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Chicago hotels ByErin Kregor

The holidays are stealthily creeping up on us this year, so get out those credit cards and get cracking on your gift list. Here’s a list of my top 5 places to shop.

1.    Michigan Avenue, Chicago: It may be because of the home-court advantage, but you can’t beat the Mag Mile when it comes to holiday shopping. Yes there tends to be more than a few tourists, but it adds to the holiday merriment. Michigan Avenue has something for everyone — from GAP to Gucci you’ll find stores in your price range and presents for the whole family. Add the numerous public transportation options and you’ve got shopping gold, even on a budget.
2.    Union Square, San Francisco: From high-end window shopping on Chestnut St. to everyday shopping in Union Square, San Francisco has something for everyone. Head through the Dragon Gates of one of the original Chinatowns for everything from inexpensive souvenirs to higher end wares including jewelry and furs.
3.    Sawgrass Mills, Fort Lauderdale: I consider myself somewhat of an expert shopper, having been from outlet to boutique and back again. Sawgrass Mills Outlet is by far the best outlet mall I have ever laid eyes upon. It’s a 30-minute drive from downtown Fort Lauderdale but well worth it. (*Tip: consider renting a car for the day. A cab could run upwards of $70 both ways, so the rental car will pay for itself). You will find every store imaginable, so leave the faint of heart at the hotel, and plan to spend an entire day here.
4.    5th Avenue Manhattan, New York:  Definitely a shopping mecca, Manhattan has a rich history with many iconic stores. Visit Tiffany’s flagship store at 5th and 57th or the first Saks 5th Avenue at 5th and 50th. Head across the street to American Girl Place and pick up something for that favorite niece.
5.    Nassau/Paradise Island: Label lovers will delight in the many brand name boutiques Nassau has to offer. Jewelry, perfume, handbags and the lot are bountiful… and the best part is it’s all duty free! So hit up Gucci and Fendi on Bay Street and save while shopping (not an oxymoron). Plus you can have fun bargaining for cutesy souvenirs and t-shirts at the Straw market.

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When Erin Kregor is not at Orbitz, she can be found working over the racks at Neiman Marcus.

Tagged: Caribbean, Florida, Midwest, New York

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