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Expert Tips

 

The 10Best 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!


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Ubiq


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).

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Shoes can make the man - or woman. For niche shoppers with an eye for footwear, this place is unbeatable.

Sharon's expert tip: Don't be intimidated if your streetwear lingo and knowledge aren't up-to-the-second – Ubiq scores top marks for its attentive and friendly customer service.

Read more about Ubiq →




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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Located in trendy Manayunk, The Little Apple is the perfect shop for unique gift-giving ideas.

Sharon's expert tip: Say hello to the owner's cute little dog when you visit.

Read more about The Little Apple →


Shops at Liberty Place
Photo courtesy of The 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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Located in the heart of Center City, this shopping venue is perfect for a quick gift or to spend some downtime.

Sharon's expert tip: In the mood for some fun? Stop by the customer service desk to find out if there are any prize give-aways taking place.

Read more about Shops at Liberty Place →


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Chestnut Hill


It can often be a drag to go shopping and find that shops carry similar things, or things that just don't seem all that original or exciting. Enter Roots in lovely little Chestnut Hill that aims to displace that boring shopping dilemma. This store carries cute items, fashion-forward clothing and great gift ideas, and is just a fun place to visit. Besides being in quaint Chestnut Hill, the shop is perfect for picking up a unique item that you perhaps wouldn't find somewhere else. Shop for hats, tops, accessories, purses or other items to complete your look.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Everyone needs that one unique store to add to their list of favorite places to check out. Roots makes shopping fun again.

Sharon's expert tip: Be sure to get on their mailing list, as sales here are not usually advertised.

Read more about Roots →


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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Shopping shouldn't boring, and Antique Row does a great job of keeping things fun and interesting.

Sharon's expert tip: After you're done browsing, walk about three blocks north to Midtown Village, home to some of the best new restaurants in town.

Read more about Historic Antique Row →


AIA Bookstore and Design Center
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Center for Architecture


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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Most unique shopping venue in Philadelphia? Perhaps not, but this place is definitely worth a look for those hard-to-buy-for folks.

Sharon's expert tip: If you're into architecture and design, you should also consider touring Philadelphia's magnificent City Hall (the largest masonry structure in the world) and the traffic-stopping Masonic Temple, both of which are three blocks from the shop.

Read more about AIA Bookstore and Design Center →


Reading Terminal Market


First opened in 1892, the Reading Terminal Market is a great place for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack. Just about any time of the day is perfect for a bite or two from this incredible culinary mecca. Several restaurants serve a full sit-down meal, but if your appetite is for something lighter, there are numerous bakeries, sandwich shops and organic produce vendors, as well as a beer garden. If shopping is your thing, you'll love the market � books, specialty foods, Pennsylvania Dutch products, Irish gifts, plants, and housewares are among the items on offer. It truly has to be seen to be appreciated, and then you'll be planning your return visit.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: This store is a must-visit for architecture buffs, as well as shoppers. It has more than 100 years of history as a retailer.

Local Expert tip: Don't forget to grab a sample or two as you browse. The food is a delicious as it looks.

Read more about Reading Terminal Market →


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King Of Prussia
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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: When it comes to shopping, there's no bigger or better place in the Philadelphia area to feed your shopping obsession.

Sharon's expert tip: If you're traveling with a non-shopper, let him/her know to bring a laptop or mobile device to take advantage of the free WiFi.

Read more about King of Prussia Mall →


9th Street Italian Market
Photo courtesy of The South 9th Street Business Men's Association


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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: This little chunk of Italian South Philly is a great place to experience the old-school Philadelphia food scene.

Sharon's expert tip: For a real insider's view of the local ethnic scene, walk a few blocks farther south down Passyunk Avenue – past the singing fountain – to see caged live animals in queue to be turned into food.

Read more about 9th Street Italian Market →


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.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Shoppers looking for that special piece of jewelry in Philadelphia know to visit this hotspot for one-of-a-kind pieces that shine.

Sharon's expert tip: Visit here not only for new pieces of jewelry, but also for alterations and changes to existing items you may have.

Read more about Jeweler's Row →


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