50 Best Towns for Christmas Shopping

chicago-illinois
Image Source 

By Kristen Fescoe
Published December, 2014

Throughout the United States there are a range of cities offering some of the best Christmas Shopping in the World. Some of these are large cities, offering boutiques, specialty shops and upscale clothing stores as well as department stores and larger retail stores. Others making the top fifty list include smaller towns that embody the Christmas Spirit that makes the Holiday Shopping tradition one we all cherish. Regardless of the kind of Christmas shopping experience you are looking for, the cities included in this list offer an exciting Christmas shopping opportunity.

Ranking Methodology

This ranking list has been created to outline the top fifty cities and towns in the United States, for top-notch Christmas shopping opportunities, according to a combination of several factors. Attention was specifically paid to those cities or towns who had received ranking or inclusion by one of the most esteemed ranking bodies for travel and shopping. These include the Travel ChannelForbes Travel and CNN Travel. Next, consideration was given to the number of Retail Locations found in the county (those retails locations found within a short drive). The most accurate data on the number of retail establishments by region is data that includes an entire county, therefore this data was chosen. The next step was to consider the number of Shopping Malls or Shopping Centers within twenty-five miles and how many Outlet Malls could be found within an approximate hour or less drive. Another issue that was weighed into the ranking was the total sales tax in each city (including state, county and local tax rates). Special attention was paid to those cities that have low or no sales tax. A final evaluation when choosing the top fifty cities was the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of each city. This data, provided by the United State Bureau of Labor Statistics, produces monthly or annual data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services. We also note special Christmas festivities, traditions and events of interest. The goal of this ranking list is to summarize the fifty cities or towns that offer consumers the best Christmas Shopping experience the country has to offer.

Ranking Top 50 US Cities for Christmas Shopping

#50 – Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage-Alaska-Best-Christmas-Shopping

Image Source

Anchorage County

2013 Population: 291,826

City Website

Who would ever guess that a city in Alaska could make a top fifty list for shopping? With a number of great Christmas events and festivals, as well as eclectic shopping opportunities, Anchorage Alaska is an excellent place to start checking names off of your holiday shopping list. The city boasts five shopping outlets and almost 8,500 retailers. Once you need a break from shopping you can take part in one of these Holiday Festivities:

  • Christmas Arts and Crafts Emporium
– Christmas displays and booths selling goods made by Alaskan artists and crafters
  • The Nutcracker
- The classic ballet is a perfect Christmas tradition for the whole family
  • Holiday Train
- This is a festival Christmas train ride aboard the Alaska Railroad, with a stop for some fun in Seward, Alaska
  • Family Holiday Pops Concert -
A beautiful presentation of concert and caroling presented by The Anchorage Concert Chorus and the Holiday Pops Orchestra

Sales Tax: 0%
Number of Retail Locations: 8,428
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 5
Number of Shopping Outlets: 0
Consumer Price Index: Data Unavailable
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Area Vibes – Top 10 States With Lowest Income and Sales Tax Rates

#49 – Tilton, New Hampshire

Tilton-New-Hampshire-Best-Christmas-Shopping

Image Source

Belknap County

2013 Population: 3,567

City Website

New Hampshire is one of the fortunate states to enjoy tax-free shopping. The city of Tilton is conveniently located within a short car ride of nine shopping malls and six outlet malls. When you combine this with some of local retailers, you have a perfect holiday shopping experience. In addition to premier shopping, visitors can enjoy some of the wonderful Christmas Events found throughout the town. Some of these include Christmas in the Castle in Moultonborough, driving on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, enjoying two full miles of Christmas lights at the Gift of Lights or a railway adventure at either the Conway Scenic Railroad in Conway or The Hobo Railroad in Lincoln (where you can board the Polar Express, a four dimensional interactive experience that makes you feel like you are at the North Pole).

Sales Tax: 0%
Number of Retail Locations: 1,788
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 9
Number of Shopping Outlets: 6
Consumer Price Index: 255.88
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Area Vibes – Top 10 States With Lowest Income and Sales Tax Rates

#48 – Portland, Oregon

Portland-Oregon-Best-Christmas-Shopping

Image Source

Multnomah County

2013 Population: 609,456

City Website

After you have experienced the shopping malls, outlet stores, local boutiques and large retailers, you can take a break from shopping to explore all that Portland has to offer for the holidays. There are a variety of fun and exciting things to do in Portland during the Christmas season, including Christmas light displays, Holiday events, and Christmas music of all kinds. You can enjoy Christmas Lights at the Oregon Zoo or watch the Portland Christmas Ship Parade. The annual tree lighting ceremony kicks off each Christmas holiday season in Portland.

Sales Tax: 0%
Number of Retail Locations: 24,664
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 5
Number of Shopping Outlets: 2
Consumer Price Index: 241.62
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Area Vibes – Top 10 States With Lowest Income and Sales Tax Rates

#47 – Cheyenne, Wyoming

cheyenne-wyoming-Best-Christmas-Shopping

Image Source

Laramie County

2013 Population: 59,466

City Website

With over 28 festive holiday events found throughout the city, Cheyenne offers a unique holiday experience to visitors. No matter what your idea of the perfect Christmas Shopping may be, you can find what you are looking for in Cheyenne. There are a variety of both indoor and outdoor shopping locations. Once you have had your fill of shopping, you can take a break  to enjoy the many holiday hot spots. Much of what the city has to offer is a very unique and eclectic experience.

