Domestic goddess and backyard explorer with a passion for freelance writing!
Published July 16th 2014
So, we've all heard how the US is great for shopping, much cheaper, but is it? Well I think the answer is, it depends.
We were in Manhattan for about six days total, and I didn't find it that exceptionally cheap (I'm comparing it to Sydney, Australia of course). I guess that's because like any city, you've got to know the right places to go. We are all used to finding the best bargains in our own cities but often as a visitor that can be quite a challenge.
And that's why it's useful to have some inside knowledge. So this article is based on my own discoveries (mostly accidentally) whilst I was roaming around the streets of Manhattan, but also what I had been recommended by friends who lived around there.
So apparently Manhattan is not that cheap. Not such a big surprise really, but there are fantastic outlet malls you can go to for brand names sold at much less than retail prices. We encountered several of these on our drive from New York to Niagara Falls i.e. upstate, close to Buffalo, and also within Niagara city itself, as well as the same on the Canadian side of Niagara.
Within New York itself, there are outlets malls on Long Island and Woodbury Gardens and Roosevelt Fields, however apparently it's not particularly cheap at the latter, being the same as retail prices elsewhere. Jersey Gardens (20 minute bus ride away) was highly recommended as being a good bargain for brands such as Tommy, Adidas and Timberland. Shopping in Jersey is apparently cheaper as there is no sales tax in the state.
But forget the outlet malls; there are plenty of discount stores to choose from instead such as Century 21, DSW Union Square for shoes. Also if you're lucky, Macy's, H&M, Forever 21 and other stores around midtown Manhattan (which you will see many of), may have good discounts/sales on something you'd like, so keep an eye out. Macy's also offers a good deal for first timers in the store so ask about that too.
Lincoln Centre and Colombus Circle also has a shopping mall - again not particularly cheap. During one of my strolls through the city, corner of 6th Avenue and 47th Streets, I ran into what looked like a diamond hub. Plenty of sparkly shopping fun awaits you here. There are multiple stores to choose from all situated within a block, and within some of the stores, you will find several merchants set up like a bazaar, which was quite a surprising find. I was told they all operate separately to each other. Again, depending on what you're looking for, you could easily spend several hours in here.
There are plenty of fast food chains, Mexican, street vendors, and proper restaurants on practically every street in Manhattan to sustain you nutrition wise so you can continue to shop for days ahead.