The best neighbourhoods for Christmas shopping in New York City

Now it’s December and Christmas is in sight, where better to do your holiday shopping than NYC! It’s fair to say that New York City is one of the best places in the world to do your Christmas shopping and whether you plan to take a flight to New York and go in December or at some other point in the year you need to know what’s what in each of the different shopping districts. So here’s a brief guide to some of the ultimate shopping locations Manhattan has to offer.

As New York City offers everything from boutiques to markets to department stores there certainly is something to satisfy all shoppers’ cravings and ensure that at the end of each day everyone leaves laden with bags, light of pocket and satisfied that they have found the ultimate gift!

Manhattan Bridge in New York Photo: andrew c mace of Flickr

Manhattan Bridge in New York

Soho, Lower East Side & Little Italy

Here you may feel a little overwhelmed by the mix of different cultures on offer here and there is everything from Italian trattorias to Jewish delicatessens to ensure that your taste buds are firmly satisfied before you begin your days shopping. Packed full of little thrift shops, vintage clothing stores, markets, coffee shops, bookshops and amazingly cheap bars you will get fantastic value for money here when searching for that perfect gift.

Katz's Deli in New York Photo: iambents of Flickr

Katz’s Deli in New York

If you are looking for something truly amazing then be sure to check out the Hester Street Fair on the weekends for local foods, special events and lots of vintage clothing and handbags. There is even an amazing vintage exchange/cocktail bar here in the form of ‘The Dressing Room’.


This is the centre of Manhattan and with any centre generally comes tourists and midtown is no exception. However, do not let this put you off as this is home to some amazing places including Times Square, the Empire State building and the Rockerfeller Centre so there is much to see and do here if you want a break from shopping or fancy seeing some of the amazing sights that New York City has to offer.

If shopping is your main objective then here you will find Macy’s, Sak’s, Tiffany’s and numerous other well known department stores packed full of gifts and it is quite possible to complete all of your Christmas shopping in just one shop but then what is the fun in that?

Macy's in New York Photo: CeeKay's Pix of Flickr

Macy’s in New York

Chelsea & Meatpacking District

This area feels a little more cobbled together with a mixture of small streets, historic landmarks and warehouses all blending well together to give an amazing ambience that cannot be matched anywhere else in the city. There is a totally unique vibe here and you will find art galleries, bars, restaurants, clubs and much more as well as a thriving LGBT community.

Shopping here is best done in the Chelsea Market if you are looking for delightful architecture and fantastic food & there is even a Bloomingdale’s nearby (Upper East Side) for all your ultimate New York purchases.

Chelsea Market in New York Photo: Steel Wool of Flickr

Chelsea Market in New York

Upper East Side

This is probably the wealthiest part of Manhattan and boy does it show. This area feels a little more family orientated with the town houses and older mansions adding a classic New York feel to the area. The ultimate New York City shopping experiences are here in the form of Barney’s and Bloomingdale’s both of which are filled from wall to wall with amazing gifts, treats and much much more! The festive displays here are wonderful and will really help to get you in to the Christmas spirit! Madison Avenue is jam packed full of designer labels and even if you can’t afford these now what harm is a little bit of window shopping?

Upper West Side

Full of wonderful culture the Upper West Side is a place to visit for some more relaxed shopping and escape some of the crowds that can be found in some of the busier tourist areas.

If you are looking to take a break from shopping and soak up some atmosphere then you will find lots of artists here as well as museums and theatres including the Avery Fish Hall, home to the New York Philharmonic. If you are looking for somewhere lovely to walk then you will be satisfied here with West End Avenue and Riverside Drive both being wonderful streets to walk down. The majority of shops here are boutiques and unique shops that you won’t find anywhere else. On Sundays there is a wonderful flea market that will allow you to pick up some real bargains.

Williamsburg, Prospect Park and Clifton Hill

If you are looking to break away from the norm, or if you are a repeat visitor to New York City, then you may well be looking for something a little different or off the beaten track. Well, you can find that here, and so much more. Brooklyn is only 20 minutes on the subway from Manhattan and therefore you can still head off to check out the sights whenever you want to.

Brooklyn Flea Market in New York Photo: sweetjessie of Flickr

Brooklyn Flea Market in New York

Bargains hunters will find lots on offer here with Beacon’s Closet being an amazing place to pick up a vintage bargain. Grand street is home to lots of delightful little boutiques for that truly unique present and Fifth Avenue is packed full of fashion and jewellery to ensure that you are cuts above the rest when you return home. The Brooklyn Flea Market, on Sundays, is great for indie pieces.

Just 20 minutes away, by train, from Manhattan is Prospect Park and Park Slopes which are absolutely delightful areas just waiting to be explored.

Prospect Park in New York Photo: forklift of Flickr

Prospect Park in New York

Wherever you end up in New York City you can be sure of an amazing shopping experience and some amazing accommodation that is incredibly reasonable. There is so much to see and do here once you’re all shopped out and you can find some real amazing bargains so shop wisely, taking your time or shop in one large department store to get it all done, whatever you feel like doing can be yours.

My thanks for this article to Netflights – check out their cheap flights to New York from London Heathrow

Photo credits: Manhattan Bridge by andrew c mace, Katz’s Deli by iambents, Macy’s by CeeKay’s Pix, Chelsea Market by Steel Wool, Brooklyn Flea Market by sweetjessie, and Prospect Park by forklift

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  • Reply
    Jan Ross
    December 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    We just stayed in Nolitan (North of Little Italy)when we were in New York in October and loved that area. A couple blocks to Italian food and a couple the other way to Chinese food – wonderful. We had the best cannoli in a little bakery…wish I had some right now! And all the little, hole-in-the-wall shops were wonderful. Found a beautiful and interesting sweater in one. I’d love to go back and spend lots more time shopping…without my husband…
    Jan Ross´s last blog post ..The Uber-Modern Movenpick Hotel in Amsterdam

  • Reply
    Nomadic Samuel
    December 10, 2011 at 2:45 am

    I love the diversity NYC offers for just about everything. I think I’d enjoy heading to Chelsea 🙂
    Nomadic Samuel´s last blog post ..India Is | Video Competition

  • Reply
    Vegas Hotel Guy
    December 12, 2011 at 6:49 am

    I think the best deals are to be found in Brooklyn, but I don’t remember the exact stores.
    Vegas Hotel Guy´s last blog post ..Things to Do in Las Vegas for Free

  • Reply
    January 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    @ Jan sounds like you had a ball – NYC definitely seems to be a great place for eating and shopping

  • Reply
    Leslie Horning
    February 16, 2013 at 12:37 am

    I love shopping on the Upper West Side. There are so many unique shops and interesting things for sale that you will never see anywhere else. It’s so more laid back too. Too much hustle and bustle elsewhere.

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      February 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

      @Leslie I’m also more into interesting local shops that are unique to the area

  • Reply
    Gracey spurek
    June 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    New York is said to be the best place for shopping during festival seasons especially for christmas. There are many shops from where you can get tasty cakes and fresh christmas trees as well. Thank you for posting this.

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