Sales Tax: 0%
Number of Retail Locations: 2,780
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 3
Number of Shopping Outlets: 0
Consumer Price Index:147.73
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Area Vibes – Top 10 States With Lowest Income and Sales Tax Rates

#46 – Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid-City-South-Dakota-Best-Christmas-Shopping

Image Source

Pennington County

2013 Population: 67,956

City Website

Rapid City, South Dakota made the top fifty list in large part due to its endless charm and wonder throughout the holiday season. In addition to the malls and retailers, the town is home to the year-round Christmas destination known as The Christmas Village. The store is more than just a store, displaying and selling a wide variety of Christmas decorations and ornaments for all holiday tastes traditions. The store first opened in 1999, and since that time it has blossomed into a destination for both visitors and residents alike.

Sales Tax: 0%
Number of Retail Locations: 3,577
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 3
Number of Shopping Outlets: 0
Consumer Price Index: 147.52
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Area Vibes – Top 10 States With Lowest Income and Sales Tax Rates

#45 – West Yellowstone, Montana

West-yellowstone-montana-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Gallatin County

2013 Population: 1,271

City Website

Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park are both surprised and impressed at how much West Yellowstone has to offer. In addition to the natural beauty of the park, visitors can enjoy charming lodging, top-notch shopping and a warm holiday experience. Shopping in West Yellowstone is a relaxed experience without all of the stressful hustle and bustle. Shoppers can enjoy a slower pace on West Yellowstone’s streets while finding an assortment of stores, art galleries and specialty shops. The town is proud of its old-fashioned friendliness and courtesy found throughout the entire town.

Sales Tax: 0%
Number of Retail Locations: 4,567
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 5
Number of Shopping Outlets: 2
Consumer Price Index: 235.85
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Area Vibes – Top 10 States With Lowest Income and Sales Tax Rates

#44 – Newark, Delaware

newark-delaware-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

New Castle County

2013 Population: 31,454

City Website

Delaware is another state lucky enough to enjoy tax-free shopping. Within a one-hour drive you can enjoy almost twenty different shopping malls, shopping centers and outlet malls. With no sales tax, this leaves you free to finish even more of your Christmas shopping. In addition to the malls and large shopping center, Newark also has a number of local retailers, art galleries, historic downtown areas and boutique shopping. The combination of varied shopping opportunities and tax-free shopping makes Newark a perfect Christmas shopping Destination.

Sales Tax: 0%
Number of Retail Locations: 15,448
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 13
Number of Shopping Outlets: 5
Consumer Price Index: 253.56
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Area Vibes – Top 10 States With Lowest Income and Sales Tax Rates

#43 – Washington, District of Columbia

washington-dc-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

2013 Population: 646,449

City Website

The Nation’s Capital is one of the loveliest cities to visit for the holidays. From the National Christmas Tree near The White House to various holiday markets throughout the city, there is so much for visitors to do. Fortunately the months of November and December are temperate in Washington making outdoor shopping an option. Avid shoppers can find a number of malls, shopping centers and outlets with some of the most widely known designers. In addition to the seasonal activities, visitors can take advantage of the national monuments and public buildings, many of which are decorated for the season.

Sales Tax: 5.75%
Number of Retail Locations: 21,545
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 42
Number of Shopping Outlets: 5
Consumer Price Index: 155.52
Additional Rankings or Commendations: None

#42 – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg-Pennsylvania-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Adams County

2013 Population: 12,305

City Website

Gettysburg is a wonderful historical landmark to visit any time of year. However, holidays in Gettysburg are a special time of year. The Christmas holiday season begins at the conclusion of Thanksgiving with the Annual Gettysburg Christmas Parade. Over the course of the next four weeks visitors can enjoy concerts, open houses, special holiday displays and beautiful decorations. There are live performances at the historic Majestic Theater, lodgings to enjoy at Liberty Mountain Resort and nearby skiing, snowboarding or snow tubing. Just two miles outside of historic Gettysburg are the Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg, offering 70 retailer locations for perfect holiday shopping.

Sales Tax: 6%
Number of Retail Locations: 1,698
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 2
Number of Shopping Outlets: 1
Consumer Price Index: 245.87
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Best US Outlet Mall Destinations List

#41 – San Marcos, Texas

san-marcos-texas-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Hays County

2013 Population: 54,076

City Website

In addition to being home to one of the top shopping outlet centers in the country, San Marcos Texas offers a variety of shopping experiences. Everything from unique local shops with eclectic goods to upscale boutiques, shoppers can check everyone off their list. San Marco’s Premier Outlets offers 145 stores with many major designers and retailers.

