Best gift shops: Soho

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

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Critics' picks

Anthropologie

Decidedly more refined and upscale than its sibling shop, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie specializes in bohemian and vintage-inspired clothing and home decor, as indicated by their eternally-inspiring, always-changing store design schemes. While they offer a slew of in-house clothing lines, they've started turning out designer capsule collections with harder-to-find labels like Twinkle by Wenlan and Maria Bonita Extra, which means that there are a plethora of well-cut patterned dresses, oversize knit sweaters and adorable, wear-everywhere tops. The home goods are particularly strong and range from the big (huge armchairs recovered in Scandinavian textiles) to the eensy (door pulls fashioned out of chunks of graphite).

  1. 375 West Broadway between Broome and Spring Sts
More info

CB2

Home-design aficionados and budget-conscious shoppers flock to the hipper, more wallet-friendly spin-off of domestic-goods behemoth Crate & Barrel. The 7,500-square-foot space is packed with modern furnishings that are scaled down for apartment dwellers, along with sleek tableware and chic accents.

  1. 451 Broadway between Grand and Howard Sts
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Global Table

Following in the footsteps of its long-standing Soho shop, this home-accessories boutique known for its worldly wares opened a second location uptown. For those who can’t afford to globe-trot but crave a touch of international flair in their homes, Global Table offers modern, handcrafted housewares and home goods sourced from around the world. Minimalist furnishings coupled with bright green-and-yellow walls set the backdrop for an array of unusual finds, including vibrant Senegalese woven baskets ($56–$175), horn bowls from India ($42 each), and Kosoy and Bouchard embossed-porcelain tableware ($40–$100) made in Canada.

  1. 471 Amsterdam Ave, (between 82nd and 83rd Sts)
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In God We Trust

Designer Shana Tabor’s cozy stores cater to that ever-appealing Brooklynesque retro-bookish aesthetic, offering locally crafted collections for men and women. Taxidermy and antiques dot the friendly stores' interiors, available for purchase if you're a sucker for stuffed animals and odd objects. Tabor's jewelry line is also uncommonly alluring.

  1. 265 Lafayette St between Prince and Spring Sts
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Jonathan Adler

  • Price band: 4/4

In addition to browbeating fledgling interior decorators on the reality show Top Design, the housewares juggernaut has multiple NYC boutiques, where fans can find button-back couches, antique brass cocktail tables and all manner of happy, happy home items. Cure friends suffering from the bleak-studio-apartment blues with Adler’s manifesto My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living.

  1. 47 Greene St between Broome and Grand Sts
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Kiosk

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Don’t be put off by the unprepossessing, graffiti-covered stairway that leads up to this gem of a shop. Alisa Grifo has collected an array of inexpensive items—mostly simple and functional but with a strong design aesthetic —from around the world, such as hairpins in a cool retro box from Mexico, Finnish licorice, colorful net bags from Germany and a butterfly can-opener from Japan.

  1. 95 Spring St, (between Broadway and Mercer St, second floor)
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Kisan Concept Store

  • Critics choice

You don’t have to travel the globe to own worldly wares: This Icelandic boutique’s first stateside shop carries a melting pot of high-design goods from both established brands and emerging designers. The 1,300-square-foot Soho space stocks exclusive pieces, colorful clothing, handmade trinkets and eclectic accessories from a unique medley of designers, including Sonia Rykiel, John Derian and Isabel Marant.

  1. 125 Greene St between Prince and W Houston Sts
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Matter

The Soho spin-off of the Brooklyn design store offers an international selection of furniture, homewares and jewelry, including architect Zaha Hadid’s interlocking Nekton stools and hot duo FredriksonStallard’s provocative cross-shaped clothes brushes. There are great New York-centric gifts too: Look out for metal manhole-cover coasters by Curios and Tel Aviv-based Johnathan Hopp’s miniature porcelain buildings.

