New York State is arguably the fashion capital of the world. The state is home to some of the most popular shopping areas, especially in New York City itself.
The best places to go shopping in New York State are Soho, Madison Avenue, 5th avenue, and Nolita. All of them offer a high-end shopping experience with endless boutiques to explore. However, if you’re looking for a quieter shopping experience, Northport and Catskill are your best options.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the best places you can visit if you want to shop in New York. So if you’re planning to enjoy some retail therapy in The Big Apple any time soon, make sure to read on.
This lower part of Manhattan is known for its culture changing experiences. I have never been there and experienced the same thing twice. We love it! SoHo is the perfect stop if you want an authentic New York shopping experience. This shopping area is known for its high-end art galleries and expensive boutiques, while the architecture adds to the experience since it’s reminiscent of an older time. Since the 1970s, Soho has been a hotspot for artists and those looking to create beautiful works of art.
Some of the great shops in Soho include:
- Alexander Wang
- Saint Laurent
These are just a few of the big names you’ll find in this neighborhood in New York City. Additionally, there’s no shortage of shops and restaurants for you to enjoy as you walk Soho streets. Soho, if you were wondering, is short for South of Houston Street. It is located just West of Little Italy. It ends around Lafayette Street. You clearer understand when you made your way to another neighborhood.
2. Madison Avenue
Madison Avenue is best known for its elegant fashion and high-end jewelry. This area in Manhattan has long been a stop for the wealthy and famous. Many historic buildings in this location now house costly shops with extravagantly arranged displays.
There are over 150 luxury clothing designers located on Madison Avenue.
This shopping destination offers over a mile and a half (2.41 kilometers) of shops that line the streets. Madison Avenue is also a great stop during the holiday season when all the streets and shop displays are decorated for Christmas. If you’re in New York during the holiday season, be sure to visit this area.
Some of the most notable shops located on Madison Avenue include:
- Alexander McQueen
- Bottega Veneta Maison
- Dolce & Gabbana
- Ralph Lauren
- Tom Ford
There’s an endless array of luxury brands to explore in this part of town.
Even if you don’t plan on purchasing from some high-end shops, it can be nice to simply walk the streets and explore. There are also some more affordable shops in this location peppered between the costlier ones.
Nolita is another charming neighborhood in New York City, which is known for its trendyupscale shops and atmosphere. The neighborhood’s name is a condensed version of “North of Little Italy,” hence Nolita.
Nolita has plenty to offer in terms of shopping and dining, as you can find everything from posh clothing boutiques to home improvement shops.
Despite being more urban, the shops have a quaint, timeless appearance as they line the streets. Many stores here aren’t big designer names, but they still offer a stunning array of fashionable clothing and home decor items.
Some of the more notable shops in Nolita include:
- Marine Layer
- Coclico Nolita
Along with these adorable shops, you’ll find many others. If you want a more laid-back shopping experience versus the fast-paced environment you’ll find in places like Madison Avenue, then Nolita is perfect.
4. Meatpacking District
As the name suggests, this part of New York was home to the city’s meatpacking plants. However, the neighborhood’s job reputation has slowly changed in recent years, and now the district is home to many shops and clubs.
You can now find the Museum of American Art and several high-end designer shops in this area. The shopping experience in this part of town is fantastic, but this district also offers plenty of delicious cuisines and fun clubs for you to explore.
You can find excellent shops in the Meatpacking District, such as:
- Google Store
Along with these well-known stores, the Meatpacking District also has a beautiful flea market known as Artists and Fleas. If you want unique artsy items, it’s worth stopping in and checking out all the stunning merchandise.
5. Fifth Avenue
Another must-visit shopping destination in New York State is Fifth Avenue, which is a long stretch of some of the most expensive stores in the world. Fifth Avenue is what you think of when you picture New York shopping.
The area is bustling with people and lined with exquisitely decorated storefronts.
You can find almost every shop imaginable on 5th avenue. The types of establishments range from high-end luxury designers to more basic clothing shops like H&M. It will take the average shopper hours, if not days, to explore each shop on this street fully.