Sales Tax: 8.25%
Number of Retail Locations: 3,224
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 9
Number of Shopping Outlets: 1
Consumer Price Index:219.38
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Best US Outlet Mall Destinations List

#40 – Shelburne, Vermont

shelburne-vermont-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Chittenden County

2013 Population: 7,144

City Website

Shelburne is a small town that welcomes Christmas visitors with the warmth of a Vermont Christmas. The Christmas Loft is one of the top Christmas store destinations in the country. The store has six locations with one of the largest in Shelburne. It features close to life-size, animated New England Christmas villages, each one complete with a church, a country store, a covered bridge, and villagers hurrying to complete holiday chores. You can see Santa and his reindeer hovering overhead.

Sales Tax: 6%
Number of Retail Locations: 5,431
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 2
Number of Shopping Outlets:1
Consumer Price Index:253.56
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
CNN Travel Five to Go: Five Festive Christmas Stores Worth Visiting

#39 – Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

pigeon-forge-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Sevier County

2013 Population: 5,875

City Website

Pigeon Forge Tennessee is home to another of the country’s most beloved Christmas store destination. The Incredible Christmas Place is a twenty-two year old “gift shop”. This 43,000 square foot location is a gorgeous holiday destination and even has its own hotel! Pigeon Forge is also home to Winterfest, a display of lights and winter fun in the Smoky Mountains. From November through February, visitors can enjoy the imaginative light displays. This festivals sponsors activities in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and small towns nestled near the Smoky Mountains.

Sales Tax: 9.75%
Number of Retail Locations: 2,493
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 4
Number of Shopping Outlets: 2
Consumer Price Index: 238.63
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
CNN Travel Five to Go: Five Festive Christmas Stores Worth Visiting

#38 – North Conway, New Hampshire

north-conway-new-hampshire-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Carrol County

2013 Population: 2,349

City Website

North Conway is home to one of the Christmas Loft’s six year round locations. In addition to this magnificent Christmas store experience, the county is also home to the Settlers Crossing Mall, White Mountain Outlet Stores and the Settlers Green Outlet Village. There are many excellent stores to explore including antiques, art, clothing, sporting goods, home furnishing, gifts and much, much more.

Sales Tax: 0%
Number of Retail Locations: 1,820
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 5
Number of Shopping Outlets: 2
Consumer Price Index: 255.88
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
CNN Travel Five to Go: Five Festive Christmas Stores Worth Visiting

#37 – Bloomington, Minnesota

Bloomington-Minnesota-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Hennepin County

2013 Population: 86,319

City Website

While Bloomington is most widely recognized for its Mall of America, there is so much more than just one shopping destination. There are almost 40,000 retail locations within the country and 12 individual shopping malls. There are many fun Christmas events including the Chimes of Christmas, a festive holiday show that has been enjoyed by many since the 1950’s. There is also the beautiful Downtown Canopy of Lights, which further enhances your shopping experience.

Sales Tax: 7.275%
Number of Retail Locations: 38,620
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 12
Number of Shopping Outlets: 1
Consumer Price Index: 146.49
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Top 10 US Malls

#36 – Florida City, Florida

florida-city-florida-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Miami-Dade County

2013 Population: 11,977

City Website

Florida City is home to one of the most expansive outlet mall in the state of Florida, the Florida Keys Outlet Center. This outlet mall offers 55 retail stores, many of which are top retailers in the country. The low sales tax and high number of retailers in the county makes Florida City an excellent Christmas Shopping Destination.

Sales Tax: 6%
Number of Retail Locations: 74,585
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 9
Number of Shopping Outlets:1
Consumer Price Index: 243.43
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Best US Outlet Mall Destinations List

#35 – Lodi, Ohio

lodi-ohio-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Medina County

2013 Population: 2,781

City Website

The small town of Lodi Ohio offers up big charm in the holiday season. In addition to many small town shops and boutiques, the town quarters the Lodi Station Outlet Mall. This outlet mall is a 311,478 square-foot, decorated with turn of the century charm. Shoppers can view vintage trains while enjoying 60 fabulous outlet stores. Lodi Station Outlets feature a lineup of nationally known retail brands. Medina county offers residents and visitors many different holiday events, parades, and celebration.

Sales Tax: 6.75%
Number of Retail Locations: 2,794
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 3
Number of Shopping Outlets: 1
Consumer Price Index: 221.24
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Best US Outlet Mall Destinations List

#34 – King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania

king-of-prussia-pennsylvania-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Montgomery County

2013 Population: 19,936

City Website

The King of Prussia mall is one of the largest in the country. The four story-shopping mecca offers stores ranging from small boutiques to large department stores, and everything in between. During the holiday season the mall is decorated beautifully and shoppers can enjoy carolers who stroll through the mall. The King of Prussia area is also home to various shopping centers, retail stores, restaurants and is located a short drive from the metropolitan area of Philadelphia.