  1. 405 Broome St between Centre and Lafayette Sts
More info

Pearl River Mart

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

You could spend hours wandering around this three-floor hodgepodge warehouse of home goods, clothing and random trinkets you desperately want but probably don’t need. There’s a wide selection of decorated ceramic dishware, such as tea sets of four ($57), owl-shaped salt and pepper shakers ($11), and vases of every color and shape ($57). Other highlights include a unique lighting department, where you can choose from takeout-container-shaped lamps ($19), square rice-paper lanterns ($36) and strings of rattan-wire party lights ($23). Be sure to stock up on quirky items like NYC souvenir totes ($8), colorful coin purses ($4) and bottle openers shaped like whales ($13) to keep on hand as gifts.

  1. 477 Broadway between Broome and Grand Sts
More info

Pylones

  • Price band: 1/4

Pop Art accessories, T-shirts, school gear, iPod covers, key chains, and toasters are all so ooh-la-la at this offbeat French chain. The see-through bibs filled with colorful rubber toys are a must-buy.

  1. 69 Spring St between Crosby and Lafayette Sts
More info

RECOMMENDED: 100 best gift shops in New York

More shops for gifts in Soho

C. Wonder

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Having successfully helped ex-wife Tory Burch introduce preppy-boho caftans to the masses, Chris Burch is ready for round two—this time he's launched his own colorful collection of women's apparel, accessories and home decor. And with all items ranging from $10 to $200, Burch's goods are perfect for any budget. The cheerful lifestyle brand debuts along with this Soho flagship, which features themed rooms inspired by aspirational destinations like Palm Springs and Vail. Creative gift ideas abound, such as monogrammed cheese boards with matching spreaders ($18), ceramic printed ginger jars ($38–$58 each) and coral beaded necklaces with gold-leaf detailing ($148). Shoppers can also personalize items ($10–$15) with C. Wonder's on-site monogramming machine.

  1. 72 Spring St, between Crosby and Lafayette Sts
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Babeland

  • Price band: 1/4

At this friendly sex-toy boutique—run by women and skewed toward women—browsers are encouraged to handle all manner of buzzing, wriggling and bendable playthings, including the famed Rabbit Pearl vibrator. The shop also stocks a huge variety of condoms and hosts frank sex-ed classes on a variety of subjects. Browse and sign up for classes at Babeland

  1. 43 Mercer St, between Broome and Grand Sts
More info

Kiosk

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Don’t be put off by the unprepossessing, graffiti-covered stairway that leads up to this gem of a shop. Alisa Grifo has collected an array of inexpensive items—mostly simple and functional but with a strong design aesthetic —from around the world, such as hairpins in a cool retro box from Mexico, Finnish licorice, colorful net bags from Germany and a butterfly can-opener from Japan.

  1. 95 Spring St, between Broadway and Mercer St, second floor
More info

MoMA Design Store

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

A must for design fans, the museum's stand-alone retail arm assembles an impressive array of contemporary furnishings and gifts, including sculptural vases, clocks, kitchenware and gadgets.

  1. 81 Spring St, at Crosby St
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Opening Ceremony

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Go on an international shopping spree without leaving Soho at this large, meticulously curated boutique. Globe-trotting owners Carol Lim and Humberto Leon create something akin to a fashion Olympics inside the store, showcasing American designers alongside both up-and-coming and established brands from other countries. The breadth of items rivals Urban Outfitters (a lofted nook has a small collection of CDs, magazines and books, and glass cases contain cool-kid accessories like neon Timex watches), but the craftsmanship (and prices, of course) is in a different league. Keep an eye out for frequent collaborations; the co-owners have a knack for coaxing the best out of mass-market brands like Keds and Levi’s.

  1. 35 Howard St, between Broadway and Lafayette St
More info

Pearl River Mart

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

You could spend hours wandering around this three-floor hodgepodge warehouse of home goods, clothing and random trinkets you desperately want but probably don’t need. There’s a wide selection of decorated ceramic dishware, such as tea sets of four ($57), owl-shaped salt and pepper shakers ($11), and vases of every color and shape ($57). Other highlights include a unique lighting department, where you can choose from takeout-container-shaped lamps ($19), square rice-paper lanterns ($36) and strings of rattan-wire party lights ($23). Be sure to stock up on quirky items like NYC souvenir totes ($8), colorful coin purses ($4) and bottle openers shaped like whales ($13) to keep on hand as gifts.

