The holidays are a time to spend time with family and friends, partake in fun winter festivities, and – of course – shop till you drop. Retailers are gearing up for the holiday season and travelers, though more budget-conscious than in years past due to the weak economy, are ready to dole out green on everything from clothing to electronics. Stores such as Macy’s are expected to see an uptick in consumer spending for Black Friday and Cyber Monday compared with 2008, thanks largely to a slowly rebounding economy and major discounts shoppers look to avail themselves of. Read on for a roundup of holiday shopping hot spots in major cities.
Shop in the Big Apple
With shops along its famed Madison and Fifth Avenues drawing travelers to the Big Apple year-round, New York City has become a true shopping mecca. Many of the world’s most upscale boutiques, from Gucci and Coach to Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, are conveniently located on Madison Avenue. World-famous Fifth Avenue is lined with luxury stores including Louis Vuitton, Prada and Tiffany & Co. If you’re a price-conscious shopper, you can opt for New York department stores like Macy’s 10-floored flagship store in Herald Square. A wide range of budget-friendly hotels lie near Fifth Avenue including The Gershwin Hotel, Wellington Hotel, Millennium Broadway Hotel and Murray Hill East Hotel. Offering something to fit every taste and budget, it’s no wonder travelers far and wide come to New York City to get their shop on.
Holiday Bargains by the Bay
With high-end boutiques like Dior, Giorgio Armani and De Beers, as well as department stores including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s, San Francisco’s Union Square is a popular shopping destination for business and leisure travelers alike. The Westfield San Francisco Centre, just two blocks from Union Square along Market Street, boasts more than 170 boutiques such as Herve Leger and Hugo Boss. What’s more, great accommodation abounds, and you won’t have to go far to find it. Elegant Hotel Abri and avant-garde Hotel Diva are set in the very heart of Union Square. The Kensington Park Hotel and Hotel Nikko are also a short stroll away, which means you’ll be plopping into bed in no time after a long day scouring the aisles for gifts and waiting in checkout lines.
Winter Deals in the Windy City
In National Geographic’s 2006 edition of “The 10 Best of Everything – An Ultimate Guide for Travelers,” the Magnificent Mile, which boasts more than 460 stores, was named one of the Ten Best Shopping Avenues in the world. (Granted, it was in good company, as Fifth Avenue and Rodeo Drive – both highlighted in this entry – made the cut.) From fine boutiques such as Cartier and Lacoste to department stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, the Mile continues to draw millions of avid shoppers annually. Travelers can stay at Inn of Chicago or the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, both of which lie directly on the Magnificent Mile. The Ambassador East Hotel, a National Historic Landmark, is just a short walk away from the shopping hot spot, as is eco-friendly Hotel Felix.
Gift Buying in Beantown
They call Boston’s Newbury Street in Back Bay the “Rodeo Drive of the East” for a reason. It encompasses eight blocks chock full of salons, restaurants and shops specializing in everything from men’s fashion to sports apparel. Want to shop till you drop at the mall? You can pick from popular locales including Copley Place, Atrium Mall and Emerald Square Mall. Travelers can call it a night at the newly renovated Copley Square Hotel, size up The Colonnade Hotel’s sleek design, or soak up The Lenox Hotel’s old warm charm. No matter your age, Boston has something for the shopaholic in all of us.
Holiday Fever in Hollywood
The city of Los Angeles is heralded as nothing short of a shopping capital. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills features scores of popular shops and boutiques including Chanel, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and BVLGARI. Nearby properties include Hotel Beverly Terrace, the Mosaic Hotel, Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive and The Tower Beverly Hills. Travelers making their way down Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade will find stores like Apple and Armani Exchange, as well as a farmers’ market and movie theater complex. Of course, there’s Hollywood’s world-famous Sunset Strip, lined with a host of restaurants and boutiques. The Le Montrose Suite Hotel and four-story, European-style Le Petit are just minutes away on foot.
With so many places to see and things to do, the holiday season can easily become hectic for shoppers, and a frail economy makes things even more challenging. While many shoppers still plan to frequent their favorite upscale venues, the budget-minded will turn to what becomes the national pastime this time of year – bargain-hunting.