Orchard Road, Rua Oscar Freire, Kohlmarkt, Via Montenapoleone are some of the most prestigious shopping streets that are also hugely popular among tourists. Many travelers, foreign or domestic, including shopping in their itinerary and many of them are not only after souvenirs. Fashion, jewelry, and many other luxurious items are often on the list. Tourism Review presents the most important yet iconic streets for shopping tourism.
Regent Street, London
Smaller than Oxford Street, its immediate rival but, unlike it, Regent Street was founded with the intention of becoming a commercial street. More elegant and exclusive than the former, the street’s architecture is another plus to going shopping or simply browse in one of its 100 stores, some as interesting as the one dedicated to Apple (the first in Europe) or Hamleys, the oldest and largest toy store in the world.
The Romans already turned this venue into one of the main roads and, years later, personalities such as Mozart, Haydn or Chopin chose the street for their residence. But perhaps it was the royal court jewelers who lived here that made Kohlmarkt the most exclusive street in the Austrian capital. Walking around the bright shop windows of Tiffany’s or Chopard, or among Austrian shops like Gadner or Schullin, with views to the Hofburg palace dome, is a sight to behold.
Orchard Road, Singapore
How would you like to enter one of the largest shopping centers in the world, with over 800,000 square meters? This is what you’ll experience on Orchard Road, the greatest avenue of the capital which traded its orchid plantations (hence the name) for an exclusive garden dedicated to fashion, with more than 5,000 establishments. Here, sculptures and glass facades create a vibrant atmosphere, and veteran shopping malls, such as Tangs, share the road with newcomers like ION Orchard, a futuristic area with an art gallery.
Nanjing Road, Shanghai
One of the largest shopping streets around the world is the Nanjing Road, an extensive shopping paradise that starts in the center of Shanghai, extending from east to west. Vibrant and intense, the history of this Chinese city seems to be found across its 6,340 square kilometers, from communism and Cultural Revolution, to the decadent exoticism that the country lived in the 1920s, periods you’ll be able to revisit by watching the neon lights show. Divided into two parts, east, and west (the latter focusing on the most luxurious side), the commercial catalog of this road is virtually endless, and you may even enter a fake market – with period replicas – to find authentic silk or porcelain, or the new items of Versace. And all while the neighbors practice Tai Chi.
In addition to being one of the most recognized locations on the planet, Ginza, one of the most luxurious streets of Tokyo, is complemented by some Japanese peculiarities, such as shops specializing in urban tribes: anime lovers, gothic lolita, etc… and everything you can imagine about the future of electronics. The buildings, designed by architects such as Renzo Piano (responsible for the Maison Hermès flagship), or Kume Sekkei (GAP’s signature building), also adds glamour to this cosmopolitan neighborhood.
Via Montenapoleone, Milan
In the north-east of Milan, the mansions of Montenapoleone (or Monte Napo, for those familiar with it), were frequently visited by figures like Verdi (it is said that he composed Nabucco, his famous opera, in this area) and Napoleon himself, from whom the place takes its name. But this elegant Italian road is today the backbone of the Quadrilatero della Moda, a fashion district where even store clerks look like models.
Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles
Anyone familiar with the famous Julia Roberts movie ‘Pretty Woman’ knows this street, home to Giorgio Beverly Hills and Gucci. It is a shopping street that loves fashion so much that it even has its own walk with bronze plaques, the Walk of Style, honoring fashion gurus.
The historical heritage is evident in a street where everything is celebrated: from political speeches to sports competitions (the Tour de France ends here). But if Champs-Élysées is famous for something, is for its shopping marathons. In the 2-kilometer walk that separates Place de la Concorde from the Arc of Triumph, you can find major flagship stores such as Louis Vuitton or Tiffany & Co., as well as other iconic establishments, including Cartier, Dior, Gucci, Valentino, or even Ferrari, which chose this location for its boutique. Additionally, the street makes things convenient: free Wi-Fi access and the street becomes a pedestrian zone every first Sunday of the month.
According to cosmetic manufacturers, Korean women spend twice as much on makeup than the rest of the world. With these figures, it’s not surprising to see that Myeongdong, the great commercial area of the South Korean capital, is a paradise of beauty parlors. Next to the more western environment of Gangnam, the other commercial district, there is a lot of activity here, and the most prominent stores place museums, historic buildings, and architectural jewels at the service of this unconditional love for beauty.
Perhaps its literal translation, ‘railway station street’, doesn’t offer an idea of the extraordinary luxury that can be found in the 1.4 km of Bahnhofstrasse. However, this commercial avenue usually tops the ranking of the most expensive shopping streets in the world. Since it came to existence (back in 1864, when the city fortifications were demolished), it offers an elegant walk from the central station to the lake, stopping at the two largest banks of the country, an adorable confectionery – Sprüngli – and, of course, access to all the major fashion and jewelry establishments.