  1. 477 Broadway, between Broome and Grand Sts, 10013
More info

Jacques Torres Chocolate

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Here’s where the magic happens: At Jacques Torres’s Hudson Street retail location, kids can peer through the glass wall to the chocolate factory’s floor, where cocoa and sugar are processed into chocolate. (Of course, you can buy it here, too.)

  1. 350 Hudson St, between Charlton and King Sts
  2. One piece of chocolate: $1.60
More info

Scholastic Store

  • Price band: 2/4

Located in the heart of Soho, the whimsical kids' space is armed with the company's classics (old and new), plus a glass-enclosed clubhouse that hosts cool workshops, and a reference center where students can browse through workbooks or do research for their homework. Harry Potter fans, meanwhile, can put their knowledge to the test at one of the store's interactive kiosks.

  1. 557 Broadway, between Prince and Spring Sts
More info

Treasure & Bond

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Nordstrom’s high-end philanthropic boutique donates 100 percent of its profits to select charities that benefit the youth of New York City. The sleek shop, which incorporates reclaimed and repurposed materials, stocks more than 150 local, national and international fashion, accessories and home-decor luxury brands. Discover glamorous Satya Twena handmade hats ($250–$575); Akong London vibrant, chunky wool South American–inspired necklaces ($175–$1,100); and the Vintage Frames Company authentic retro glasses ($235–$470), which are a favorite among celebs like Lady Gaga and ?uestlove.

  1. 350 West Broadway CLOSED, between Broome and Grand Sts
More info

Pylones

  • Price band: 2/4

Pop Art accessories, T-shirts, school gear, iPod covers, key chains, and toasters are all so ooh-la-la at this offbeat French chain. The see-through bibs filled with colorful rubber toys are a must-buy.

  1. 69 Spring St, between Crosby and Lafayette Sts
More info

Matter

  • Price band: 2/4

The Soho spin-off of the Brooklyn design store offers an international selection of furniture, homewares and jewelry, including architect Zaha Hadid’s interlocking Nekton stools and hot duo FredriksonStallard’s provocative cross-shaped clothes brushes. There are great New York-centric gifts too: Look out for metal manhole-cover coasters by Curios and Tel Aviv-based Johnathan Hopp’s miniature porcelain buildings.

  1. 405 Broome St, between Centre and Lafayette Sts
More info

Lafco NYC/Santa Maria Novella

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Founded in 1412 as a Florentine infirmary, Santa Maria Novella opened to the public 200 years later as an apothecary. Its time-tested bath, body and home products are distributed in the States by fragrance distributor Lafco New York, and this joint shop is the primary place in the city to stock up on the heritage goods. Wrought-iron doors, large pillars and vintage apothecary jars exude an old-world European charm. Peruse indulgent items such as rosewater toners ($28), pomegranate-milk body lotions ($85) and men’s olive-oil–infused shaving foam ($28) laid out on rustic metal tables. Many wares are still made using the brand’s ancient recipes, including cosmetic vinegars ($52) that treat dry skin and dandruff, toothpaste ($20) formulated with Florentine iris root to prevent bleeding in sensitive gums, and secret-recipe potpourri ($35), once used to mask the smell of dead bodies in the dispensary. 

  1. 285 Lafayette St, between E Houston and Prince Sts
More info

Bloomingdale's (Soho)

  • Price band: 2/4

Ranking among the city’s top tourist attractions, Bloomie’s is stocked with everything from bags to beauty products, homewares to designer duds. The compact Soho outpost concentrates on young fashion and cosmetics.

