Whether you're browsing for a bargain or just lusting after luxury goods, window shopping costs nothing, and it can be as much fun as actually purchasing and taking the objects of desire home — plus there's no credit card bill to worry over later on. These are some of our favorite places to look and not spend (or not spend much, anyway):
1. Fifth Avenue, New York, New York
Fifth Avenue — and a few stretches adjacent to it — is home to international haute couture boutiques and iconic American high-end retailers. Here the interior design and window displays are just as amazing as the merchandise, especially during the Christmas season. For the full experience, start in midtown, at Bergdorf Goodman. The luxury goods department store, established in 1899, is on the west side of Fifth Avenue, between 57th and 58th streets (Bergdorf's men's store is directly across from it, on the east side of the avenue). Continue walking down Fifth Avenue and along the way you'll pass Saks Fifth Avenue (between 49th and 50th streets) and Lord & Taylor (at 39th Street). At 34th Street make a slight detour west to hit the original Macy's, on Broadway at Herald Square.
2. Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles , California
Even before Julia Roberts went shopping here in the film Pretty Woman, the palm tree-lined Rodeo Drive was synonymous with Hollywood luxury. The three-block-long Beverly Hills shopping district, between Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards, has both high-end designers — Armani, Bijan, Brooks Brothers, Cartier, Chanel, Gucci — and more affordable stores, such as Banana Republic and Guess. Just don't plan a window-shopping excursion on Sunday, when most of the shops are closed and the windows are dark.
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