The Best Shopping Places in America

According to the 2014 US News and World Report list of Best Shopping Destinations, New York City is at the top of the list. The 8-city list also includes Chicago, San Francisco, LA, Boston, Houston, and is rounded out by Honolulu. The missing element to that list is its fourth best attraction - Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Mall of America. With nearly 500 stores, a plethora of restaurants and an indoor theme park, the Mall of America is for the die-hard shopper. They hold about 400 events every year, where you might have a book signed or hobnob with a celebrity. 

What do you look for in a shopping experience? A big mall where you can get lost for hours? Finding an off-the-beaten-path boutique? Here are a few shopping tips for your next vacation:

1) Determine your criteria. Are you looking for name brands, discounts or a very specific item? Places like New York and other big cities are ideal for name brands and specific items. (Does your little girl need an American Girl doll for Christmas?) Smaller places like Pigeon Forge, TN offer outlet stores for discounted shopping.

2)    Make it a girls’ trip and map out your days. Maybe the Magnificent Mile is just what you need for a little retail therapy.

3) Maybe you need an amazing artifact or showpiece for your house. Pick a destination where you’ve never been and bring home that special something that will always remind you of your trip.

4)    Visit some family or friends and bring them a little taste of your town. Is your town known for a delicious beverage or an unusual dessert? A gift basket or a beautifully wrapped box is sure to delight your hosts. 

5)    Put some money away for that “must-have” item. As soon as you have worked with your travel agent to book your trip, start saving some money for shopping. You don’t have to break the bank to have a great shopping experience. Saving ahead of time makes for a more relaxed trip.

Share some of your favorite shopping hot spots, best kept secret boutiques, and most unique buys.