
If you’re into a bit of a classier shopping experience, look no further than the Upper East Side. Madison Avenue uptown is lined with luxury boutiques and designers alike. While 5th Avenue might be more famous, this area is more popular with the serious shoppers and home to some of the most expensive retail property in NYC. Even if you’re not in the market for luxury goods, it’s fun to just window shop and experience the beauty of this shopping district. You also might happen along some fantastic sidewalk sales, so don’t be intimidated by the glamour of the UES.
For those brave enough to venture into Brooklyn, you’re in for a real shopping treat along the streets of this nearby Brooklyn neighborhood. Williamsburg has shot from down and dirty BK to one of the hippest, trendiest neighborhoods in NYC in such a short time that it still has a bit of an identity crisis, making it a super fun place to wander around. From the first stop off the L, Bedford you can find a treasure trove of thrift stores, boutiques and Brooklyn Flea, which hosts local artists and their creations (clothes, jewelry, art, etc.). If you’re lucky enough to be there in the summer months, you might also catch Smorgasburg, which is a food truck rally with all kinds of tasty delights to keep your shopping energy up.
The Meatpacking District, once a no-go zone has zoomed ahead to uber-trendy–and has the high-end designer stores to match. From Alexander McQueen to Christian Louboutin, the warehouses turned stores that dot the wide cobblestoned streets of the Meatpacking are super fun to explore. You can also swing by the Chelsea Market, which has a wide variety of different types of stores to check out.