When it comes to shopping in New York City, you have a bevy of amazing stores at your fingertips. But which ones are the best shops in NYC right this minute? We're glad you asked! We pounded the pavement, checked out New York City's best shopping 'hoods and came up with this list of must-visit shops. From old favorites to new classics, these are the boutiques that are kicking ass right now—in a stylish, classy way, of course.
You guys love Artists & Fleas (it’s one of the most searched-for stores on our website)—and it’s easy to see why: Every weekend, a rotating selection of around 60 vendors, including local craftspeople, designers and artists, sets up shop in a Williamsburg warehouse. The browsable mix includes everything from original T-shirts and handmade jewelry to home-decor items and even pet accessories. Earlier this year, a second location opened in Chelsea Market, which means we now have double the opportunity to scoop up one-of-a-kind finds.
Best for a splurge
Okay, we’ll admit the prices at this London import aren’t exactly budget-friendly ($600 for a Gosha Rubchinskiy linen shirt? Yikes.), but that doesn’t stop us from visiting this Murray Hill mecca of high fashion. Dover Street Market features seven small floors of cutting-edge wares by big-time designers and a few up-and-comers. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons carefully culls the merch, which includes loads of exclusives, including a few (sort of) reasonably priced graphic tees for under $100. Shopping here is like visiting a contemporary gallery, and we don’t just mean the sleek clothing: The walls sport cool art, such as the 60-foot-long sleeve of yarn by street knitter Magda Sayeg that winds through most of the space.
Best to get trapped in
As a kid, did you ever fantasize about spending the night in a department store? No? Just us? Huh. Well, anyway, visit this Urban Outfitters spin-off, and you’ll see what we’re talking about. The multifloor market boasts products you’d find at the trendster emporium (moderately priced men’s and women’s clothing, jewelry, housewares), plus an expanded record shop and a gallery space. When you need to take a break, you can nab a cocktail and a bacon-wrapped matzo ball at the Gorbals, a restaurant and bar from chef Ilan Hall that occupies part of the third floor and the rooftop, where you can’t beat the skyline views. Even though we can’t host a slumber party here, we’d happily spend the whole day wandering around.
Shop with the most awesome A.D.D.
Every four to six weeks, this Chelsea gem shuts down and reopens with a totally new theme. Mirroring the editorial style of a magazine, the store collaborates with guest curators and architects for each cycle. The current motif (until August 17), “Cool Story,” spotlights the Aros (a new air conditioner from Quirky), beach bags and more. Past themes have included “Love Story” and “Good Story.” Our predictions for future iterations: “My Story” (featuring products for the #selfie generation), “Go Story” (boasting the best items for jet setters) and “Time Out Story” (because duh).
Reasons to be excited about the hipster-preferred eyewear company this year: A portion of the proceeds from the just-launched Karlie Kloss x Warby Parker line of shades (starting at $145 each) go to Edible Schoolyard NYC. And the brand doesn’t just collaborate with people. Instead of building a new shop, the company’s new Upper East Side outpost (1209 Lexington Ave at 82nd St; 646-757-2290)—its third in the city—is in the beautiful building that once housed the iconic pharmacy Lascoff Drugs, which closed in 2012. The boutique has a couple of eye-exam stations, a reading nook and, of course, two stories of glasses. We can’t think of a cooler spot to pick up some specs.
American Two Shot
Best for caffeine junkies
The addition of a coffeeshop within a clothing store has become a major trend in 2014 (Uniqlo is the latest to jump on board), but American Two Shot was ahead of the curve when it opened a couple of years ago with Café Integral at the front of the shop. Grab an espresso and browse the latest indie-label offerings, like a yellow Addison x We Wore What reversible crop top ($125) or Solid & Striped swim shorts ($130) for guys. And the java will come in handy: The downtown shop often hosts late-night parties.
Best homegrown minichain
We know: Brooklynites have been bemoaning the arrival of big-brand chain stores for the past few years. But guess what? The borough has been home to an awesome minichain for quite some time. Bird, the fashion-forward women’s boutique where prices run the gamut, has been in business for 15 years and shows no sign of stopping. Three locations exist; fingers crossed that a fourth isn’t too far behind.
Most famous shopgirl
High-end designer Rebecca Minkoff can add another title to her résumé: saleswoman. She recently opened her corporate headquarters to appointment-only shopping, with all employees working shifts in the showroom. E-mail email@example.com to get access to the complete line of handbags, jewelry, shoes and exclusive styles from the RM denim collection ($88 and up)—and you just might get the designer herself at the register.
Best for that better-than-new-car smell
Step into this Nolita store and inhale deeply. The comforting and luxurious scent of leather goods fills designer Will Adler’s first NYC brick-and-mortar shop, Will Leather Goods. Preppy merch for men and women includes wallets ($75–$300), bags ($75–$900) and belts ($35–$200). Even better than the gratis smells? You can get your purchases embossed for free.
Talk about a hands-on experience: Sampling is heavily encouraged at this cruelty-free beauty brand’s Upper East Side location. (You’ll also find test-drive-friendly outposts in Union Square and the Upper West Side.) Head to the Fresh skin-care bar, where staffers provide complimentary skin-care consultations with the handmade face masks ($7). But things get really handsy in the upstairs spa. Just try to stay stressed during the Synaesthesia massage (80mins, $230), where movements are choreographed with prerecorded music. New rule: All stores should feature an in-house spa.
It’s only a matter of time before Astoria becomes a true shopping destination. (A bevy of hip bars has opened in the ’hood—boutiques have to be next, right?) And when more stores arrive, hopefully they’ll be along the lines of this small vintage shop, which sells everything from badass boots to sparkly sweaters but specializes in gently worn dresses from the 1950s through the ’90s.
Most hip-hop cred
File this under “If it’s good enough for Jay Z…” Harlem Haberdashery, which celebrates its second anniversary later this summer, was founded by the folks behind clothing label 5001 Flavors, which dressed the rapper for his “Empire State of Mind” video. For those of us who aren’t shopping for locally made urban-meets-preppy clothes to wear in a music video, there are custom-made high-top Android Homme sneakers ($150), graphic T-shirts ($20 and up) and custom-tailored suits ($800 and up). Fun fact: The boutique is housed in a brownstone where Malcolm X once lived.
Best gift emporium
Quirky products rule at this Village charmer. Founder Jan Van Der Lande collaborated with Kevin Brynan, the owner of now-closed gift shop Mxyplyzyk, to create the first store for Kikkerland, which has been churning out must-have utilitarian gadgets for the past 20 years. Think Casey Schneider glass stones ($13), which water your plants; rechargeable lanterns ($35); fish-shaped flasks ($30); and other items sure to put a smile on your face.
Best evidence that size doesn't matter
Feel bad about your small apartment? Stop by this 64-square-foot store and take comfort in what Bushwick-based motorcycle club and denim brand Deth Killers has done with the former auto-shop space—namely, display its stylish asphalt-resistant denim ($250) and other cool merch, like a Roberta’s Pizza tank top ($68) and jacket patches ($7 and up).
Best for boutique-lovin' cheapskates
This Lower East Side store (and thriving e-commerce site) has developed a cult following since 2006. Shoppers flock here for deftly chosen pieces that won’t break the bank. Recent faves include an Irene babydoll dress ($40) and a Sophia crocheted midiskirt ($52). With prices like these, you’ll actually be able to afford a night out in your new outfit.