  1. 504 Broadway, between Broome and Spring Sts, fifth floor, 10012
More info

Moleskine

  • Price band: 2/4

The brand behind every scribbler’s favorite notebook has expanded its retail presence with a second New York location (the first is inside the Shops at Columbus Circle). The 669-square-foot nook offers writing goodies such as pens ($15–$50), bags ($90–$150) and digital-device accessories ($30–$50), as well as the signature journals and notebooks ($6–$33) that guests can customize on the spot with exclusive NYC-centric stamps. Complete your personal collection with limited-edition pop-culture-themed 2014 planners ($19), iPhone cases resembling the classic Moleskine notebook ($35) and streamlined messenger bags ($130).

  1. 436 West Broadway, at Prince St
More info

Anthropologie

  • Price band: 2/4

Decidedly more refined and upscale than its sibling shop, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie specializes in bohemian and vintage-inspired clothing and home decor, as indicated by their eternally-inspiring, always-changing store design schemes. While they offer a slew of in-house clothing lines, they've started turning out designer capsule collections with harder-to-find labels like Twinkle by Wenlan and Maria Bonita Extra, which means that there are a plethora of well-cut patterned dresses, oversize knit sweaters and adorable, wear-everywhere tops. The home goods are particularly strong and range from the big (huge armchairs recovered in Scandinavian textiles) to the eensy (door pulls fashioned out of chunks of graphite).

  1. 375 West Broadway, between Broome and Spring Sts
More info

Babel Fair

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Every time we step into this minimalist, white-walled shop, we find something new to lust after. Erica Kiang opened the globally minded boutique in November 2009, and specializes in clothing, accessories and tchotchkes sourced from more than two dozen countries: jumbo weekender bags from Ghana, floral frocks from Australia, wacky watches from Japan and so forth. The prices might trip up budget shoppers ($259 art-deco heels or a $119 motorcycle coat from Japan, for example), but you’re unlikely to find this stuff anywhere else in the city.

  1. 260 Elizabeth St, between E Houston and Prince Sts
More info

Le Labo

  • Price band: 2/4

The men’s fragrances are so appealing in this three-year-old shop that girls are likely to strut out with a bottle themselves. “I’ve noticed that most women don’t like to smell too girly and so they run straight to our men’s line,” manager Maiko Shiratori says. “But, honestly, our scents are for everyone; we just label gender for customers who need that additional assistance.” The best-sellers include Rose 21 ($62 for 15ml) and Verdama 22 ($62 for 15ml).

  1. 233 Elizabeth St, between E Houston and Prince Sts
More info

Hudson Square Pharmacy

  • Price band: 1/4

Since August 2009, this half-block pharmacy has been the neighborhood’s go-to resource for basics like household cleaners, decorative small goods and gift items. But unlike other all-purpose superstores, Hudson’s carries both low-end staples (79¢ paper towels) and high-end indulgences ($26 Votivo candles).

  1. 345 Hudson St, at King St
More info

AllSaints Spitalfields

  • Price band: 2/4

We’ve been counting down the hours till this dark ’n’ trendy British label opened a proper New York flagship (the selection in Bloomingdale’s just wasn’t cutting it). And praise the heavens, they really outdid themselves: The 13,600-square-foot bilevel boutique more than quenches our thirst for distressed bomber jackets, funkily draped skirts and biker-chic accessories. On our shopping list: Office-sharp asymmetrical dresses ($240), acid-wash cropped sweaters ($110) and faded chambray button-down shirts ($130) for the blokes.

  1. 512 Broadway, between Broome and Spring Sts
More info

Global Table

  • Price band: 2/4

Slip through a nondescript black door for an international kaleidoscope of tabletop and home accessories from far-flung spots such as the Philippines, Egypt and Thailand. And unlike a flight to those exotic locales, owner Nathalie Smith’s goods are blessedly well priced. Chic wares abound, such as flower-encrusted porcelain white vases ($25–$40), Moroccan tea glasses ($16) and bronze lamps crafted out of driftwood logs ($225).

