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The 25 Best Cities for Shopping

Now, here's a surprise: At Lucky, we love to shop. And we love unearthing the coolest, most unique spots in the country to do just that. So it was only a matter of time before we created a definitive guide to the Best Cities for Shopping.

To figure out which cities really are the best, we factored in several variables. First, to determine which places have the lowest number of empty stores (i.e., low vacancy rates), we culled data from real estate research firms, including REIS, CoStar and the National Association of Realtors. We then looked to Yelp.com to see where in the U.S. people were talking—a lot—about shopping. We also considered the sheer number of women’s clothing stores and department stores, from discount warehouses like Costco to fancy spots like Saks. Finally, we thought about the little things: Are the stores in these cities where we, as Lucky editors, want to shop? How easy is it to get around from store to store? And do these towns offer the right mix of boutiques, fast fashion and more traditional retailers?

We might have crunched some numbers, but more than anything, this list is totally editorial. (Meaning, subjective.) We love these cities and think that if you live nearby one of them, you should spend Saturday exploring the shopping scene.

What do you think? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.

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#25: Indianapolis

Why We Love It:  Indianapolis doesn't have the sprawling malls and zillions of boutiques that most major urban areas do. Browsing Circle Centre's big name stores—or independent boutiques in Broad Ripple—is a more relaxed affair.

Places to Try: Sage, N. Rue & Co. (for boutique-style shopping of contemporary labels like Yoana Baraschi and Splendid); Redemption (for locally-designed, independent labels); Circle Centre (for Banana Republic, Victoria's Secret and familiar names).

Visions of America/Joe Storm

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#24: Minneapolis

Why We Love It: The city's small size makes navigating it manageable, while designer re-sale pieces (like Chanel boots) go for a fraction of what they would in a bigger metropolis.

Places To Try: Grethen House (for Maison Martin Margiela and Theyskens' Theory); June (for tons of Chanel and Marc Jacobs re-sale).

For more Minneapolis shopping info, click here.

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#23: Charlotte

Why We Love It: The shopping hub of North Carolina lures well-dressed women from across the state, promising a selection of hard-to-find, grittier labels (Rick Owens, Alexander Wang) in addition to malls, discount stores and the usual fare.

Places to Try: Black and Blue (for any kind of denim, ever); Capitol (for Altuzarra, Derek Lam and Chris Benz); SouthPark and Northlake malls.

Jumper

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#22: Baltimore

Why We Love It: While Washington, DC draws more shoppers' attention, nearby Baltimore offers the same sort of goods in less heavily trafficked and pillaged stores.

Places to Try: Little boutiques like Cupcake, Urban Chic and Babe; Harborplace Mall for 160 shops in a scenic location.

Greg Pease

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#21: Kansas City

Why We Love It: With an easy to grasp grid system and tons of outdoor parks, this Midwestern city's a very pleasant place to shop.

Places to Try: The Bunker (for an alternative to Urban Outfitters); Lovebird (for vintage jewelry and accessories); Country Club Plaza for outdoor, upscale shopping; small boutiques like Standard Style and Posh.

John Coletti

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#20: Nashville

Why We Love It: Beyond gallon hats and cowboy boots, Nashville offers serious discounts on designer goods, as well as an emerging fashion scene.

Places to Try: UAL (for deep discounts on designer goods like Stella McCartney and Gucci); H. Audrey (for contemporary labels like Rag & Bone and Helmut Lang); Local Honey (for offerings by local designers who are mostly under-30, female and self-taught).

For even more Nashville shopping info, click here.

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#19: New Orleans

Why We Love It: With its eccentric, one-off shops (milliners, lace-makers, kitschy antiques) New Orleans is a grab bag of charming stores you won't find elsewhere.

Places to Try: Hemline (for contemporary brands); Swap (for upscale consignment); Riverwalk (for brand-name shopping in a pretty spot).

For even more New Orleans shopping info, click here.

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#18: Orlando

Why We Love It: It has AMAZING outlets.

Places to Try: Orlando Premium Outlets; boutiques like Thread and Sultre.

 

Walter Bibikow

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#17: Denver

Why We Love It: For a city known for its athletic side, Denver has a surprising amount of fashion-forward offerings that don't repel water, wick sweat or reflect car headlights.

Places To Try: The Uncommon Thread (for an extensive selection of denim and t-shirts); Cherry Creek Shopping Center (for high-end shopping, centralized); Dragonfly (for easy, versatile pieces from Ella Moss and Velvet).

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#16: Dallas

Why We Love It: As the birthplace of the country's first mall and first Neiman Marcus, Dallas has the high-end and big box shopping market covered. But it's also got its fair share of charming boutiques— and weather that makes it nice to shop outside year round.

Places to Try: Archive Vintage (to pillage the same stash of Chanel jackets and Prada shoes that Jane Aldrige does); FortyFiveTen (for Victoria Beckham dresses and high-end housewares); V.O.D (for Isabel Marant and Zero + Maria Conejo).

For more Dallas shopping info, click here.

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#15: Houston

Why We Love It: With more malls than we can count (okay, almost), Houston has mass market shopping in spades. But it's also got specialty stores that tightly focus on one thing, and do it very very well— wedding dresses, cowboy boots, whatever that may be.

Places to Try: 310 Rosemont (for Joie tops and Timo Weiland party dresses), the Glossy Apple (for luxe lingerie); the Galleria (to shop 320 stores in one place); Katy Mills (for outlet shopping).