Sales Tax: 6%
Number of Retail Locations: 25,632
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 31
Number of Shopping Outlets: 1
Consumer Price Index: 245.87
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Top 10 US Malls

#33 – San Francisco, California

san-francisco-california-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

San Francisco County

2013 Population: 837,442

City Website

San Francisco is referred to as the City by the Bay and this beautiful city becomes even more magical during the holiday season. With thousands of shopping prospects visitors have an array of ways to complete their holiday shopping. In addition to shopping, there are many other enjoyable holiday opportunities including:

  • Holiday Lights and Sights Boat Parade
  • Over 60 boats decorated with thousands of lights cruise along the San Francisco Bay
  • Union Street Tree Lighting
  • Macy’s Annual Tree Lighting in Union Square
  • Moscone’s Winter Wonderland Party
  • “The Snowman” at Davies Symphony Hall
  • Union Street Fantasy of Lights
  • Holiday Lights Trolley Tour

Sales Tax: 9.5%
Number of Retail Locations: 30,924
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 33
Number of Shopping Outlets: 6
Consumer Price Index: 241.62
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #25 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#32 – El Paso, Texas

el-paso-texas-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

El Paso County

2013 Population: 674,433

City Website

El Paso promotes the festive holiday spirit with more than 20 holiday festivals, parades and events. When the shopping is complete you can take some time, relax and enjoy some of these wonderful Texas holiday traditions. They range from ballet, to theater to outdoors festivals. All are excellent ways to enjoy the Christmas season.

Sales Tax: 8.25%
Number of Retail Locations: 13,494
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 13
Number of Shopping Outlets: 1
Consumer Price Index: 219.38
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #21 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#31 – Nashville, Tennessee

nasheville-tennessee-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Davidson County

2013 Population: 626,681

City Website

Nashville is best known for music and excellent food. While these are true, the city also offers top notch shopping. During the Christmas season the city becomes magical. The year round bright city lights turn from “honkytonk neon gold” to festive holiday reds, greens, gold and silver. There are hundreds of fun filled holiday events in Nashville.

Sales Tax: 9.25%
Number of Retail Locations: 17,809
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 10
Number of Shopping Outlets: 6
Consumer Price Index: 232.27
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #19 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#30 – Memphis, Tennessee

memphis-tennessee-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Shelby County

2013 Population: 646,889

City Website

Memphis is best knowing for being the hold of world renowned Graceland. Throughout the city holiday shoppers can choose from shopping malls, outlet stores, large retailers or small local boutiques and shops. In addition to shopping, visitors can take in some holiday cheer along Beale Street, or visit Graceland to experience a rock-and-roll holidays. There is a beautiful Christmas vibe throughout the entire city complete with music, lights and decorations.

Sales Tax: 9.25%
Number of Retail Locations: 19,487
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 24
Number of Shopping Outlets: 1
Consumer Price Index: 232.27
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #23 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#29 – San Jose, California

san-jose-california-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Santa Clara County

2013 Population: 1.001 million

City Website

Christmas in San Jose is a fun-filled holiday experience. The downtown area has over 100 restaurants and retailers. Each year these retailers participate in the annual Downtown Holiday Festival, which offers holiday themes events, performances and attractions. There is also Christmas in the Park where visitors and residents can enjoy special events to help make the holidays special. There are movie nights featuring holiday movies. There is a Breakfast with Santa event at the Fairmont. From holiday shopping to various holiday events, there is something for everyone.

Sales Tax: 9.25%
Number of Retail Locations: 44,568
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 18
Number of Shopping Outlets: 7
Consumer Price Index: 243.62
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #20 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#28 – Frankenmuth, Michigan

frankenmuth-michigan-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Saginaw County

2013 Population: 4,944

City Website

Frankenmuth Michigan is a small town with lots to do at the holidays. The town offers Bavarian themed festivities throughout the year. During the Christmas season the town welcomes visitors with unique Bavarian warmth. This warmth and generosity can be seen in the fantastic food, the eclectic shopping and the exceptional entertainment. The town is full of historical beauty and charm and is an ideal getaway at the holidays.

Sales Tax: 6%
Number of Retail Locations: 4,375
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 4
Number of Shopping Outlets: 2
Consumer Price Index: 223.77
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
CNN Travel Five to Go: Five Festive Christmas Stores Worth Visiting

#27 – Seattle, Washington

seattle-washington-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

King County

2013 Population: 608,660

City Website

Holiday shopping in Seattle is an exciting and exceptional opportunity. The city offers every kind of shop or store you can think of. No matter who is on your Christmas list you will be able to find the perfect gift. In addition to exceptional shopping you can enjoy many holiday festivities. There is an annual holiday parade and tree lighting ceremony, giant gingerbread displays and indoor snow showers. Downtown Seattle offers merriment throughout the season. Some of these include:

  • Festival of Trees
  • A Christmas Story, A Musical
  • Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton
  • Seattle Teddy Bear Suite at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel
  • Macy’s Holiday Parade
  • Westlake Center Tree Lighting
  • Macy’s Star Lighting and Fireworks
  • Snow Showers Inside Pacific Place
  • A Christmas Story’s Holiday Carousel
  • Seattle Center Winterfest
  • Magic in the Market
  • Diving Santa at the Aquarium

Sales Tax: 8.75%
Number of Retail Locations: 62,569
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 26
Number of Shopping Outlets: 3
Consumer Price Index: 241.62
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #23 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#26 – Littleton, Colorado

littleton-colorado-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Jefferson County

2013 Population: 41,737

City Website

Littleton Colorado is a town filled with both indoor and outdoor holiday cheer. There are a number of malls, shopping centers and outlet malls to choose from. One of the brightest spots on the map in this town is the Christmas Store Destination Saint Nicks. This family owned and operated Christmas store features 22 rooms with more than 90 themed Christmas trees and thousands of ornaments and collectibles from around the world. They specialize in artificial trees and tree lights for all decorating needs.