  1. 107-09 Sullivan St, between Prince and Spring Sts
More info

Dahesh Museum Gift Shop

  • Price band: 2/4

The institution devoted to 19th- and 20th-century European art has moved downtown, along with its chic gift shop. The eclectic space allows you to take a piece of art home via Charles Bargue lithograph prints ($180); books such as Nigel Spivey’s Greek Art ($30), which describes the extensive history of Grecian artistry; and intricately designed Syrian tables ($325–$550). The versatile store also sells handcrafted Parisian pillboxes ($48), multicolored recycled-glass bracelets ($20) and putti silk scarves ($65).

  1. 145 Sixth Ave, at Dominick St
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B.J. Magazines

  • Price band: 1/4

Despite neighborhood newsstands (and magazines) dropping like flies, B.J. continues to build its fortress of glossies. The shop currently sells more than 7,000 titles sourced from all over the world, including domestic staples (Time, Vogue, TONY), international prints (L’Official, Lula, Purple, Tank) and trade pubs. Other offerings are on par with an airport grab-and-go shop: travel-sized toiletries, phone cards, Papyrus wrapping paper, candy and beverages, and pay-per-minute Internet kiosks.

  1. 200 Varick St , between W Houston and King Sts
More info

Calypso St. Barth

  • Price band: 3/4

After serving as a destination for flowing, eye-catching apparel and cruise-perfect adornments for nearly two decades, resort-wear brand Calypso St. Barth has opened a boutique devoted entirely to high-end, ultrafeminine accessories. A delicate shell chandelier hangs above a velvet tufted pouf sitting at the center of the 500-square-foot space. Colorful decorative accents abound: Embroidered scarves ($95–$995) are draped over a brass elephant that dwells in the boutique’s window seat, bohemian-luxe baubles ($45–$1,800) rest on hand-polished natural-stone slabs ($395), and folk-art-patterned pouches ($185) are displayed on shelves. Designs reminiscent of distant lands include jeweler Coralia Leets’s semiprecious-stone-laden line ($45–$895), Lena Skadegard’s handcrafted freshwater-pearl jewels ($75–$1,800) and russell+hazel stationery ($30–$45). Also look for Calypso St. Barth’s house-label creations, including rabbit-fur-trimmed wool scarves ($95) and fitted knit beanies with rabbit-fur pom-poms ($65).

  1. 280 Mott St, between E Houston and Prince Sts
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Crate & Barrel

  • Price band: 2/4

A staple stop on every engaged-couple's wedding-registry-circuit, this suburban-sized space offers plenty in the way of sofas, sidetables, armoires and rugs along with a ground level loaded down with hostess-gift appropriate takeaways like mixing bowls and pretty water jugs.

  1. 611 Broadway, between Bleecker and W Houston Sts, 10012
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Alex and Ani

  • Price band: 2/4

Rhode Island native Carolyn Rafaelian established her jewelry label in 2004, naming it after her two daughters. Now with shops dotting the East Coast, the eco-friendly, “positive energy” brand brings its uplifting, icon-inspired designs for men and women to Soho—the location of Alex and Ani’s first store in NYC. Handmade from recycled metals, the line is known for its symbolic charms: Bangles, necklaces, earrings and rings ($24–$600) are embellished with historical, religious, universal and spiritual imagery. A serpent coils around the rod of Asklepios—an emblem of medicine and health—in a pendant made from Russian gold ($68), while discs inscribed with script initials dangle from expandable wire rings ($24). A Wall of Love exhibits sought-after symbols and their three-word explanations (the best-selling Path of Life bibelot represents strength, motivation and knowledge, and ranges from $18 to $168), while a Bangle Bar allows shoppers to create their own bracelets (starting at $24 for a single-charm bangle). Having built her business on cultural and environmental awareness, Rafaelian donates 20 percent of Alex and Ani’s proceeds to various charitable organizations, such as the African Rainforest Conservancy (africanrainforest.org), Operation Smile (operationsmile.org) and Doctors Without Borders (doctorswithoutborders.org).

  1. 425 West Broadway, between Prince and Spring Sts
More info

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