For many travelers, shopping isn’t just a thing you do at the hotel gift shop when you’ve forgotten your toothbrush—it’s the entire reason they got on the plane in the first place.
Shopping in a new city can be overwhelming, but it’s a great way to collect one-of-a-kind souvenirs, or to pick up designer items you can’t get in your little hometown. Sometimes, you have the good fortune of discovering an impossibly comfortable pair of shoes that remind you of your travels every time you wear them.
Of course, some cities have better shopping options than others. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities for a number of qualities, including shopping. And they had plenty to say about the cities in the U.S. where they’re most excited to crack open their wallets.
Miami’s design-driven shopping scene, for example, helped the beach city climb onto the top 10 list. You can find witty items like a polar bear-shaped bookcase at the Elemental concept shop, and ultra-upscale brands like Gucci and Fendi at the open-air Bal Harbour mall.
Even small cities, like Santa Fe, impressed T+L readers with their “high end shopping in a small town atmosphere.” Travelers to this New Mexican destination should be on the lookout for unique art prints in the countless galleries, and Native American handicrafts.
The next time you find yourself in one of the country’s very best shopping cities, consider browsing, buying, and checking out famous boutiques and markets an integral part of sightseeing.