For even more Houston shopping info, click here.

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#14: Philadelphia

Why We Love It: Most malls and shopping centers are a highway's drive away, making the city itself a haven for pockets of small boutique shopping. Also, there's no sales tax on clothing.

Places to Try: Joan Shepp (for avant garde lines like Rick Owens, Balenciaga); Arcadia (for Swedish Hasbeens clogs and James Jeans); Knitwit (for Equipment bloues and 3.1 Phillip Lim separates); Kimberly Boutique (for casual Susana Monaco Dresses and Twelfth St by Cynthia Vincent sandals).

For even more Philadelphia shopping info, click here.

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#13: Boston

Why We Love It: The boutiques on Newbury Street are as charming as the city's cobblestone blocks.

Places to Try: Dress (for daytime-y options like printed Tucker blouses and Vanesa Bruno dresses); Mint Julep (for sweet, party pieces like Alice + Olivia and Tibi).

For even more Boston shopping info, click here.

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#12: Austin

Why We Love It: With most of the shopping centered around either Downtown or South Congress Ave, it's easy to walk around and shop (and grab a cupcake or taco from one of the food stands on the way).

Places to Try: Feathers (for an impressive vintage selection); Kickpleat (for cool girl lines including Rachel Comey and Lizzie Fortunato Jewels), Eliza Page (for jewelry from both big names like Gorjana, and smaller, local designers).

For even more Austin shopping info, click here.

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#11: Washington, DC

Why We Love It: Because DC has a fashion-forward element that goes way beyond power suits and sensible heels.

Places to Try: Hu's Shoes (for Repetto flats); Circle Boutique (for hard-to-find lines like Lover); Muleh (from the outside it looks like it sells furniture, but it also offers select pieces from lines such as 3.1 Phillip Lim).

For more Washington DC shopping info, click here.

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#10: Las Vegas

Why We Love It: As if anticipating tourists with deep pockets, Las Vegas has no shortage of shopping options. And with so many centered around the city's main drag, the Strip, it's easy to pop in from place to place.

Places to Try: Any of the shopping malls housed within hotels (Caesars, the Venetian, etc) for a break from gambling; Bettie Page (for '50s style dress and corsets).

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#9: Phoenix

Why We Love It: It's flat, which means no walking hills while shopping.

Places to Try: Made (for locally designed goods and gifts); boutiques like Bunky, Frances and Electric Couture (which stocks McQ by Alexander McQueen and Erickson Beamon).

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#8: Seattle

Why We Love It: Much of shopping scene echos the music that revitalized the city in the '90s: grunge, subversive, very, very cool.

Places to Try: Blackbird (for Cutler and Gross sunglasses and Diptyque candles); Alhambra (for beautiful pieces with a dramatic yet delicate Moorish vibe); A Mano (for goods that emphasize old world craftsmanship).

For even more Seattle shopping info, click here.

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#7: Portland

Why We Love It: For the heritage, Americana vibe that pervades its style (think Pendleton blankets, plaids and rain jackets).

Places to Try: Fat Fancy (for plus size offerings that don't compromise style); The English Dept (for cocktail dresses); Idom Designs (for offerings from a former designer for Peter Som and Donna Karan).

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#6: Atlanta

Why We Love It: It's sunny, warm and not intimidatingly large.

Places to Try: The Blue Corset Co. (for high-end lingerie); The Clothing Warehouse (for vintage Levi's and cowboy boots); Dress Codes (for simple basics).

For more Atanta shopping info, click here.

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#5: Chicago

Why We Love It: Because it's basically the best shopping between New York and Los Angeles.

Places to Try: Ikram (for the highest of the high end, like Prabal Gurun and Proenza Schouler); P45 (for MiH jeans and Eugenia Kim hats); Penelope's (for Dolce Vita and A.L.C.)

For more Chicago shopping info, click here.

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#4: Miami

Why We Love It: Miami's a playful city that's very serious about fashion.

Places to Try: Alchemist (for high-end labels like Givenchy and Rick Owens); Fy (for vintage); Rebel (for the best of both the boutique and consigment worlds, all in one shop).

For more Miami shopping info, click here.

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#3: San Francisco

Why We Love It: Like its townhouses and trolleys, San Francisco's shopping scene is full of personality and offbeat appeal.

Places to Try: Bell Jar (for beautiful clothing in a dark, Gothic setting); Candy Store Collective (for dresses by lines like Built by Wendy, and, yes, candy); any of the shopping in Union Square.

For more San Francisco shopping info, click here.

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#2: Los Angeles

Why We Love It: With ultra-fancy Rodeo Drive and sunny, surf culture boutiques, too, Los Angeles' stores run the style gamut and offer something for everyone.

Places to Try: Satine (an ultra-popular boutique that stocks Alexander Wang); Decades (for vintage) Zimmerman (for bright prints, bathing suits, maxi dresses and other L.A.-ready pieces); Creatures of Comfort (for gallery girl favorites); Jill Roberts (for luxe basics and jeans); Fred Segal (for home goods, beauty, clothing and accessories all in one place).

For more Los Angeles shopping info, click here.

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#1: New York City

Why We Love It: Because it has mega-flagships, department stores and adorable boutiques all stacked on a tiny island that's incredibly easily to navigate.

Places to Try: Opening Ceremony (an L.A. and NYC cult favorite boutique); Barneys (for home goods, clothing and food all in one spot); and pretty much everywhere else.

For more New York City shopping, click here.

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