Unofficially, shopping is one of America's favorite pastimes, with big shopping malls, sprawling outlet centers, and intimate boutiques being easy to find in most cities. Of course, some metropolitan areas rise above the rest, having numerous retail options ranging from handmade and bargain wares to designer brands for luxury shoppers. Following is a list of the best shopping cities in the United States by volume. Some other cities not yet on this list but worth checking out include Dallas, Miami, and Charleston, South Carolina.
New York City is notorious for shopping. Luxury shopping lives in New York with the flagship stores of many top designers lining 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue. Designer sample sales are popular with fashion lovers who want a bargain. Mainstream and national chains are also plentiful in Manhattan, particularly in SoHo, but it's best to bypass those and check out the city's numerous boutiques and emporiums.
The 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue, known as The Magnificent Mile, is usually what ranks Chicago among the best cities for shopping in the United States. Everything from high-end and mainstream department stores, boutiques, and jewelers attracts visitors to this mile-long shopping boulevard. Shopping malls are also squeezed into this strip, notably Water Tower Place, an eight-story, open atrium of more than 100 shops. Frommer's offers a Shopper's Stroll of North Michigan Avenue as well as details on other Chicago shopping districts, including State Street/The Loop, the galleries of River North, and boutiques and artisan shops of trendy Wicker Park.
You may have heard of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills from the popular movie "Pretty Woman," and indeed it is one of the best-known shopping addresses in the entire world. It is here that Hollywood stars shop for their chic clothing and coveted jewelry, some spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in one shopping excursion.
Many different influences go into making San Francisco one of the most exciting places to shop in the country. Silicon Valley is nearby, making San Fran a testing ground for new gadgets and tech accessories. It is also known for its independent spirit, which is evident in the unique boutiques and vendors on Fillmore Street, Union Street, and The Mission. For high-end and mainstream retail, Union Square, in the heart of downtown, is the place to go.
Shopping malls are integral to U.S. shopping culture, so it'd be remiss to leave the Mall of America off of the list of America's best places to shop. The Minneapolis/St. Paul attraction receives 40 million visitors annually and it is so large that 32 Boeing 747's could fit inside. As for shopping, there are more than 500 stores to choose from. Other venues to part visitors with their money include the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, flight simulators, and theaters, among others.
Houston is not only the biggest city in Texas, but it's also the best city to go shopping in the Lonestar State. Houston is also home to the Houston Galleria, the largest mall in Texas, with more than 375 stores and boutiques. Overall the city has more than 16,000 retailers to provide travelers with some retail therapy. Visit Houston has more listings for Houston's boutiques, markets, shopping streets, and top shops.