Some of the more exciting shops on 5th avenue include:
- Bergdorf Goodman
- Eddie Bauer
The list of excellent shops really could go on. Along with all these shops, you’ll find high-end restaurants and local vendors where you can try exciting cuisine. If you plan to shop on 5th Avenue, you will likely need an entire day or two to experience all this street truly has to offer.
Williamsburg, located in Brooklyn, is better known as a trendy hotspot for young adults. All the shops do their best to stay hip and to bring in the latest trends. The neighborhood also provides a waterside view of the east river and a good picture of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Since the 1990s, Williamsburg has become the home of budding artists and college students. Because of these creative people’s influence, the neighborhood has blossomed into hosting vibrant shops, impeccable food, and an active nightlife.
Williamsburg offers live music, dancing, and bars, perfect for a night out after a long shopping day.
Ultimately, this shopping area is all about the good vibes, which is perfect for those looking for a relaxing day of shopping and dining. Plus, the evenings are always bustling for those who enjoy the night more than the day.
Chinatown is the perfect shopping destination if you’re looking for a more cultural experience, as it’s home to many Asian immigrants. Over the years, it has become one of the most fun places to shop/visit in New York State.
If you plan on visiting this part of New York, ensure you arrive hungry, as Chinatown is home to some of the most amazing Asian cuisine restaurants, and your stomach likely won’t be big enough to try it all. Along with fantastic food, you can shop at many of the fun souvenir shops and markets.
It’s also a great place to pick up difficult-to-find herbs or new foods you want to try.
There are two Chinatowns in New York, but the one in Manhattan is more geared toward tourists. The other Chinatown is in Queens and is primarily for the locals, as all the signs are in Chinese.
So make sure you stop by the Manhattan one for a fun day of shopping and eating.
8. Greenwich Village
Another fantastic shopping experience to try in New York state is Greenwich Village. This neighborhood is also located in New York City, which is hardly surprising given how much New Yorkers love to shop.
This neighborhood is filled with those quintessential New York apartments you see on popular tv shows like Friends, while the streets are lined with beautiful trees, popular restaurants, and bars.
The area is also famous for off-Broadway productions and live music like jazz.
As far as shopping goes, there are plenty of stunning shops to choose from, ranging from chic new clothing stores to vintage hidden treasures. You can find everything from clothing to lavish home decor in Greenwich Village.
9. Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs is a city in New York State known for horse racing. You can find museums for this sport and a horse racing course in this city, as well as some cultural hotspots like the vintage car museum.
The area offers a diverse shopping experience in its historic downtown area.
Along with the museums, you’ll find old bookshops, art installations, clothing boutiques, and more. One thing that sets Saratoga Springs apart from other shopping experiences in New York is the lack of chain stores.
You will also find fantastic food to try as you explore. The vibe here is more laid back than that you’ll experience in the shops in New York City, and there’s plenty to do if you happen to get bored of shopping.
Another excellent shopping stop in New York State is Ithaca, which is home to Cornell University and boasts some stunning greenery for those that enjoy the outdoors. Downtown Ithaca is best for shopping as this is where most of the boutiques and art centers are located.
Thanks to local artists, the downtown area is known for its ever-changing appearance.
This city is also home to a large mall full of fantastic shops and dining experiences, but if you want fresh local produce, be sure to stop at the Ithaca Farmers Market. There are also several stunning art galleries to explore if you find yourself in the downtown area.
The shops in Ithaca’s downtown are so diverse that you can find everything from old bookshops to clothing and pottery. There’s a shop and cuisine type for everyone, so make sure to bring along your loved ones.
Clayton, NY, is mainly known as a summer vacation spot but is also home to the Clayton Opera house. Because of the large number of tourists this village accommodates every summer, it’s full of fun boutiques and galleries worth exploring.
The village of Clayton is nestled against the St. Lawrence river, and as a result, Clayton is where most of the fun shops and best restaurants are found. The city was built to be a shopping hotspot and has succeeded in that capacity.
