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Shopping in NYC: 10 of the best stores, boutiques and outlet malls

Shopping in NYC: 10 of the best stores, boutiques and outlet malls

A view of the mighty New York City from Hudson Terrace

Forget London, Paris and Tokyo – the world’s best shopping destination is officially NYC. Seriously, there are studies to prove it.

From iconic, long-standing department stores to treasure trove flea markets; from high street to second hand to luxury, the City That Never Sleeps has it all.

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Photo by Julienne Schaer

Indeed, its shopping scene is undoubtedly one of New York City’s major draws, helping attract a record 60 million visitors in 2015.

And we’re not just talking Manhattan, either.

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During our recent visit we found countless vintage shops and charming boutiques throughout its four other boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

There are plenty of bargains to be had further afield, too. Our shopping odyssey took us to nearby premium outlets Woodbury Common Premium Outlets and The Mills at Jersey Gardens [pictured below].

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That said, doing one’s best Audrey Hepburn impression with a stroll down Fifth Avenue is an obligatory NYC experience – even it it’s only for a spot of window shopping, croissant in hand…

So, starting with a pit stoon the world’s most famous shopping street, we count down 10 pit stops to pure retail nirvana in the Big Apple.

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Tiffany & Co.

1 Try on some glitter at Tiffany and Co., Fifth Avenue

Immortalized in the 1961 film adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly’s famous haunt has been the luxury jewelry retailer’s flagship store since 1940, and is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. The brand’s been operating since 1837.

Holiday window displays at Bergdorf Goodman #NYC #NewYork

A photo posted by Jamie Tabberer (@jamietabberer) on

2 Admire the iconic window displays at Bergdorf Goodman, Fifth Avenue

The daddy of all department stores moved to its current home on 58th and Fifth Avenue in 1928; a second store opened across the street in 1959, and an independent men’s store followed a stone’s throw from both in 1990.

What separates it from other blockbuster stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Barneys? The location. It’s on the corner of Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, which is itself on the corner of glorious Central Park. It doesn’t get more New York than this.

A photo posted by @trendsonyourhands on

3 Pay your respects at the Alexander McQueen flagship store, Madison Avenue

He tragically committed suicide in 2010, but openly gay fashion genius Alexander McQueen’s legacy lives on through his blockbuster fashion brand, now overseen by Creative Director Sarah Burton. This is the US flagship, and feels more like a permanent art exhibit than a shop.

4 Browse for skull decor – yes, that’s a thing now – at The Evolution Store, SoHo

A slice of Brooklyn in Manhattan, this vast collection of peculiar novelties is so hip, and occasionally hideous, it hurts. Dinosaur skulls? Check. Framed insects? Check. Taxidermied rats? Check…

#vintage in the shining sun. @omniavintage #bkflea

A photo posted by Brooklyn Flea (@bkflea) on

5 Find a crazy outfit to match your dinosaur skull at Brooklyn Flea

You’ll find everything from 70s prom dresses to throwback furniture at this traveling style institution. The market operates in Fort Greene on Saturdays and Dumbo on Sundays: prepare to encounter hoards of trendy children better dressed than you.

Women love cereal too. Check out the newly launched @kithwomen page. (Image via @priscilareyesp)

A photo posted by Kith Treats (@kithtreats) on

6 Shop for sneakers and cereal at Kith at Flatbush Avenue because…why not?

Now this is our idea of multi-tasking. The trend for hybrid stores reaches its ridiculous, nonsensical peak at this seriously stylish trainer emporium in Brooklyn, which has a cafe, Kith Treats, bolted on top. It sells crushingly expensive cereal/ice cream/coffee concoctions, naturally. We hate that we love it.

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Urban Outfitters

7 Change your entire look, hairstyle and all, at Urban Outfitters, Herald Square

Unsurprisingly, Urban Outfitters’ take on the hybrid concept pretty much takes the cake. This sprawling outlet opened in 2014 and covers 57,000 feet, featuring a coffee shop, an instant photography shop, a book shop, a record store and a hair salon. Phew.

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M&M’s World

8 Get a sugar rush at the M&M’s World

If you’ve ever been to the M&M’s World in London – the largest candy store in the world, at 35,000 square feet – chances are you were disappointed at the lack of flavors on offer. The store in NYC is 10,000 square feet smaller, but we much prefer it: not least for the chili nut and coffee nut varieties, and the fact you can customize your own M&M’s with images and text with its ‘Personalized Printer.’

9 Get out of the city and grab a bargain at The Mills at Jersey Gardens

When you simply can’t take the city’s price point any longer, a mere 30 minute drive from Manhattan is the largest retail center in New Jersey, The Mills at Jersey Gardens, boasting over 200 stores.

When we visited this recently-renovated behemoth, we snapped up a Levi’s denim jacket and a pair of Timberland boots for a fraction of the price they cost elsewhere. We also found some great deals at the Adidas, Abercrombie and Fitch, Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger outlets.

The best part? It’s seven minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport, with a shuttle service available.

10 …and Woodbury Common Premium Outlets

For bargain designer gear, head to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets shopping village in Central Valley, Upstate New York, a 45-minute shuttle ride from NYC’s Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Gucci, Paul Smith, Ralph Lauren all have shops here, offering 25%-65% off every day, with prices dropping even further over Thanksgiving and Black Friday. We found a HUGELY discounted Armarni shirt after a good 40 minutes rummaging. Winning.

The outdoor village is currently close to completing a major redevelopment, which will see the likes of Kate Spade and Tory Burch joining the Woodbury family – plus the world’s first Tom Ford outlet…

Where to stay

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Loews Regency New York

Loews Regency New York

This luxury four star has been a Park Avenue stalwart since its grand opening in 1963, and is the perfectly-located base for your shopping odyssey. Boasting 379 rooms, it’s one of the plushest, most glamorous stopovers we’ve ever experienced.

The customer service was across-the-board fantastic – the sunny demeanor of one of the hotel’s senior staff members even cured Gay Star Travel’s hangover during a business phone call one morning. Basically, we were treated like film stars the entire time. We also got the best wet shave and haircut ever at the hotel’s gorgeous Julien Farel Restore Salon and Spa. Amazing.

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Thayer Hotel

Thayer Hotel

We then stayed at this grand, 90-year-old three star for a night before visiting the nearby Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. It proved the perfect calming, homely antidote after three mad days in the Big Apple.

View from the Empire State Building the other night… #NYC #newyorkcity #newyork #america #travel #gaytravel

A photo posted by Gay Star Travel (@gaystartravel) on

For more information on the fantastic everyday savings and seasonal sales at woodbury common premium outlets® and the mills at jersey gardens® please visit simon.com.

North America Travel Service offers a three night package to New York, including scheduled flights with British Airways from Heathrow, two nights at the Loews Regency New York in a Superior King room and one night at Thayer Hotel, West Point in a Queen Deluxe room from £710 per person inclusive of airport taxes and fuel surcharges. northamericatravelservice.co.uk/0845 122 8899.

For more information on New York City please visit the NYC & Company website www.nycgo.com.