Best gift shops: Harlem

Find out where to shop for gifts in this uptown Manhattan neighborhood.

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Target

Target Photograph: Jamie Bixby

Critics' picks

Swing Concept Shop

  • Price band: 4/4

Don’t let the racks of pricey Rick Owens and Ann Demeulemeester threads fool you: Swing doesn’t cater just to those with large bank accounts. Prepare to drop anywhere from $6 for a statue of Hindu deity Ganesh to $2,000 for antique furniture imported from London; you can hit mid-range price points, too, with Sphatika bath and body products, and ready-to-wear clothing and home decor from all corners of the world. This inviting boutique is designed to feel like the fictional home of owner and world traveler Helena Greene—which will become even more apparent when you sit down in the communal area to enjoy a complimentary cup of French tea.

  1. 1960 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (Seventh Ave) , (at 118th St)
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RECOMMENDED: 100 best gift shops in New York

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Target

  • Price band: 1/4

Getting your cheap one-stop-shopping fix is going to be even easier at Manhattan's first Target store, located within Harlem’s East River Plaza mall. To celebrate its grand opening, the megastore collaborated with a dream team of Harlem designers, tapping Isabel and Ruben Toledo to design swimsuits and towels ($18–$35), Stephen Burrows to create women’s clothing inspired by Harlem street style ($20–$35), and chef Marcus Samuelsson (owner of Red Rooster) for a line of kitchen wares and aprons ($4–$20). In addition to the usual big-box sections (fresh groceries, household products, electronics), you’ll find home decor specifically made for apartment living, like Itso storage cubes ($11) and fabric bins ($9).

  1. 517 E 116th St, at FDR Dr
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Nicholas

  • Price band: 2/4

Hardly your run-of-the-mill Bob Marley–T-shirt shop, this spacious and well-organized reggae store distinguishes itself by stocking everything you need to live the true Rasta-monsta lifestyle. Find sterling silver jewelry ($15–$190), books on Rastafarianism and holistic health, flavored rolling paper, and stylish bohemian wares and accessories (like trendy military shirt-dresses and straw fedoras, $15–$45), all catering to those who pledge allegiance to the red, gold and green.

  1. 2035 Fifth Ave , between 125th and 126th Sts
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Hue-Man Bookstore

Focusing on African-American narratives and authors, this veritable Harlem landmark is by far the largest and most famous indie bookstore in the country. Brimming with more than 24,000 nonfiction and fiction titles, Hue-Man is perfect for bibliophiles looking to spend a few hours perusing the latest best-sellers while enjoying a cup of coffee at the bookstore’s Café One. At 4,500 square feet, this cavernous space is meticulously organized by specific categories (New York Harlem History, Street Fiction, Diaspora Studies) that make locating what you need a cinch. Still can’t find what you’re looking for? The engaging and knowledgeable staff is always there to guide you.

  1. 2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd (Eighth Ave), at 125th St
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Carol's Daughter

  • Price band: 1/4

This natural hair- and skin-care line has gone from a neighborhood secret to one of the leading natural beauty companies in the country, with celebs like Brad Pitt lusting after its products. With its soothing white brick walls and divine mélange of fragrances both sweet and subtle, the flagship store in Harlem is an aromatic oasis. Indulge your senses and pick up the brand’s signature handmade soap ($2) in the popular almond-cookie scent, the Ecstasy Shea Souffle moisturizing lotion ($13–$30)and the yummy SweetHoneyDip ChocolateBrownSugah scrub ($34). If time permits, treat yourself to a Rose Petal Ritual mani and pedi ($53) at the in-store Backroom Spa, which focuses solely on hands and feet.

  1. 24 W 125th St, between Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave) and Fifth Ave
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Barbara's Flowers

  • Price band: 1/4

As a little girl, Tara Simone would eagerly help her mother—a Crown Heights florist—with her daily planting and pruning. Those gardening lessons came in handy since Simone now has her own bloom emporium, Barbara's Flowers, in Harlem. The brick-walled boutique stocks lush yet simple arrangements of Dutch hydrangeas ($175) and fuchsia Dendrobium orchids ($25),and gifty goods such as silver-beaded candle holders ($35) and K. Hall Designs shea-butter lotions ($23). Come on Thursday through Saturday, when lush prewrapped bouquets mean never having to say you're sorry with wilty bundles from the corner deli.

  1. 2522 Frederick Douglass Blvd, between 134th and 135th Sts
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Nicholas

  • Price band: 2/4

Hardly your run-of-the-mill Bob Marley–T-shirt shop, this spacious and well-organized reggae store distinguishes itself by stocking everything you need to live the true Rasta-monsta lifestyle. Find sterling silver jewelry ($15–$190), books on Rastafarianism and holistic health, flavored rolling paper, and stylish bohemian wares and accessories (like trendy military shirt-dresses and straw fedoras, $15–$45), all catering to those who pledge allegiance to the red, gold and green.

  1. 5 E 125th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
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Pollen Nation Events

  • Price band: 4/4

At this gallery-like home decor boutique, it’s difficult to determine what’s for sale and what’s part of the store’s furnishings. That’s because everything—save for owners Kelly and Collin Abraham’s adorable son, Myles, sometimes seen napping on the couch—is good for the taking. Scoop up drool-worthy mirrored-glass mosaic vases ($55–$200), photographer Keith Sherwood’s stunning snapshots from the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show ($40–$300) or a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers—Beyoncé and Jay-Z hired Pollen Nation to style the buds at their wedding, so you know the arrangements are top-notch.

  1. 11 E 125th St , between Fifth and Madison Aves
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