Best Places to Get Out and Shop in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a city that truly nurtures its homegrown talent. What that means for shoppers is that despite not being considered among the world's most fashion-forward cities, Philly is a locale where you can find one-of-a-kind treasures designed and finished right in the back of the store. What's more, this ethos applies to all genres of shopping. Beyond discovering your favorite new fashion designer, you can meet master furniture craftsmen, jewelry makers, and true artisans all of shapes and sizes, and from all types of crafts. And you can pick a neighborhood based on what you love to shop for and look at: Old City, for instance, is great for art galleries and cutting-edge and vintage boutiques; Walnut Row in Rittenhouse Square is where you'll find the fashions the fashionistas can't live without, and Antique Row is a paradise for antique collectors and shelter mavens. Plus, as an added bonus, here in Pennsylvania, you pay no sales tax on clothing. So when the retail bug hits you, take a trip out of town a bit and hit up a sprawling complex like King of Prussia Mall for a huge spread of offerings. If a smaller venue closer to the city is what you're looking for, a place such as The Little Apple may be what suits you. Either way, this city is sure to have a shop or two for everyone!

Founded as a sneaker boutique for those who absolutely must have the latest and rarest cult kicks, Ubiq has matured into a place for unique casual men's clothes and shoes. Partnering with brands like Vans and Puma to create special lines of sneaks, it is still THE destination for footwear you literally won't find anywhere else, though now you can buy an everyday pair of Chinos, or a Crooks and Castles baseball jacket. There's a deep selection of vintage sports shoes and Ubiq's own line of (mostly preppy) sneakers. Fun to try on a variety of their offerings, this place is also perfect for anyone looking to finish off an outfit (or start one). ((215) 988-0194)

The Little Apple
Located in the Manayunk section of the city, this quaint little shop offers a great opportunity to browse, or happen upon the perfect gift. They carry everything from cards and jewelry to vintage and repurposed home goods. Cute soaps, books, candles, baby items and lovely little whatchamacallits are to be found here as well. It's a browser's dream, and especially great when you need a little something for someone, but you don't know what you want until you see it. Friendly staff and attentive service make this place a must visit while strolling through Manayunk, or make a trip here for a friend or coworker's birthday. While here, enjoy the rest of Manayunk for a pleasant day trip. (215-335-4968)

Shops at Liberty Place
Located between the Liberty Place towers in Center City's hotel district, this sleek shopping complex offers an impressive array of over 60 retail tenants, including Fire & Ice, J. Crew, Godiva Chocolatier, Les Richards, Victoria's Secret, Loft and Aveda. Completely enclosed, the center is a pleasant escape from the weather outside (especially in the winter or the heat of summer), and helps its popularity by hosting a wide slate of special events each season. Perfect for a little (or big) treat for yourself, a loved one, or to grab a necessity, Liberty Place is clean and convenient. There's also a food court should you find yourself in need of some afternoon sustenance. Parking is available in the four-level complex located under Liberty Place. (215-851-9055)

A landmark in the men's fashion world, the family-owned Boyds has been the clothier of choice for well-heeled men since 1938. The third (and current) generation of owners brought women's fashions to the four-story boutique, and now handbags and high-heels hang not far from the tuxes, European dress shirts and cufflinks. Personal attention is de rigeur here, so don't be surprised if a formally-dressed sales person stays with you through your entire visit. Special requests and sizes are no trouble here. If you've got a special event, this is the place to guarantee your look will be top-shelf. If you get hungry, there's a sushi bar on the mezzanine. (215-564-9000)

Historic Antique Row
Billed as the city's Antique Row, Pine Street is home to numerous high-end stores and curiosity shops that cater to seasoned and novice collectors alike. But don't let the name fool you. Wedged in between the antique stores here are furniture boutiques that display handmade works created either in the back studio or in some far-flung country. Though Antique Row begins at the Avenue of the Arts (Broad Street) and continues eastward in the direction of the Pennsylvania Hospital, it's between 11th and 9th Streets that you'll find the greatest concentration of galleries, furniture stores and the like. Treat yourself to a visit to Antique Row and see what the fuss is all about. ((215)339-0882)