Sales Tax: 7.5%
Number of Retail Locations: 15,986
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 17
Number of Shopping Outlets: 2
Consumer Price Index: 241.62
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
CNN Travel Five to Go: Five Festive Christmas Stores Worth Visiting

#25 – Lake Orion, Michigan

lake-orion-michigan-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Oakland County

2013 Population: 2,973

City Website

The small town of Lake Orion is a unique, historic central business district. The downtown village is home to important historic residential and commercial architecture, and has been designated as a National Register Historic District. The Downtown area is a hot spot for many different annual events. The highlight of the town is Olde World Canterbury Village, a distinctive Christmas Store Destination. The historical landmark spread across twenty-one acres of land and is founded on the idea of providing shoppers with the ultimate Christmas shopping experience. The store was built in the European, “half-timbered” architecture style, giving shopper an “olde world” feeling as you walk the grounds and visit the wide array of holiday themed shops.

Sales Tax: 6%
Number of Retail Locations: 38,205
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 8
Number of Shopping Outlets: 7
Consumer Price Index: 223.77
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
CNN Travel Five to Go: Five Festive Christmas Stores Worth Visiting

#24 – Destin, Florida

destin-florida-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Okaloosa County

2013 Population: 12,305

City Website

Destin Florida is home to the Silver Sands Outlet Mall. The mall has more than 100 including some of the most popular designers in the world. The mall not only offers top-notch shopping but also sponsors events throughout the year. During the holiday season both the Silver Sands Outlet Mall and the city of Destin offers a festive holiday experience.

Sales Tax: 6%
Number of Retail Locations: 4,961
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 6
Number of Shopping Outlets: 3
Consumer Price Index: 243.43
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Best US Outlet Mall Destinations List

#23 – Sunrise, Florida

sunrise-florida-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Broward County

2013 Population: 90,116

City Website

Sunrise Florida is home to Sawgrass Mills, an extensive shopping experience. The mall is comprised of three unique shopping experiences with a combination of indoor and outdoor shopping venues. There are both lower-priced and high-end fashion outposts found throughout the mall as well as many outlet stores. In addition to the mall, Sunrise has several malls, shopping centers and outlet malls nearby. Holiday shoppers can find a gift for everyone on their list.

Sales Tax: 6%
Number of Retail Locations: 55,700
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 24
Number of Shopping Outlets: 9
Consumer Price Index: 243.43
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Top 10 US Malls

#22 – Branson, Missouri

branson-missouri-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Stone and Tany County

2013 Population: 11,064

City Website

Branson Missouri is a fun, family destination no matter what time of year. Families can enjoy fun-filled activities like Dolly Parton’s famous Dollywood amusement park, Guinness World Records Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum and NASCAR Speedpark. The Branson Tanger Outlet is one of the top outlet malls in the country. In a short car ride, shoppers can experience many different malls and outlet centers. During the holidays there is even more to do. With festivals, parades, theater and holiday activities, there is holiday fun for the whole family.

Sales Tax: 7.6%
Number of Retail Locations: 2,405
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 9
Number of Shopping Outlets: 4
Consumer Price Index: 223.77
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Best US Outlet Mall Destinations List

#21 – Houston, Texas

houston-texas-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Harris County

2013 Population: 24,173

City Website

Houston Texas has become a world class shopping Mecca. With a wide variety of malls and retailers, holiday shoppers can find just about anything they are looking for. The city has some of the most unique and interesting local boutiques and shops available. Houston is also home to The Galleria, a mammoth shopping experience. The Galleria is more than just a typical mall. There are shops, retailers, restaurants, a hotel, and even an ice skating rink.

Sales Tax: 8.25%
Number of Retail Locations: 24,173
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 35
Number of Shopping Outlets: 5
Consumer Price Index: 214.67
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Top 10 US Malls
Forbes #1 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#20 – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

rehoboth-beach-delaware-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Sussex County

2013 Population: 1,398

City Website

Rehoboth Beach has become a vacation destination for many people along the east coast. While many do not think about holiday shopping at the beach, Rehoboth offers an excellent shopping experience. Shoppers can start at the Tanger Seaside Outlets, a mall that is sectioned into three individual locations. They can then move on to the many beach towns with small local boutiques and shops. Because this is a tax-free shopping town, you can shop until your list is complete.

Sales Tax: 0%
Number of Retail Locations: 5,313
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 3
Number of Shopping Outlets: 4
Consumer Price Index: 245.87
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Best US Outlet Mall Destinations List

#19 – Boston, Massachusetts

boston-massachusetts-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Suffolk County

2013 Population: 645,966

City Website

Christmas in Boston means festive lights, fun winter activities and holiday shoppers filling the streets and stores. Whether you prefer a mall, a downtown shopping area or large retailers, you can find what you are looking for in Boston. There are also many different Christmas themed festivals, theater and holiday concerts when you are done shopping.

