It’s shopping season, and people either love it or hate it. Whichever camp you fall into, you’re going to be battling the crowds. Each city around the world experiences the holiday hoards, but in some places, believe it or not, holiday shopping is actually kind of fun. Here are some top shopping cities around the world.
Maybe going to the largest mall in country doesn’t interest you, but the Mall of America isn’t just any mall. This behemoth, sporting over 500 retail stores, has a Lego Store and the Nickelodeon Universe. You can entertain the kids, and swipe a gift for them when they aren’t looking.
There’s more to this wintery city than the mall, though. Shopping in Edina and Grand Avenue is a gift-giver’s dream. Boutiques and pop-ups abound in the St. Paul neighborhood. In nearby downtown Stillwater, you can go antique shopping, or in hip Uptown Minneapolis artisan stores are your ticket. Looking for a deal? Many outlet malls are a short drive away.
New York City
It would be impossible to talk about holiday shopping and not mention New York. The city doesn’t just have one holiday market, they have three major pop-up destinations: Union Square, Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle. The city of artists has a variety of unique wares that makes it easy to find an original gift. SoHo is shopping haven in New York, not to be outdone by upscale 5th Avenue, the label of luxury goods, or you can just peak at their world-famous holiday windows.
Want to get away from the crowds? Branch out to the boroughs. Perhaps the best borough shopping is in Williamsburg in Brooklyn. This major hipster neighborhood has the coolest and trendiest stores in the city. Astoria in Queens is the hottest up and coming area, but it’s a little more down to earth and affordable.
Holiday markets are great… but it’s cold. In Madrid, they don’t worry about the weather. It’s temperate, so while no one’s ripping out their swimsuits, it isn’t so blistery, making for a much more humane shopping excursion. There’s a variety of shopping in Madrid. Price ranges vary from great deals to high-end luxury. Local markets are where holiday shopping is at, but none is so unique as the El Rastro. The oldest flea market in the city, El Rastro has a truly unique array of holiday goods, and while that alone is a great reason to visit, they also have traditional tapas snacks and live music performances. Plan wisely – it’s only open on Sundays and closes at 3 o’clock.
Need another reason? The best shopping district in Madrid is the Chueca District. The trendy, fashion forward arts district is full of boutiques, as well as hip Spaniards that makes for a fun, eclectic shopping experience.
Named the most expensive city in the world, you can imagine the goods in Hong Kong are fine – very fine. Luxury shopping in this high-end metropolis is best found in shopping malls, like Times Square. This shopping destination extends ten stories high, with decorations as lush as the products it sells. Puppets and figures fill the mall to evoke the utmost glam in Christmas spirit.
Shoppers who are looking to preserve their wallets can head to the Langham Palace, where they get an authentic Asia-only shopping experience. Hate the mall? The Jade Market is a holiday favorite among Hong Kongers, selling trinkets and vintage pieces, predominantly made of the local jade stone. In the evening, shoppers head to the famous Temple Street Night Market, where the lights glisten the streets, fortune tellers await the lost and curious shopper, and street performers entertain amid stalls that line the market.
Argentina has a Catholic heritage, so the good people of Buenos Aires take the Christmas holiday very seriously. That’s to the holiday reveler’s advantage. At the grandiose Galerias Pacifico mall, a massive Christmas tree towers, and tucked snuggly into every nook and cranny of the great evergreen are delicate decorations and lights. Children can take their pictures with Christmas characters from the Bible – think the three wise men, or the three kings.
The major holiday shopping district in Buenos Aires is the Palermo Viejo, which, as its name indicates, is the old part of the Palmero neighborhood. The district very much resembles Williamsburg in New York, and is dotted with cool local boutiques and cafes. Luxury goods like Argentinian leather can be bought, but that shouldn’t deter the average shopper. Palmero Viejo is one of the funkiest and trendiest areas of Buenos Aires, and during weekends and holidays, pop-up stands sell wares from artisans and craft masters. It’s worth a look around, even for budget-minded shoppers.
What’s your favorite city to holiday shop? What’s the best present you’ve ever bought?