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Best Shopping in the World

April 30, 2015

Top 20 Shopping Cities Top 20 Shopping Streets Top 20 Department Stores
Bangkok, Thailand Abdi Ipeckçi Street, Istanbul Bergdorf Goodman
Barcelona, Spain Avenue de la Liberté, Luxembourg David Jones
Buenos Aires, Argentina Avenue Montaigne, Paris Debenhams
Cape Town, South Africa Avinguda Diagonal, Barcelona Destkiy Mir
Dubai, United Arab Emirates Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich El Corte Ingles
Florence, Italy Bond Street, London Galeries Lafayette
Hong Kong, Republic of China Calle de Serrano, Madrid Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Istanbul, Turkey Fifth Avenue, New York City Harrods
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia George St, Sydney Isetan
London, United Kingdom Ginza, Tokyo Kmart Australia
Madrid, Spain Laugavegur, Reykjavik La Rinascente
New York City, United States of America Magnificent Mile, Chicago Le Bon Marche
Paris, France Nanjing Road, Shanghai Macy’s
Rome, Italy Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg Marks & Spencer
San Francisco, United States of America Orchard Road, Singapore Myer
Seoul, South Korea P.C. Hooftstraat, Amsterdam Nordstrom
Shanghai, Republic of China Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue
Singapore City, Singapore Siam Square, Bangkok Selfridges
Sydney, Australia Stroget, Copenhagen Takashimaya
Tokyo, Japan Via Montenapoleone, Milan Target

 

Bangkok, Thailand

Whether you enjoy perusing designer brands in air-conditioned calm or haggling at the local markets, Bangkok has it all. Looking skywards, the city is like a vision of the future with its sleek glass high-rise towers, but at street-level it’s a chaotic blend of scooters and food stalls – and all the richer for it.

 

Best for: Bargain shopping

 

Barcelona, Spain

From the up-market designer shops of ‘Passeo de Gracia’ to the bookstores in the narrow alleyways of the ‘old city’, Barcelona is a great place for browsing. With a more laid-back vibe than Madrid, you’ll also find some interesting bohemian clothing and accessory shops.

Best for: Designer brands and bohemian styles.

 

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The residents of this tango-obsessed city don’t just want to dance well, they want to look good doing it. Consequently, Buenos Aires is well served by luxury clothing stores, as well as bespoke workshops with craftsmen turning out exquisite leather bags and belts.

Best for: Luxury styles and leather products.

 

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is the place to head if you’re looking for stunning, original South African jewellry containing sapphires, diamonds, and emeralds. Cape Town is also a good place to find all sorts of inventive, locally produced craftworks, from intricate wooden sculptures to lampshades made out bottle tops.

Best for: Unique items.

 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai doesn’t do anything by halves, and that includes the quantity and variety of shopping on offer. With scores of malls (including one that has its own indoor ski resort) and lots of atmospheric local bazaars offering carpets, perfumes and spices, the choice is almost overwhelming.

Best for: Luxury items and exotic products.

 

Florence, Italy

The compact size of the city of Florence makes it a relaxing place to shop for handmade leather gloves and classy stationary. As an added bonus, Prada and Gucci have discount factory outlets just outside the city.

Best for: Designer brands and luxury items.

 

Hong Kong, Republic of China

Hong Kong is a magnet for those seeking high-end products – especially electronic goods – at the best price, while the flashy ‘Central District’ is the place to go for glamorous designer-wear. If you’re more interested in finding souvenirs and inexpensive silk garments, then we recommend you check out ‘Stanley Market’.

Best for: Designer brands, bargain shopping and electronic goods.

 

Istanbul, Turkey

Straddling the River Bosporus, Istanbul is home to the splendid ‘Grand Bazaar’. This is one of the biggest, craziest markets in the world, and offers residents and visitors alike a plethora of carpets, rugs, and glassware. The city also has a growing number of stores offering stylish, contemporary Turkish designs.

Best for: Bargain shopping.

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

With three of the world’s largest malls, Malaysia’s capital certainly presents visitors with plenty of opportunities to buy. You’ll find international high-end fashion, tech-related products, plus some great local handicraft at the numerous street markets.

Best for: Bargain shopping and unique street market products.

 

London, United Kingdom

To visit London and only shop in the city’s ‘West End’, which is dominated by global brands, is to miss the quirky side of British design. For more original finds, head for the edgier west and east of the city. Check out ‘Spitalfields Market’ for handmade products, and the ‘Portobello Road Market’ for antiques.

Best for: Designer products and antique markets.