Sales Tax: 6.25%
Number of Retail Locations: 19,436
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 13
Number of Shopping Outlets: 19
Consumer Price Index: 255.88
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #18 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#18 – Milwaukee, Minnesota

milwaukee-wisconsin-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Milwaukee County

2013 Population: 599,164

City Website

Milwaukee Minnesota is growing as a shopping destination in the US. They have everything from boutiques and specialty shops, to malls and outlet stores, meaning shoppers can get into the holiday spirit with plenty of Christmas shopping. The city also sponsors many different holiday festivals and events.

Sales Tax: 5.6%
Number of Retail Locations: 19,534
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 8
Number of Shopping Outlets: 3
Consumer Price Index: 229.83
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #17 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#17 – Denver, Colorado

denver-colorado-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Denver County

2013 Population: 649,495

City Website

Denver is an excellent city to visit any time of year. The holidays in Denver are extra special. The city hosts many different holiday events such as festivals, holiday weekend celebrations, parades and much more. Visitors can enjoy the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park, Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks or visit one of the many nearby Skiing destinations. Shoppers can frequent the many malls, shopping centers, downtown districts and local boutiques.

Sales Tax: 7.72%
Number of Retail Locations: 21,961
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 19
Number of Shopping Outlets: 5
Consumer Price Index: 241.62
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #13 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#16 – Indianapolis, Indiana

indianapolis-indiana-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Marion County

2013 Population: 852,866

City Website

The city of Indianapolis is rich with holiday tradition. The holiday season begins on Monument Circle with the annual Circle of Lights. From this event throughout the entire season there are holiday festivities to be found. For the avid shopper, Christmas shopping in Indianapolis has much to offer. There are almost twenty malls, seven nearby outlet malls and many local and larger retailers to choose from.

Sales Tax: 8.5%
Number of Retail Locations: 5,955
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 18
Number of Shopping Outlets: 7
Consumer Price Index: 229.829
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #5 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#15 – Detroit, Michigan

detroit-michigan-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Wayne County

2013 Population: 224.48

City Website

The city of Detroit has continued to work toward rebuilding its sense of community. This can be felt especially strong during the holiday season. Christmas in Detroit means celebration and merriment. Some of the favorite ways for the city to celebrate is through events such as:

  • Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo
  • Holiday Nights at Greenfield
  • Village Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland
  • Campus Martius Park – one of the best ice skating rinks in the Metro Detroit area.
  • Detroit’s Christmas 60 foot Christmas tree
  • Christmas lights along Lake Shore Drive

Detroit is also a Christmas shoppers delight. With malls, downtown shopping, nearby outlet shopping and much more to choose from, shoppers can work through their shopping list with ease.

Sales Tax: 6%
Number of Retail Locations: 32,199
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 15
Number of Shopping Outlets: 4
Consumer Price Index: 224.48
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #14 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#14 – Baltimore, Maryland

baltimore-maryland-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Baltimore County

2013 Population: 622,104

City Website

Christmas in Baltimore is set to a German Christmas theme. Visitors can participate in an authentic German Christmas market from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. Guests can also enjoy Christmas Village at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The village is made up of a huge heated tent and beautiful outdoor wooden booths. The Village is home to 45 vendors with high quality arts and crafts from throughout the world, to offer the perfect Holiday shopping experience.

Sales Tax: 6%
Number of Retail Locations: 19,627
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 21
Number of Shopping Outlets: 13
Consumer Price Index: 155.52
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #3 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#13 – Charlotte, North Carolina

charlotte-north-carolina-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Mecklenberg County

2013 Population: 792,862

City Website

The city of Charlotte knows how to make the holidays special. Visitors can enjoy the many different shopping locations found throughout the city, both indoors and outdoors. There is shopping of all kinds spread across the city. There are also a number of festive holiday offerings including:

  • WBT Holiday on Ice
  • Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • Christmas Town USA – McAdenville Lights
  • Christmas at the Billy Graham Library
  • Holidays at The Garden

Sales Tax: 8.25%
Number of Retail Locations: 27,520
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 21
Number of Shopping Outlets: 2
Consumer Price Index: 232.27
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #11 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#12 – San Diego, California

san-diego-california-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

San Diego County

2013 Population: 1.323 million

City Website

San Diego is home to a casual holiday shopping season. Citizens and visitors alike can enjoy a slower pace and the pleasure of beautiful weather. Despite the laid-back attitude, there are enough shopping locations to meet the needs of everyone on your shopping list. Once the shopping is done you can enjoy festivities like beach-front ice skating rinks, concerts, holiday ballets and Christmas themed theater. Some of the most treasured favorite holiday activities in San Diego include:

  • Extensive Holiday Shopping Opportunities
  • Holiday Festivities at major local attractions
  • Holiday Festivals and Parades
  • Outdoor activities like ice skating
  • Holiday Arts and Culture
  • San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Sales Tax: 8.75%
Number of Retail Locations: 75,837
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 24
Number of Shopping Outlets: 4
Consumer Price Index: 243.62
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #10 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#11 – Chicago, Illinois

chicago-illinois-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Cook County

