Stylist to the stars, Erin Walsh, shares her top recommendations for exploring New York City’s vibrant shopping scene.
New York City is renowned for its iconic shopping scene, attracting visitors from around the world. From luxury flagships to historic department stores and trendy indie boutiques, the city offers a diverse range of shopping experiences. However, many tourists stick to the well-known chain stores on 5th Avenue, missing out on the hidden gems that make New York City’s shopping scene truly special. Stylist to the stars, Erin Walsh, shares her insider tips for exploring the city’s fashion districts and uncovering unique shopping experiences.
Best for women’s fashion: SoHo between West Broadway and Broadway
Walsh recommends exploring the historic blocks of SoHo, particularly the area between West Broadway and Broadway, for women’s fashion. SoHo is known for its tony boutiques and offers a wide range of options, including luxury brand stores like The Webster, Kate Spade, and Chloé. Walsh also suggests exploring the streets to discover hidden indie boutiques like Kirna Zabête, which offers curated selections from both established and emerging designers. While in SoHo, she recommends visiting special places like La Mercerie, a unique concept that combines a restaurant, showroom, and retail space.
Best for men’s shopping: The Bowery
For men’s shopping, Walsh heads to the Bowery neighborhood in downtown Manhattan. She describes the area as “woodsy” and “underrated,” with a selection of shops near The Bowery Hotel. These include John Derien, an upscale home decor store that Walsh considers her go-to for solving Christmas gift dilemmas. She also recommends Dashwood Books, a beloved bookstore, and the collection of little shops that make the area special.
Best for traditional holiday shopping: Midtown
During the winter holidays, New York City’s shopping scene becomes even more magical. While locals tend to avoid the tourist-filled streets of Midtown, Walsh believes it’s worth braving the crowds for a truly special experience. She suggests visiting iconic locations like Rockefeller Center, where the massive Christmas tree stands, and the high-end department stores on 5th Avenue, such as Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, known for their legendary holiday window displays.
Best for home interiors: Tribeca, the West Village
As passionate about interiors as she is about fashion, Walsh recommends exploring Tribeca and the West Village for beautifully designed homewares and surprise gifts. She believes that the spaces we surround ourselves with impact how we feel and suggests layering textures and materials in New York City’s small living spaces. Walsh enjoys browsing sophisticated shops in Tribeca and discovering unique pieces in the skewed streets of the historic West Village.
Best for kids: SoHo, between Thompson and West Broadway
When shopping for children, Walsh returns to SoHo but narrows her focus to a two-block stretch on SoHo’s westernmost edge. She recommends Bonpoint on West Broadway as the go-to store for children’s fashion. Walsh also loves Makie on Thompson Street, which offers beautiful kids’ clothes with a Japanese and Scandinavian influence. To end the shopping trip on a sweet note, she suggests stopping by Ladurée for their signature macarons.
Best for quiet luxury: the Upper East Side, around The Mark Hotel
For a luxurious shopping experience, Walsh suggests exploring the Upper East Side, specifically the stretch of Madison Avenue surrounding The Mark Hotel. Before diving into the boutiques, she recommends visiting Georgia Louise Atelier for a facial and beauty haul. The area offers a selection of luxury shops, including Sidney Garber jewelry, Ralph Lauren, and La Ligne clothing boutique. Walsh also suggests visiting the Gagosian art gallery and ending the day with a drink at The Mark.
Best for making a whole day of it: SoHo, between Lafayette and Crosby Streets
Walsh recommends another pocket of SoHo that offers enough businesses to fill an entire day. She suggests exploring the corner of Crosby and Howard Streets, which is home to great furniture and jewelry shops. Visitors can also get their nails done at Paintbox nail salon and find unique presents at Saturdays NYC. Walsh enjoys visiting Prada and Dinosaur Designs for handbags and jewelry, and then exploring smaller boutiques in the area. She recommends visiting Santa Maria Novella for fragrances and McNally Jackson indie bookshop on Lafayette Street. The day can be capped off with a refreshing Campari spritz at Sant Ambroeus bar.
Best new kid on the block: Dover Street Market (Flatiron/Madison Square Park)
While Walsh loves shopping in classic downtown neighborhoods, she also keeps an eye on up-and-coming areas like the Flatiron district’s Dover Street Market. The Flatiron District has seen significant growth in recent years, offering a diverse selection of shops, coffee shops, and restaurants. Walsh suggests taking a break at one of the area’s many cocktail bars or hotels, like Ace, to fully enjoy the experience.
New York City’s shopping scene is a vibrant mix of luxury flagships, historic department stores, and trendy boutiques. By venturing beyond the well-known shopping areas, visitors can discover hidden gems and create unique shopping experiences. Stylist Erin Walsh’s insider guide provides a roadmap for exploring the city’s fashion districts, from SoHo to the Upper East Side, and offers a glimpse into the diverse and ever-evolving world of New York City’s shopping scene.