Shopping is an essential part of almost any vacation. Whether it’s stocking up on souvenirs for friends and family, or buying something special to remember the trip, travelers often seek out items to bring some of the local flavor of their destination back home.
"A lot of people do go on vacation to shop," says Darren Frei, editorial director of Smart Luxury Travel magazine by ShermansTravel.com. "It's high on their list to bring back something to prove you went there. When you travel you bring back great memories, but it’s clothing or items that give you some bragging rights."
Smart Luxury recently released its "Top 10 Shopping Cities on the Rise," around the world, from its spring/summer issue and it zeroes in on particular neighborhoods that offer visitors a variety of options for shopping and dining. Frei says the magazine looked for cities that were offering fresh takes on traditional shopping neighborhoods while also tying in an authentic, local feel.
"With globalization you can go to any city and find that district," says Frei. "We looked for places where you could find something new, unique or original."
Frei describes the cities that made the list as "newly-minted," with a mix of high-end and budget-conscious options for travelers.
Here is Smart Luxury Travel's Top 10 List:
No. 1: Central District, Hong Kong. This tourist haven is located near Victoria Harbour and shoppers can stock up on some specialty heritage jewels at Yewn, or a fine men's suit at Ascot Chang, according to Smart Luxury. Visitors should beware though, the magazine warns of some schemers in the area looking to rip off shoppers, especially on Nathan Road.
No. 2: Colonia Roma, Mexico City. This city is flush with art and fashion, according the magazine. Fill up on Mexican favorites at Contramar restaurant, and get some new athletic duds at NaCo Miscelanea, which is co-owned by actor Diego Luna. Smart Luxury recommends skipping Avenida Presidente Masaryk, which only has high-end shops.
No. 3: HaTachana, Tel Aviv. Formerly a train station, HaTachana today offers a wide variety of shopping and dining options. Smart Luxury recommends Ahava for its Dead Sea mineral body scrubs. Also eat at Shushka Shvili, a tapas restaurant in the complex. However, the magazine says to skip Namal, which lacks the Israeli cultural feel.
No. 4: La Candelaria, Bogota. Smart Luxury recommends travelers swing by La Candelaria, a historic neighborhood now filled with trendy shops and cafes. The magazine says to shop at Artesanias de Colombia for crafts and furnishings, and Nueveochenta Gallery for local art. But skip over the Plaza de San Victorino, which is flush with illegal vendors and pickpockets.
No. 5: Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires. After getting a glimpse of the many movie and TV studios located here, travelers should head to the Mercado de las Pulgas for antiques and vendors. The magazine suggests eating at Jangada for fresh seafood and local fare. Skip Puerto Madera, a new business district, which, according to the magazine, lacks the city's "old-school charm."
No. 6: Monti, Rome. As one of the fashion capitals of the world, it should come as no surprise that Rome appears on this list. Monti is home to the city's famous Colosseum and is full of culture. Smart Luxury says to stop at Super, a unisex clothing boutique, and eat at Urbana 47, for contemporary Italian dishes. Skip over Via del Corso, which offers standard shops like Adidas and Disney.
No. 7: Nakameguro, Toyko. Located in South Central, Tokyo, Nakameguro offers a variety of vintage shops and art galleries. Smart Luxury recommends Mizuma Art for its exhibitions and Vase for vintage clothes and accessories. Ginza, a famous shopping district, isn't worth your precious travel time, the magazine says, as it's too generic and pricey.
No. 8: Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. This historic district offers visitors trendy boutiques, cafes and art galleries, Smart Luxury says. Check out Art Star for local artwork and Vagabond Boutique for women's clothing. For good burgers and beer check out Northern Liberties' PYT. Don’t worry about stopping at South Street, which has become overrun with mainstream stores and restaurants.
No. 9: Rue Tiquetonne, Paris. Another fashion mecca, Paris is full of new and vintage boutiques. Smart Luxury recommends Kiliwatch for men's and women's clothes and Maloles for handmade shoes and bags. Eat at Aux Trois Petits Cochons, but skip over Champs-Elysees, which is a tourist magnet, according to the magazine.
No. 10: Shoreditch, London. This area is full of artists and those in the fashion industry, the magazine says. Go to Jasper Morrison for furniture and house wares and Beyond Retro for vintage items. Smart Luxury says Look Mum No Hands is a great spot for vegan fare, but Oxford Street isn't worth a pit stop because it’s filled with tourists and inflated prices.