The main streets are packed with adorable shops nestled into old-style buildings that run along the river. Peppered throughout these shops are some truly gourmet dining experiences and treats for you to try as you enjoy shopping.
12. Saranac Lake
A stunning village in the Adirondacks, Saranac Lake is an excellent stop for all your shopping in New York State.
The historic downtown area is perfect for learning more about the village’s rich history while you get some much-needed retail therapy. It’s also home to many art galleries, installations, and fun stores.
You can also take a walking tour to get a better layout of the downtown area for shopping. There are plenty of fantastic restaurants for you to try along the way. It’s also a great place to shop if you want to escape the hordes of tourists that often flock to New York.
In December, the village often puts on a winter carnival.
Saranac Lake is also a great stop if you’re looking for a laid-back shopping experience that will be fun for the whole family. The village also has a great park system that’s worth exploring as it was designed by the same people who created New York City’s Central Park.
So, once you’re tired of shopping, you can always stroll through the greenery.
This village is located on Long Island and has been a prominent spot in New York since the early 1800s. The historic maritime village is now less of a port for traveling vessels and more of a popular shopping destination.
The village itself is old and still bears signs of an older, simpler time, as you’ll see when you notice old trolley tracks that are now out of commission.
Northport is home to many restaurants and shops where it sits nestled by the water. City life here is more relaxed but still gives off that sought-after lively vibe. Many restaurants and shops here are not chains but unique family-owned businesses.
The area boasts many fun antique/consignment shops, which is great if you love thrift store items.
You can also find some beautiful art installations/galleries and cigar lounges. Great restaurants are abundant in this village, allowing you to crush your hunger after a long day of shopping. If nothing else, the city’s aesthetic is worth looking at while you window shop.
Compared to most of New York State’s shopping areas, Catskill is surrounded by a much more rural landscape. When visiting this beautiful village, there are plenty of hiking and waterfalls, but they also offer fantastic shopping opportunities along with all the natural sights.
In the downtown area, you can choose from several fun shops, such as:
- Art galleries
- Farmers markets
- Art centers
- Flea markets
However, the overall vibe of the village is quiet and seems to focus primarily on art and farming.
There are also art museums and farm experiences you can book if you run out of things to shop for. Catskill is a great place to shop in New York State if you want to avoid droves of tourists and like to feel in your own element while out looking for a new shirt or jacket.
15. Cold Spring
Cold Spring is a tiny rural town located in Putnam County. Although the village is relatively small, it offers a rich shopping experience, especially if you’re looking to beat the hustle and bustle of New York City’s shopping centers.
The village is stunning, especially in the fall when all the leaves have changed colors.
Though Cold Springs is relatively more laid-back, it still offers plenty to do, like biking, kayaking, and of course, shopping. The main street in this village also has plenty of adorable shops and cafes to explore during your visit.
It boasts many art galleries, antique shops, great food, and clothing shops. You can also find live entertainment almost anywhere you go. However, it’s important to note that you won’t find any chain shops in this area, as the cute little shops are owned mainly by locals.
Lastly, there’s Ellicottville, a historic village located in Western New York. The village is relatively small, but it still tends to draw in plenty of tourism.
Ellicottville’s primary draw is its ski slopes and stunning shop fronts.
You can choose from over 23 bars and restaurants as you explore the gorgeous streets. The village is also known for providing plenty of entertainment, so you can find a fun activity or live music after a long day of shopping.
Some of the fantastic festivals held here include:
- Winter Blues Weekend
- Mardi Gras Weekend
- Jazz and Blues Weekend
- Holliday Beer & Wine Festival
- Taste of Ellicottville
These are just a handful of the festivals you can experience during your visit to Ellicottville. So, I highly recommend you plan your shopping trip during one of the village’s many festivals or events if possible.
Additionally, because the village is a ski town, you’re guaranteed to have a great time in the area no matter the season you plan to take your trip.