2013 Population: 2.719 million

City Website

Christmas shopping in Chicago must begin with the peak of Chicago shopping – The Magnificent Mile. This metropolitan area of Michigan Avenue is full of shopping, dining and entertainment throughout the holiday season. In addition to the Magnificent Mile, Chicago has many other shopping hot spots to visit. In addition to the excellent shopping throughout the city, visitors can enjoy the holiday events throughout the city. Some of these include:

  • Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
  • CTA Holiday Train
  • Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Daley Plaza
  • Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Brew Lights at Lincoln Park
  • Lightscape: A Multisensory Experience on State Street
  • Macy’s Holiday Window Exhibits

Sales Tax: 9.75%
Number of Retail Locations: 127,846
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 27
Number of Shopping Outlets: 11
Consumer Price Index: 229.83
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #11 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#10 – Jacksonville, Florida

jacksonville-florida-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Duval County

2013 Population: 842,583

City Website

Jacksonville Florida is a top-notch holiday shopping destination. Shopping experiences found in this city include Mall Shopping, Downtown Shopping, Beach Shops, Farmers Markets, Outlet Shops and Trendy Boutiques. After you are done shopping you can enjoy one of the many fun, festive holiday traditions spread throughout the city. Top ways to get into the holiday spirit:

  • Pandora Unforgettable Holiday Moments on Ice at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
  • St. Johns Town Center Holiday Spectacular at the St. Johns Town Center
  • WinterFEST at Adventure Landing in Jacksonville Beach
  • Deck the Chairs at Jacksonville Beach
  • Christmas on the St. Johns at Jacksonville Landing
  • Community First Jacksonville Light Boat Parade
  • The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra presents The Polar Express
  • ZOOLights

Sales Tax: 7%
Number of Retail Locations: 23,144
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 25
Number of Shopping Outlets: 4
Consumer Price Index: 243.43
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #9 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#9 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

philadelphia-pennsylvania-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Philadelphia County

2013 Population: 1.553 million

City Website

One of the highlights of Christmas shopping in Philadelphia is the fact that the city offers tax-free shopping on clothing and shoe purchases. The large city has an extensive public transportation system to help get you to the many malls, shopping centers and outlets in the area with ease. The holiday spirit can be seen throughout Philadelphia in many ways including holiday shops and markets, holiday craft bazaars, parades, the Macy’s Christmas Light Show, the Reading Terminal Holiday Railroad, Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, A Brandywine Christmas and so much more.

Sales Tax: 8%, 0% on clothing and shoe purchases
Number of Retail Locations: 26,772
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 32
Number of Shopping Outlets: 12
Consumer Price Index: 245.87
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #6 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#8 – Columbus, Ohio

columbus-ohio-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Franklin County

2013 Population: 822,553

City Website

Christmas in Columbus is a treat for all Christmas shoppers. The charm of a Midwest holiday can be found through your entire shopping experience, throughout the many malls, shops, boutiques and outlet stores. Christmas events found throughout Columbus include Village Lights, Holiday Tours on Capitol Square, Old Hilliard Christmas, Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen, Sweet Honey in the Rock: Celebrating the Holy Days, Breakfast with Santa, Holiday Open House & Craft Extravaganza and much more.

Sales Tax: 7.5%
Number of Retail Locations: 26,653
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 32
Number of Shopping Outlets: 2
Consumer Price Index: 221.24
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #4 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#7 – Phoenix, Arizona

phoenix-arizona-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Maricopa County

2013 Population: 1.513 million

City Website

Holidays in Phoenix mean temperate weather and excellent shopping. There is no need to be stuck inside a mall when shopping in this beautiful city. There are many outdoor shopping areas, downtown districts and local boutiques to enjoy. When you want to get into the holiday spirit you can take part in the many Holiday Parades, Holiday Lights, Community Festivals, Holiday Theatre, Music and Dance productions and many other holiday events.

Sales Tax: 9.3%
Number of Retail Locations: 83,468
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 38
Number of Shopping Outlets: 7
Consumer Price Index: 241.7
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #7 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#6 – San Antonio, Texas

san-antonio-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Bexar County

2013 Population: 1.409 million

City Website

San Antonio Texas is known for its River Walk and the historic Alamo. The lesser known side of this fun-filled city is in its excellent shopping. The city has everything from traditional malls to unique eclectic boutiques. There are art galleries and local artisans to shop for the harder to please friends and family. This city offers a different shopping experience. During the holiday season the River Walk is lit up to highlight your shopping and dining experience. The city of San Antonio lights up for the holidays. The many festivals, activities and events make the holidays bright.

Sales Tax: 8.13%
Number of Retail Locations: 32,612
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 41
Number of Shopping Outlets: 3
Consumer Price Index: 219.38
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #8 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#5 – Dallas, Texas

dallas-texas-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Dallas County

2013 Population: 1.258 million

City Website

Dallas Texas is home to hundreds of shops, retailers and holiday events all meant to gear residents and visitors up for the Christmas season. There are more malls, shopping centers and outlets than anyone could do in a day or even a weekend. The shopping opportunities are endless. The city also is home to a rich culture of arts and music found throughout the many theater and ballet events in the city. During the holidays Dallas has many places to watch spectacular lights, music and decorations.

