Holiday shopping doesn't have to be a drag. It's easy to feel overwhelmed when creating your list and checking it twice, but the experience of picking out all of those special gifts should be remembered not hated. These four cities across the United States offer holiday cheer, world-renowned shops, and plenty of attractions for when the shopping is done.
San Francisco, California
Photo credit: Ken Lund
Not exactly seeking a winter wonderland this holiday season? Head to San Francisco for a destination that sees average temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees and a very slim chance of snow. Even better than not having to shovel is the huge selection of shops ranging from the most popular designer boutiques at Union Square to the quirky stores in the Mission District. Shop for upscale vintage items in the Upper Haight, big name brands at the Embarcadero, and budget-friendly exotic gifts in Chinatown. Shopping streets span the entire city of San Fran, making it easy to shop, see the sights, and dine at world-class restaurants in a single day.
Just 20 minutes south of Minneapolis is the largest mall in the country, the Mall of America. Avid shoppers will argue this is the best place in the U.S. to complete your shopping list and fill up on holiday cheer too. Every year, the mall is festively decked with a towering Christmas tree, garlands, thousands of holiday lights, and of course, Santa Claus. After exploring the extravagant mall, filled with 520 shops, thrill rides, and even the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, head back to the city to check out Macy's annual Santaland display, the beloved Holidazzle parade, and a long list of other holiday events.
Photo credit: MassTravel
Historic Boston, Mass., is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with citywide decorations, skating rinks, carolers, and cheerful window displays during the holiday season. It's one of the best cities in the country for embracing the spirit of the holidays and fulfilling your shopping list on foot.
Peruse the decorated designer stores on Newbury Street, shop the big brands at the Prudential Center, or pick up trinkets and British snacks from the vendors at the historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Put down your shopping bags and fall back in love with the holidays at a Holiday Pops concert, a performance of The Nutcracker, or one of many other annual Boston Christmas events.
New York City, New York
You've probably seen New York City at Christmas time in the movies, but it's something that needs to be experienced in person to be truly understood. The holiday season in New York City is bound to make you feel like a kid again, with twinkling gold lights, miniature holiday villages, and the iconic annual window display at Macy's. Lord and Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, and Bloomingdale's will also lure you in with unforgettable holiday window scenes.
But you'll want to stray from the big name stores to the European-style pop-up shops of the open-air holiday market in Bryant Park or the iconic Union Square Holiday Market. Don't forget to ice skate at Rockefeller Center, gaze up at the carefully decorated Empire State Building, stroll through snow-covered Central Park, and experience some of the Big Apple's most famous holiday activities before heading home.
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