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10 best places to shop in New York in 2019

From hipster flea markets to world-famous department stores, find retail heaven with our shopper's guide to NYC.
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New York is a shopaholic’s paradise, packed with chic boutiques, hipster flea markets and world-famous department stores. Writer and presenter Alicia Drewnicki takes us on a tour of 10 best places to go on a shopping spree in the Big Apple, whether you’re on a hunt for handmade cufflinks, high-end designer gear, artisan chocolates or vintage records.

1. Macy’s: a New York institution

Spend an afternoon getting lost in the USA‘s largest department store. Macy’s has 10 and a half floors of everything you could imagine, from fashion to food to furniture to wigs. International tourists receive a 10% discount with the International Visitor Savings Pass, that you can show on your mobile or download from their website.

2. Fifth Avenue: shop ’til you drop

Fifth Avenue is home to some of New York’s most iconic stores, such as Tiffany & Co, Saks, Cartier, Armani and Bergdorf Goodman. There’s also a mammoth 10,000 square foot Apple Store that’s open 24 hours a day. Enter on 59th Street by Central Park and work your way down to 14th Street.

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3. Century 21: designer discounts

Enjoy the thrill of finding a designer label at a fraction of the original price at this designer discount store. At Century 21, you’ll find handbags, footwear, clothing and accessories, with reductions of up to 70% – a bargain hunter’s dream.

4. Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg: hipster heaven

If you’re on a budget and want to purchase something unique, head to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Get the subway to Bedford Avenue and you’ll find lots of hip boutiques, record stores, street stalls, thrift shops and vintage emporiums.

5. Brooklyn Flea Market: handmade and vintage goods

Another Williamsburg gem, this eclectic weekend flea market is full of bargains from up-and-coming designers’ stuff to bric-a-brac and old antiques. You never know what treasures you might find – maybe jewellery made of recycled watch parts, or vintage 1920s headbands?!

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6. Chelsea Market: boutique food stores

Chelsea Market is a foodie’s dream. Spend an afternoon sampling artisan cheeses, fresh seafood, Italian pasta, gelato, handmade chocolates, wine and much more. Be sure to visit the internationally renowned Sarabeth’s Bakery for heavenly cookies.

7. FAO Schwarz: Toy Heaven

FAO Schwarz is the oldest toy shop in America, and it’s fun for all the family! The flagship Fifth Avenue Store, which featured the giant piano made famous in the Tom Hanks film Big, closed down in 2015. But now the huge toy shop is back in all its glory at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. You can actually buy a giant floor piano dance mat for $80, on which you can learn how to play five different songs with your feet.

8. The Strand: books galore

Hunt down that book you’ve always wished for in the store that boasts a whopping 18 miles of books. Strand Books even has an exclusive ‘rare room’ with signed and leather-bound copies as well as mint first-editions.

9. Madison Avenue: designer gear

It’ll please your eyes but punish your credit cards. Madison Avenue is a 22-block stretch of the crème de la crème of luxury brands. Armani, Chanel, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana… it’s worth a walk just for the spectacular window displays.

10. SoHo: chic boutiques and more

With its cobblestone streets and cast-iron architecture, super fashionable SoHo (south of Houston Street) is one of New York‘s most beautiful shopping districts. There are vintage antique shops, high-end designer stores and stunning art galleries. You’ll find popular department stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Barneys New York, as well as one-of-a-kind boutiques that sell everything from couture hats to taxidermy.

Alicia Drewnicki is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer and television presenter from London. Follow her on Twitter or check out her website.

*Updated December 2018. Prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.

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