 

Madrid, Spain

Spain has long been admired for its craftsmanship and ceramic design, as well as for its passion for stylish clothing and jewelry – which is why two Spanish cities have made it onto our list. Despite the inexorable march of chain brands, the country’s capital has managed to retain some wonderful, small family-run businesses. You’ll find them outside the ritzy neighbourhood of ‘Salamanca’ in ‘Calle Preciados’ and ‘Calle Toledo’.

Best for: Unique and designer items.

 

New York City, United States of America

The Big Apple is the ultimate shoppers’ city, and the choices are almost limitless. Spend the morning in the ‘Upper East Side’ at landmark stores like ‘Tiffany’s’ and ‘Bergdorf Goodman’, then in the afternoon head downtown to ‘Century 21’ for designer merchandise at low prices.

Best for: Luxury items and designer brands.

 

Paris, France

Paris is the headquarters for some of the most venerated designers in the world, including Chanel, Hermès and Louis Vuitton. But the city is not all about ultra expensive couture. Check out the 5th and 3rd arrondissements for a more hip choice of clothes and jewellery.

Best for: Designer brands

 

Rome, Italy

The ‘Dolce Vita’ or the ‘sweet life’ is what Rome is all about, and that most certainly includes shopping. Romans are rightly proud of their high quality leather shoes, gloves and belts. Check out ‘Piazza di Spagna’ for up-market goods.

Best for: High quality leather products

 

San Francisco, United States of America

San Francisco is the ultimate hipster city, with the old 1960s vibe of Haight-Ashbury now blending with the low-key, grungy-yet-still-designer look fostered by young techies drawn to the area by its proximity to Silicon Valley.

Best for: Alternative styles.

 

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul contains just the right mix of old markets and new boutiques. Expect to find interesting tailors and leather stores, as well as specialist shops dealing in Korean art and calligraphy.

Best for: Bargain shopping.

 

Shanghai, Republic of China

Asia’s version of New York, Shanghai is another city that never seems to sleeps. It has a dazzling variety of shopping options including ‘Shanghai Tang’, specialising in glamorous Asian-style silk clothing.

Best for: Luxury clothing and products.

 

Singapore City, Singapore

Whether you’re looking for international brands or some uniquely Singaporean products, this clean, safe city has it all. The Bugis Street markets are an excellent place to find a variety of products, from clothing and electronics to toys and accessories.

Best for: Designer brands

 

Sydney, Australia

Shopping in Sydney is like a breath of fresh air. The clothing stores are geared towards a stylish but unpretentious outdoor ‘beachy’ lifestyle, and you’ll also find some interesting Aboriginal artifacts. Additionally, you’re likely to find some stunning opal and pink diamond jewellery pieces.

Best for: DStylish but casual attire.

 

Tokyo, Japan

While there are plenty of global brands on offer, the great thing about shopping in Tokyo is the wild, wacky, and sometimes outright weird products you can find in its stores, from quirky clothes to outrageous shoes.

Best for: Unique styles.

Top 20 Shopping Streets

Abdi Ipekçi Street, Istanbul

Istanbul might be best known for its ‘Grand Bazaar’ full of carpets and trinkets, but there’s another more stylish side to this increasingly prosperous Turkish mega-city. And nowhere embodies this more than Abdi Ipekçi Street, home to chic brands such as Stella McCartney and Michael Kors.

Best for: Luxury and designer wear.

 

Avenue de la Liberté, Luxembourg

This wide avenue may have several lanes of traffic running in both directions, but shoppers love its old world grandeur. Expect to find all the usual designer stores plus local florists and some wonderful chocolatiers.

Best for: A wide variety of stores and products.

Image courtesy of Paris 16 via Creative Commons

Avenue Montaigne, Paris

There are few more sophisticated places than Avenue Montaigne, home to luxury boutiques that provide excellent service to their well-heeled clientele. It’s also known for its exclusive jewellery shops.

Best for: Luxury designer wear and jewellery stores.

 

Avinguda Diagonal, Barcelona

Dissecting the city of Barcelona, the 5km long Avinguda Diagonal houses world-class fashion stores, jewellers and interesting art galleries. And the stores are all surrounded by the gothic architecture for which the city is famous.

Best for: The variety of shops.

 

Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich

There’s something very old-worldly about shopping in this tree-lined avenue of boutiques and watch shops. Prices can be prohibitive but, as it’s almost completely pedestrianised, it’s the perfect place to window-shop and enjoy the city’s divine Swiss chocolates.

Best for: Luxury items and designer wear.

 

Bond Street, London

Situated in the heart of London’s high class West End, Bond Street is close to iconic English department stores such as Selfridges and Fenwicks. If you want a respite from shopping, just hop on a red double decker bus and make your way the nearby ‘Ritz Hotel’ for one of their delightful high teas.

Best for: High class designer items.

