The World’s 20 Best Cities for Shopping
Every year, T+L asks readers to weigh in on their travel experiences across the globe in the World’s Best Awards survey — and they share their opinions on the top islands, cruise ships, airlines, hotels, and more. When it comes to cities, readers consider everything from the friendliness of the locals to the culture, cuisine, and (of course) the shopping.
New York City continued to impress travelers, who always remark about the city’s outright theatrical department store windows during the holiday season. Across the Atlantic, Italy dominated the European shopping scene, with three cities — Milan, Florence, and Rome — receiving high marks. In Asia, travelers were delighted by Korean beauty goods, traditional Thai silks, and the flourish of independent boutiques in classic shopping destinations like Hong Kong and Singapore.
Shopping for unforgettable souvenirs is a great way to remember a favorite destination. But it’s also a wonderful way to learn about a culture, a city’s distinct style, and to mingle with locals.
20. Seoul, South Korea
Travelers in search of the world’s best beauty products should plan a trip to Seoul, which is known as the capital of beauty.
19. Hoi An, Vietnam
This ancient port town is famous for its custom tailors — and outrageously affordable prices. It’s not uncommon to find travelers in town just to purchase custom suits, wedding gowns, and other occasion pieces.
17. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas isn’t just for gambling and over-the-top performances. Storefronts here lean decidedly upscale, with more than a handful of Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuittons within walking distance.
17. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok may be best known for its busy markets, which sell everything from Thai silks to fragrant flowers and exotic pets.
16. Los Angeles, California
Travelers in Los Angeles can find high-end designers on Rodeo Drive, decidedly hip boutiques in Silverlake, treasure-filled thrift stores in the Valley, and everything in between.
15. Rome, Italy
For the finest handmade Italian leather goods, shoppers should head to Rome, which is also home to the Fendi flagship store.
14. Santa Fe, New Mexico
This southwestern U.S. city is famous for its handcrafted Native American jewelry (particularly silver and turquoise creations).
13. Charleston, South Carolina
Head straight to King Street for the best shopping in Charleston, which has ample antique shops and unique ateliers.
12. Aspen, Colorado
Not everyone goes to Aspen to ski. According to Travel + Leisure readers, it’s also one of the best places on Earth to shop.
11. Chicago, Illinois
You can shop for just about anything in Chicago, though the Windy City has a particularly impressive collection of funky record stores.
10. London, England
London tastemakers know the vintage markets on Portobello Road and the artisanal vendors at Maltby Street Market are some of the best in the city.
9. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Handicrafts and art are at the heart of this colonial city’s shopping scene. Save room in your suitcase for embroidered blouses, woven shawls, and tinwork.
8. Milan, Italy
Recognized as one of the world’s premier fashion capitals, it should come as no surprise that locals here love to shop — as do the travelers. For a mix of everything, try the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, which is hailed as one of the first shopping malls.
7. Florence, Italy
Beating out both Milan and Rome, this Italian city is known for its craftsmanship. Perfumers and jewelers are particularly celebrated here.
6. Singapore, Singapore
There’s so much more to Singapore than street food. In-the-know travelers have discovered the city’s incredible local designers and funky boutiques.
5. Hong Kong, China
Skip Queen’s Road Central in favor of the eclectic, hard-to-find accessories. For souvenirs, consider Stanley Market and Ladies Market.
4. Paris, France
Brush up on your French — c’est fait en quell tissue — before stocking up on timeless Parisian fashions.
3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
This metropolis is home to the biggest mall in the world (1,200 stores spread across four stories). Need we say more?
2. Tokyo, Japan
From the Tsukiji Fish Market and Yanaka Ginza shopping street to high-end designer labels, shopping in Tokyo is as diverse as the architecture.
1. New York City, New York
One reader ventured that it would be worthwhile to “sell some stocks and refinance your house” for a “shopping spree on the Upper East Side.” New York City never disappoints travelers who love to shop, thanks to its healthy mix of designer labels, independent boutiques, and world-famous window displays.