Destination Guides Style & Fashion

New York City’s Best Luxury Shopping Neighborhoods

New York during Fashion Week is surely one of the most exciting places in the world to embark on a designer shopping spree, and these are the neighborhoods to visit if you’re in the city during its most stylish season

There are lots of everyday activities that are simply better in capital cities like New York. Dining, nightlife, live entertainment, and, of course, shopping. For the trend-setting boutiques of the Meatpacking District to the luxury emporiums of Fifth Avenue, there is arguably no better city to shop than New York.

Meatpacking District
Many of Fashion Week’s biggest shows and parties are held in the Meatpacking District, so it’s natural to start here with its charming cobblestone streets flanked by art galleries. Gone are the meatpacking houses that earned the neighborhood its name and in their place are flagship stores belonging to major designers, including Stella McCartney and Yigal Azrouël. High-end labels like Chanel, Delpozo, Alexander Wang, and Kenzo can be found under one roof at the exclusive Jeffrey New York on West 14th Street.

Barneys New York shopping luxury department store facade
The Barneys department store has its flagship on Madison Avenue. Image: Alamy. Banner image: Westfield World Trade Center by architect Santiago Calatrava. Photo: Shutterstock

For a glimpse of Diane von Furstenberg at work, step into her DVF store on 14th Street—the designer’s headquarters are located upstairs—where the brightly colored dresses and accessories she’s famous for are displayed as artfully as they’re designed. For design books worthy of the most elegant coffee table, one-of-a-kind gifts, and home accessories, the shop at the Whitney Museum of American Art is a must—as is a quick bite at Untitled, the stylish restaurant by Danny Meyer that’s tucked inside the museum on the first floor.

With a vibe that resembles a private members’ club more than a retail space, Stephen F, the high-end Swedish label for men, also calls the Meatpacking District home. Ask for the VIP treatment on the cellar level.

The striking Winter Garden Atrium of Brookfield Place shopping center, which overlooks North Cove Marina, New York City. Photo: Alamy

Lower Manhattan and the Financial District
Once a haven for conservative fashion labels catering to Wall Street’s elite, this has become one of New York’s most dynamic neighborhoods to shop. That’s in huge part thanks to the development of two massive shopping malls. For discerning tastes, Brookfield Place is home to  Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Salvatore Ferragamo.

Just a few blocks over is Westfield World Trade Center, where label-loving fashionistas flock to stores such as Mont Blanc, Roberto Coin, Smythson, Longines, and London Jewelers inside the architectural marvel known as the Oculus. Designed by modern-day master Santiago Calatrava, the architecture of the Oculus alone is a sight to behold, and luxury hoteliers such as the Four Seasons and the Beekman Hotel have chosen to open nearby.

The stunning Oculus building, by architect Santiago Calatrava, houses the Westfield World Trade Center with its many luxury stores. Photo: Alamy

Just a bit further east the Seaport area is also enjoying a renaissance. “10 Corso Como is the latest chic shopping mall for this waterside complex, and it’s curated by Carla Sozzani, a former editor of Italian Vogue magazine,” says Victoria Sanchez-Lincoln, a New York-based fashion editor and stylist. “Many media and publishing companies (Condé Nast, Meredith, Amex, and American Media) have moved to this area, and all those high-powered fashion editors have to shop somewhere!”

10 Corso Como
10 Corso Como in the newly fashionable Seaport neigborhood offers a thrilling luxury shopping experience. Photo: Clemens Kois

Hudson Yards
“This is the next up-and-coming shopping and dining destination in New York,” says Sanchez-Lincoln. Tucked away on the west side of the city, this will be New York’s hottest and newest luxury dining and shopping destination when retailers begin opening their doors in March 2019. It will include the first Neiman Marcus in New York City as well as luxury retailers such as Patek Philippe, Piaget, Stuart Weitzman, and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Hudson Yards is the next up-and-coming shopping and dining destination in New York

A seven-story retail building simply known as the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards will be the hub of this new neighborhood and will feature a restaurant collection curated by renowned chef Thomas Keller. It’s been reported that Keller (Per Se) is committed to showcasing dining options from some of the world’s greatest chefs, including José Andrés (minibar, Washington, DC), David Chang (Momofuku), and Michael Lomonaco (Porter House Bar and Grill). “I don’t know what I’m more excited about, the shopping or the dining!” says Lincoln- Sanchez.