Image courtesy of Cargado por FDV via Creative Commons

Calle de Serrano, Madrid

Situated in one of Madrid’s wealthiest neighborhood (a title for which there is much competition!), Calle de Serrano is in the heart of the city’s Salamanca district. It’s where rich madrileños come to buy their luxury designer goods and high quality porcelain, so don’t be surprised to find limousines parked among the scooters and sedans.

Best for: Luxury items and designer brands.

Fifth Avenue, New York City

Arguably the most famous shopping street in the world, Fifth Avenue is home to landmark department stores such as Saks and Bergdorf Goodman. And if you happen to be there at Christmas or Halloween, you’re in for a treat as their window displays are legendary.

Best for: It’s diverse options.

George Street, Sydney

Besides welcoming local stores and funky boutiques, there are many interesting little shops at the southern end of George Street. Situated near the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, these stores sell everything from contemporary art to necklaces made from polished wood.

Best for: Original and quirky items.

 

Ginza, Tokyo

Ginza is the place to see the wonderful and wacky side of Japanese fashion, and it’s not so much a street but rather is more like a small district. Upmarket department stores like Mitsukoshi and Wako sit side by side with some of the most outrageous designers you’ll find, making this the best place for variety.

Best for: Unique and unusual items.

Image courtesy of Tupungato via Creative Commons

Laugavegur, Reykjavik

It may not be the biggest shopping area in the world, but downtown Reykjavik is still an alluring destination. Apart from exclusive stores offering global brands, you’ll find beautiful local handmade knitwear and leather goods.

Best for: Quality products.

 

Magnificent Mile, Chicago

Just a few blocks from Lake Michigan, the ‘Mag Mile’ has all the top international brands you’d expect, as well as Bigsby & Kruthers, a celebrated local men’s clothing store. The Mile attracts huge crowds at weekends, and even bigger ones in the lead up to Christmas.

Best for: The wide variety of shops.

 

Nanjing Road, Shanghai

Nanjing Road is one of the world’s busiest streets. The shopping area is mostly pedestrianised, making it a great place to wander and take in the mix of malls, clothing, and jewellery stores. You’ll also find restaurants selling everything from steamed dumplings to steak and chips.

Best for: The street’s ambience.

 

Nevsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg

Shopping in Nevsky Prospekt will make you feel like an extra in a historical drama as you wander along this street lined with grand, stucco fronted, richly embellished buildings. Besides glitzy designer stores, you’ll find shops selling Russian delicacies and traditional crafts such as matryoshka dolls.

Best for: Original and quirky items.

 

Orchard Road, Singapore City

Nutmeg and fruit trees once grew on either side of Orchard Road, but today it’s shoppers who have the rich pickings, with its twenty-two malls and six department stores. All are spotlessly clean with staff that speak excellent English – this is Singapore after all.

Best for: The quality and quantity of the different stores.

Image courtesy of Massimo Catarinellavia Creative Commons

P.C. Hooftstraat, Amsterdam

This relatively small pedestrianised street, within walking distance of the city’s best museums, makes for a delightful shopping experience. There are stores for top international labels nestled invitingly within the small, cheerful cafes.

Best for: Luxury and designer wear.

 

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

Definitely one for the ‘celebrity hunters’, Rodeo Drive is perhaps the world’s
glitziest shopping district. Traditionally, it’s where actors and actresses get their clothes and bling for Hollywood’s red carpet events.

Best for: Luxury and designer wear, and star spotting.

 

Siam Square, Bangkok

At first glance, Siam Square may seem like an open-air hotchpotch of neon t-shirts and tailor-made suits. But don’t be deceived – the proximity of nearby ‘Chulalongkorn University’ has made Siam Square the haunt of students and media-types, and it’s often where the latest Thai fashion trends emerge.

Best for: Original and quirky items.

 

Stroget, Copenhagen

Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping area, Stroget is home to lots of international luxury clothing stores. It also features a number of Danish stores, such as Illums Bolighus, which offer items of stunning Danish contemporary design.

Best for: Cultural items.

 

Via Montenapoleone, Milan

The most fashionable street in Europe’s fashion capital. All of the country’s top designers have flagship shops here – and many have their headquarters located nearby too.

Best for: Luxury and designer wear.

Top 20 Shopping Department Stores

 

Bergdorf Goodman

A luxury goods department store, Bergdorf Goodman is a subsidiary of industry legend Neiman Marcus. It was first established in 1899, and is based in New York on Fifth Avenue. Some of the brands carried by the store include Jimmy Choo, Prada, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana.

Best for: Luxury and designer items.

 

David Jones

Selling a range of products from clothing to books and homewares, these stores have been streamlined across Australia to present an upscale store with everything you need under one roof. With 39 stores located around the country, David Jones is easily accessible for most Australians.