AIA Bookstore and Design Center
You may not think a gift shop run by the American Institute of Architects to be a go-to place for shopping. But in Philadelphia it is, and when we say it's stocked with gifts for everyone, we mean it's stocked with gifts for EVERYONE. Richly hued tabletop books about Moroccan design, Philadelphia-themed neck ties, newfangled vegetable peelers, all the Legos you could ever want, beautifully bound books for journaling, and even chimpanzee puppets (okay, we're not quite sure what that has to do with architecture, either). In all seriousness, what ties these items together is that they all celebrate or inspire creativity. If you're in town around the holidays, this can be a one-stop shop for everyone on your list, as it claims the city's largest and most unique collection of cards and ornaments. (215.569.3188)

Located in the former John Wanamaker building, this store is a mainstay in the Philadelphia shopping scene. For more than 100 years, it has welcomed shoppers to the area, under several names. Housed in the building is the largest functioning and playable instrument in the world - the grand pipe organ - which was installed in 1904. Also worth noting in this building is the incredible giant Wannamaker eagle statue located in the Grand Court. Today, modern shoppers an take advantage of the usual Macy's products and services in this iconic location. There are also several tours that are available to find out more about this giant in the Philadelphia retail scene. (215-241-9000)

9th Street Italian Market
Billed as the oldest and largest working market in the US, historic 9th Street looks, sounds and smells more or less as it did when it was founded in the early 1900s. In those days, if you were on the quest for fresh cheese, pastries, herbs, produce, seafood, meats and pastas, you could buy it from sidewalk carts and store-front businesses along the street. Today's outdoor market, which runs from Wharton to Fitzwater streets, continues to fill that niche. What's more, visitors also find folks vending everything from cookware to antiques, jewelry to sporting goods both indoors and on the sidewalk. Over the past several years more immigrant groups have moved in and opened up their shops, so now this isn't just the best place to buy fresh gnocchi, you can now also lunch on authentic Vietnamese sandwiches and spicy tacos. Plan to hit the market in the morning. (215-922-1766)

King of Prussia Mall
Home to more 400 stores, boutiques and restaurants, King of Prussia Mall is one of the country's largest shopping centers. Recognized as the East Coast's premier shopping destination, this upscale retail complex is anchored by well-known powerhouses like Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, Sears and JCPenney. Additional retailers located in the center include Lilly Pulitzer, Ann Taylor, Tory Burch, LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, Apple, Banana Republic, Bose and Coach, among others. There are also more than 40 dining options inside the mall, from bigger-name sit-down restaurants such as TGIFriday's, to smaller quick-eats as well as dessert and coffee options. (610-265-5727)

Jeweler's Row
Comprised of more than 300 stores, this is the oldest diamond district in the country, with many stores under their fifth generation of family ownership. Stores are located on Sansom Street between 7th and 8th, and on 8th Street between Chestnut and Walnut. Shoppers can wander from one shop to the next to bargain hunt, or to search for that special piece with the look they've been dreaming about. Certainly a popular spot for those looking to purchase engagement or wedding rings, the area is home to such names as Robbins Diamonds, Safian & Rudolph Jewelers, Max Weiner Fine Jewelers and Barsky Diamonds.

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Maps and Directions

Ubiq 10Best List Arrow
Type: Shoes and Accessories
Neighborhood: Center City
The Little Apple 10Best List Arrow
Type: Boutique, Gift Stores, Vintage Clothing Stores
Neighborhood: Manayunk
Shops at Liberty Place 10Best List Arrow
Type: Shopping Centers
Neighborhood: Center City
Boyds 10Best List Arrow
Type: Boutique, Clothing Stores, Haute Couture, Men's Clothing, Shoes and Accessories, Women's Clothing
Neighborhood: Rittenhouse Square
Historic Antique Row 10Best List Arrow
Type: Antique Shops, Shopping Districts
Neighborhood: Center City
AIA Bookstore and Design Center 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Galleries, Bookstores, Fine Craft Galleries, Furniture / Home Decor
Macy's 10Best List Arrow
Type: Department Stores
Neighborhood: Center City
9th Street Italian Market 10Best List Arrow
Type: Food / Gourmet Stores, Public Markets
Neighborhood: South Philly
King of Prussia Mall 10Best List Arrow
Type: Malls, Shopping Centers
Neighborhood: King Of Prussia
Jeweler's Row 10Best List Arrow
Type: Jewelry Stores
Neighborhood: Center City
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