5 Under-the-Radar Cities with Surprisingly Good Shopping


Rapsodia, Buenos Aires

When it comes to shopping, well-known destinations like London, New York and San Francisco can’t have all the fun. Here, I offer you five off-the-beaten-path destinations that offer everything from chic clothing to sumptuously scented soaps. Save some room in your suitcase cause these are five locales where you’ll definitely want to shop till you drop.

Ubud Bali Indonesia

Shopping, Ubud, Bali

Sure it has the monkey forest, rice paddies and some really stunning temples, but this laid back locale also offers a superb collection of boutiques and markets that will keep even the most ardent shoppers happy. Heavenly scented handmade candles, bespoke dresses and locally made jams and sea salt are among the items purveyed in Ubud’s more upscale boutiques, and street markets with local trinkets and handicrafts will satisfy those looking for cheap souvenirs and mementos.

Yoga in Ubud

Buenos Aires Argentina

Palermo, Buenos Aires

Ok, so Buenos Aires isn’t exactly under-the-radar but shopping-wise, this South American capital is truly underrated. Local ladies love the gorgeous baubles and figure enhancing jeans found at the chain store Rapsodia. To-die-for tango shoes are de rigeur at Come il Faut, a fashionable shoe salon found in the upscale neighborhood of Recoleta. But perhaps the best shopping in the whole city is found in the trendy Palermo neighborhood, where boutiques about with buttery soft leather jackets and up and coming designer labels.

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin shopping

The best part about shopping in Ireland is if you get tired, you can pop into any of Dublin’s ubiquitous pubs for an ice cold Guinness. But really, take a stroll on Grafton Street and you’ll find all the high street favorites (Top Shop or Zara anyone?) and a few one off names like Avoca—a sort of Irish Anthropologie. Another thing to love about shopping in Ireland? You can buy leprechaun ANYTHING.

Avoca boutique, Dublin

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Street Market, San Miguel

You may have heard of San Miguel de Allende after it was voted No. 1 of the top 25 cities in the world by Condé Nast Traveler in 2013. And a city can’t make it to the top without good shopping, right? San Miguel does not disappoint. Boutiques line the picturesque cobbled streets offering a plethora of sandals, housewares, art and clothing, while local artisan’s markets abound with silver, pottery and other indigenous handicrafts. May I recommend the incredibly chic versions of the traditional huarache sandals?

Santa Cruz, CA

Quintessential Santa Cruz

This laid back Northern California beach town isn’t all board shorts and flip flops. Designer boutiques are popping up all over the place in this surprisingly fashion conscious city. Head to Pacific Avenue for local’s favorite Stipe and Stripe Men where you can stock up on clothing gifts, accessories and select pieces of midcentury modern furniture. Make a trip to the city’s West Side to pop into Cameron Marks, purveying up and coming small-batch designers like LA based Calder, Feral Childe and Bungalow 360. Santa Cruz even has it’s own online fashion and beauty portal, The Penny Rose (for which I am the Editor at Large, and write a monthly column about international beauty).


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