Best for: Quality products.

 

Debenhams

Founded in the 18th century, Debenhams has evolved over the years to become a well-known European department store. Primarily based in England and Ireland, the brand has changed names many times, and the products they carry has altered and expanded. Currently they carry everything from fashion to furniture.

Best for: Fashion and furniture.

Image courtesy of Eugene Luchinin

 

Detskij Mir

As one of the largest toy department stores in the world, Detskij Mir has earned its translated name of ‘The Children’s World’. Located in Moscow, Russia, this toy store is a must-visit for any families visiting the Russian capital.

Best for: Children’s toys.

 

El Corte Ingles

El Corte Ingles is currently the biggest department store in Europe, and ranks fourth in the world. Not only do they have men’s, women’s and children’s clothings from a number of different brands, but they also sell gourmet food and drinks, homewares, and sporting equipment.

Best for: High quality products.

 

Galeries Lafayette

A Paris institution, Galeries Lafayette houses fashion, jewellery and cosmetics, as well as an amazing food section in its beautiful ‘Belle Époque’ building. Any trip to Paris would be incomplete without stopping by to check out this iconic store.

Best for: High quality, chic products.

 

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

One of the world’s oldest shopping malls, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is located in Milan, Italy. It was built between 1865-1877, and still stands today. Primarily this department store sells haute couture, jewellery, art and books, and there are also a number of cafe’s and restaurants present in this beautifully-designed building.

Best for: High quality designer products.

 

Harrods

An upmarket department store located in Knightsbridge, Harrods was founded in 1834 by Charles Harrod. Today the store is the physically largest department store in Europe, and it’s 330 internal departments offer a wide range of products and services.

Best for: High quality products.

 

Isetan

Isetan is a Japanese department store based in Shinjuku, Tokyo. With branches throughout Japan and neighbouring East Asia, this department store is known for leading the way in new trends and products.

Best for: Men’s fashion and trendsetting.

 

Kmart Australia

A chain of discount department stores, Kmart is a subsidiary of the business giant Coles. Stocking everything from clothes and accessories to homeware, sporting equipment and electronic goods, Kmart is the discount version of stores like David Jones and Myer.

Best for: Discount prices.

La Rinascente

 

One of Florence’s best-known department stores, La Rinascente sells clothing and cosmetics, along with traditional Tuscan goods including terra cotta and olive oils. It has a great roof top café with fantastic views of this enchanting city.

Best for: Quality products.

Image courtesy of Russavia via Creative Commons

Le Bon Marche

This is another department store that has its headquarters in Paris, France. Known for its range of high-end goods, Le Bon Marche is also located next to a renowned gourmet food hall La Grande Epicerie de Paris.

Best for: High-end products.

 

Macy’s

As a part of the Macy’s Inc. corporation along with the more up-scale chain of Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s caters to the mid-range consumer of cost and quality. Known for its popular culture references and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade held in New York City each year, Macy’s has become an American cultural icon.

Best for: Value and culture.

 

Marks & Spencer

A British multinational retailer, Marks & Spencer is known for their clothes, their home products, and their gourmet food products. With nearly 800 stores throughout the UK, they are a household name to many and is colloquially known as ‘Marks and Sparks’.

Best for: Value.

 

Myer

Similar to David Jones, Myer is another mid-range to upmarket department store located primarily in Australia. It is currently most recognised through its celebrity spokesperson, former Miss Universe

Best for: Quality.

 

Nordstrom

Nordstrom, a Seattle-based upscale fashion retailer, offers quality clothing, accessories, handbags, jewelry, cosmetics, and fragrances to their customers. Their latest addition is a collection of children’s clothes designed by Kim Kardashian called, rather unsurprisingly, Kardashian Kids.

Best for: Fashion items.

 

Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue is another upmarket boutique department store along the same lines as Bergdorf Goodman’s. Although in recent years they have undergone a number of changes and quite a few stores closed across America, this chain is still a household name and carries the same quality products as always.

Best for: Designer wear.

 

Selfridges

At some four hectares, this London landmark store is one of the largest in the United Kingdom. It stocks all the leading international designers brands, and also has a wonderful stationery department along with an unmissable food hall.

Best for: Quality products from international designers.

 

Takashimaya

This historic Kyoto shop stocks both Western designer brands alongside traditional Japanese kimonos and accessories. The store prides itself on having staff with excellent English to assist shoppers from overseas, and carries everything from electronics and flatware to designer wedding dresses.

Best for: Fashion.

 

Target

Another discount department store owned by the Coles brand, Target is similar to Kmart Australia in the range and quality of its products. It also has locations around Australia, and is considered slightly more costly than Kmart.

Best for: Value for money.

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