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New York City Shopping Guide

If you are visiting New York City, you can take advantage of the many shopping opportunities that the city offers. The Big Apple has a wide variety of stores selling merchandise in every price range from expensive jewelry, antiques, exclusive works of art and the latest designer fashions to bargain priced jeans, shoes and t-shirts.

Macy's Department Store © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Macy's, located on Herald square near the Empire State Building is the largest department store in New York.

Avoid the tourist traps!

Avoid the tourist shops around Times Square. They usually sell low quality merchandise at inflated prices. With a bit of knowledge and patience, you can still find some really good bargains in New York City. A serious bargain hunter might even venture on shopping expeditions into the real bargain lands of nearby New Jersey or the Hudson River Valley.

The state of New York requires all stores to charge a 4.375% sales tax on all sales. However the city of New York waives the sales tax of 4% on all purchases of clothing and footwear under $110. The tax is not refundable to out of state visitors or tourists. New Jersey, Pennsylvania and several other states charge no sales tax on clothing or shoes. Several times a year, New York City declares a tax-free week. During that week, no sales tax is charged on items of clothing or shoes that sell for $500 or less.

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New York City Department Stores

The big department stores in New York City are reliable places to buy good quality, brand-named merchandise at fair prices. These stores usually sell a variety of men, women and children's clothing, including designer labeled items. They also sell cosmetics, small appliances, electronics, household goods and various sundries. Department stores usually hold end-of-season clearance sales with significant price reductions on seasonal items. Here is a list of major department stores located in New York City.

Macy's, located on Herald square near the Empire State Building is the largest department store in New York. www.macys.com. Bloomingdales, located at 1000 Third Ave. at 59th Street is nearly as large. www.bloomingdales.com.

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Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Ave. at 58th Street and Lord and Taylor, 424 Fifth Ave. at 38th Street, carry moderate to upscale merchandise. Filenes, 79th and Broadway Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave. at 49th Street, is known for designer clothing and upscale merchandise. Century 21, located at 22 Courtland near the World Trade Centers, is known for bargain priced merchandise. www.century21deptstores.com.

Shopping Malls in Manhattan

Shopping malls are usually located in the suburbs outside of urban centers, but here are a few malls located on Manhattan Island: South Street Seaport is located on a pier in the East River at Fulton Street downtown. It has 120 shops with a variety of merchandise. www.southstreetseaport.com. Manhattan Mall is right across from Macy's near the Empire State Building at 6th Ave. and 33rd Street. Trump Towers are at 725 Fifth Ave. at 56th Street. This is very upscale with exclusive shops.

South Street Seaport Shopping Mall © Southstreetseaport.com
South Street Seaport is located on a pier in the East River at Fulton Street downtown.

Shopping Districts in Manhattan

The Garment District is located between Sixth and Eighth Avenues from 34th to 40th Street. One Third of all clothing manufactured in the USA is designed and produced in this neighborhood. Many of the clothing manufactures maintain outlet stores open to the public.

Greenwich Village is filled with boutiques featuring trendy clothing. Next door in Soho, the taste runs to avant-garde while in nearby Lower-Broadway bargain priced jeans and t-shirts are the feature. The Lower East Side is known for bargain shopping while Chelsea and Tribeca on the west side are more up scale. Mid Town along Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, where most of the major retailers and department stores are located, is generally up scale.

Outlet Malls and Factory Discount Stores

If you want to find some serious bargains, you will have to venture outside of Manhattan. Here are a few nearby outlet malls that offer bargain prices on brand name merchandise all seasons of the year. Designer Outlet Gallery, Harmon Cove Outlet Center and Outlets at the Cove are all located near Secaucus, New Jersey across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Just go through the Lincoln Tunnels and follow Route 3 a few miles to the Meadowlands exit. There are about 100 factory outlets in those malls with no New York sales taxes, but you need a car to visit them all. Bellport Outlet Centers I and II are both located in Bellport, Long Island. Tanger Factory Outlet Center is located nearby in Riverhead, Long Island. This is about 50 miles from Manhattan near the far end of Long Island. Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets is located about an hour north of Manhattan near Harriman, New York. Just follow the New York Thruway north to exit 16.

Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Photo Description: Macy's Department Store in New York