An exciting new shopping and dining destination with a restaurant selection curated by chef Thomas Keller will open at Hudson Yards, New York in 2019. Photo: Getty Images

Upper East Side
As exciting as the newer, younger neighborhoods are, there’s something magnetic about the timeless, classic neighborhood known as the Upper East Side. For years this has been home to the city’s most lavish retailers, and today that’s very much still the case. Stroll along Madison Avenue between the 1950s and ‘60s blocks and you’ll discover a bevy of renowned retailers, many housed in spaces as exquisite as the collections displayed inside. Step inside the five-story townhouse that houses Tory Burch’s flagship enterprise, or take your time admiring the details at Ralph Lauren, which is tucked into a stunning revamped mansion.

There’s something magnetic about the timeless, classic neighborhood known as the Upper East Side

The Upper East Side is also where you’ll find Alexander McQueen, Fendi, and French crystalier Lalique. And while this luxurious strip is home to designer boutiques you won’t find elsewhere in New York (Lanvin, Tod’s, and Fred Leighton, to name a few), it’s also home to classic department stores such as Barneys and Bloomingdale’s.

Prada flagship SoHo
The flagship Prada store, designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, opened on Broadway and Prince Street in SoHo in 2001. Photo: Getty Images

Once a mecca for art galleries, SoHo (short for South of Houston Street) is home to the downtown branch of Bloomingdale’s, the Prada flagship store designed by “starchitect” Rem Koolhaas, as well as smaller boutique-style brands such as Olive & Bette’s. It’s also a neighborhood that’s full of surprises. Case in point: the rock’n’ roll inspired menswear designs at John Varvatos. The former home of the iconic club CBGB, the store hosts live music concerts as part of its Bowery Live series.

Walk along Broadway, the main strip, as well as the cobblestone streets that intersect it, and you’ll find several cult fashion brands have also set up shop in the neighborhood in recent years, including Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, and Phillip Lim. For custom millinery, The Hat Shop is number one. “Some of my favorite cafes in the city are also in this neighborhood,” says Sanchez-Lincoln. “La Mercerie Café inside the exquisite home store Roman and Williams Guild never disappoints, and the ambience is as delicious to take in as the food.”

While shopping in SoHo, take a break at Roman and Williams Guild, where you can pick up artisan ceramics and luxury homewares and fill up on the excellent everyday French cuisine at La Mercerie Café.

Fifth Avenue in Midtown
Even with the tourist crowds, the shops along Madison and Fifth Avenues are some of the world’s finest. The Bergdorf Goodman department store is here, as well as design houses such as Emilio Pucci, Escada, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Versace, Chanel, and more. Made famous by a string of movies (who can forget the magical marriage proposal in Sweet Home Alabama, or Audrey Hepburn standing gracefully outside the eponymous store in Breakfast at Tiffany’s?) Tiffany & Co. isn’t the only iconic jeweler on Fifth Avenue; Harry Winston and Bvlgari are also found here.

Bergdorf Goodman New York
The Bergdorf Goodman store at 754 Fifth Avenue has been a fashion fixture in New York City since 1901. Photo: Alamy

Complete a shopping visit to this area with a stop at the Museum of Modern Art, taking in the magnificent city views at the three-tiered observation deck at Top of the Rock. In winter, watch skaters glide across the famous ice rink outside Rockefeller Center. A quick detour west on 57th Street leads you to the only Nordstrom in the city exclusively stocking men’s clothing.

Wherever you are in New York, great shopping is, quite literally, around the corner.