Sales Tax: 8.25%
Number of Retail Locations: 61,034
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 41
Number of Shopping Outlets: 5
Consumer Price Index: 219.38
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Forbes #2 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#4 – Las Vegas, Nevada

las-vegas-nevada-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Clark County

2013 Population: 603,488

City Website

Most of us have our own idea of what Las Vegas has to offer. Aside from the casinos, hotels and shows, the city is home to world class shopping. Throughout the casinos, malls and shopping centers, shoppers can find anything they are looking for. Whether you are looking for widely known stores, small local retailers or designer fashion, you will find it in Las Vegas. To make the shopping experience even better the city has developed the Shop Vegas Passport. This passport can be printed at home and presented at select stores for exclusive discounts.

Sales Tax: 8.1%
Number of Retail Locations: 31,295
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 25
Number of Shopping Outlets: 3
Consumer Price Index: 246.7
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s Best US Outlet Mall Destinations List
Travel Channel’s Top 10 US Malls

#3 – New York, New York

new-york-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

New York County

2013 Population: 8.406 million

City Website

One of the most iconic holiday experiences in the country is Christmas in New York. From Rockefeller Center to FAO Schwartz, we have seen these Christmas traditions in movies and on television. Christmas shopping in New York City means having access to almost anything you are looking for. No matter what your budget, length of your shopping list or what you are looking for, you can find it in New York. Among the most sought-after shopping experiences is strolling down Fifth Avenue to view classic stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany’s, Bergdorf Goodman and FAO Schwarz. Visitors can also enjoy the many non-shopping holiday festivities found throughout the City That Never Sleeps.

Sales Tax: 8.875%
Number of Retail Locations: 103,800
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 32
Number of Shopping Outlets: 20
Consumer Price Index: 261.07
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s World’s Best Shopping Cities
Forbes #22 Best Shopping Cities in the US
Travel Channel’s Top 10 US Malls

#2 – Los Angeles, California

los-angeles-california-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Los Angeles County

2013 Population: 3.884 million

City Website

Los Angeles is home to some of the most eclectic shopping in the country. One minute you are looking through vintage clothes or music and the next you are looking at designer gowns. LA has it all. Christmas shopping in this unique city means that you can truly find whatever you are looking for. There are top shopping centers such as the Fashion District in the Downtown area, The Grove, Beverly Center, Hollywood & Highland, Glendale Galleria, Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place. There are also a number of outdoor shopping neighborhoods found throughout the city. Rodeo Drive is a must-see for experienced shoppers. This shopping area is the most expensive three blocks of shopping in the world. Once you have had your fill of shopping you can enjoy the many indoor and outdoor holiday events Los Angeles has to offer.

Sales Tax: 9%
Number of Retail Locations: 210,855
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 45
Number of Shopping Outlets: 16
Consumer Price Index: 243.62
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s World’s Best Shopping Cities
Forbes #16 Best Shopping Cities in the US

#1 – Austin, Texas

austin-texas-best-christmas-shopping

Image Source

Travis, Williamson & Hays Counties

2013 Population:

885,400

City Website

Securing the number one spot on our list of best Christmas Shopping Cities is Austin, Texas. The city of Austin has the self-proclaimed slogan to “Keep Austin Weird.” This means that Austin has some of the most interesting shopping in the country. The city works hard to support and promote independent stores and business, meaning it is filled with thrift and vintage stores, local shops and eclectic boutiques. If you are in the mood for mall or outlet shopping this is also readily available. There is truly no shortage of holiday shopping opportunities in Austin.

Sales Tax: 8.25%
Number of Retail Locations: 40,369
Number of Shopping Malls/Centers: 31
Number of Shopping Outlets: 5
Consumer Price Index: 219.38
Additional Rankings or Commendations: 
Travel Channel’s World’s Best Shopping Cities
Forbes #12 Best Shopping Cities in the US

Opportunities for the Best Christmas Shopping in the Country

Each of these cities offers something unique to Christmas Shoppers. Some offer a vast array of stores and shops allowing shoppers to choose the kind of shopping experience they desire. Others offer a shopping experience rich with Christmas merriment and warmth. No matter where you are in the country you are a short drive away from some of the most unique holiday shopping in the country. Regardless of what type of shopping experience you crave, you can find what you are looking for at these top destinations for Christmas Shopping.

Sources:

Area Vibes – Top 10 States With Lowest Income and Sales Tax Rates

CNN Travel – Five To Go – 5 Festive Christmas Stores

Forbes Travel – 25 Best Shopping Cities

Mall Finder

Outlet Bound

Travel Channel – Best US Outlet Malls

Travel Channel – Top 10 US Shopping Malls 

Travel Channel – World’s Best Shopping Cities

United State Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI

United States Census Bureau – 2011 County Business Patterns

US Sales Tax Rates

About the Author

Through her academic career earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University and then a Master of Science in Clinical and Forensic Psychology from Drexel University, Kristen Fescoe was passionate about research, writing and traveling. After a few years in the field of psychology she accepted a teaching position at a local college where she currently teaches online psychology courses. After securing this position, Kristen had the opportunity to return to her passion of research and writing and enjoys her work as a researcher, writer, editor, professor and mother.