Does your holiday gift list have you scraping for cash? Not to worry. You don’t have to buy – just look. We’ve found the five best spots for window shopping in the Big Apple . By Maude Standish

Upper East Side

(credit: Thinkstock)

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Put on your best plastic pearls and head to the land of Chanel suits, teacup terriers, and weekends jaunts to the Hamptons. Walking around your eyes will take in everything from J.Crew to haute couture flagship stores. The windows will either be filled with perfectly prep clothing like cardigans and boat shoes—anything that would make you look like your life is filled with nothing but perfectly blustery day on a vintage sailboat—or with floor length gowns ideal for the Cinderella daydream you’ll have on your subway ride home.

Fifth Avenue

(Credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

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The glamorous and decked out windows are a sight to see, especially during this time of the year. Stores along Fifth Avenue have been debuting their holiday displays, and the iconic New York City shopping scene is famous for the beautifully crafted storefronts all year round. As a bonus, many of the big name retailers on Fifth Ave are introducing holiday bargains. Who knows? You may end up doing more than just window shopping!


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Have you always secretly desired to look like an underemployed graphic designer? Or maybe you secretly believe that somewhere inside your combination of Keds with a vintage dress a street style fashionista is hiding in the rough? Either way, Soho is the perfect neighborhood for you to scoop put storefronts for that “defining” pair of glasses you have been searching for and those already cuffed jeans. Windows will feature vintage finds, unknown Brooklyn designers who utilize the best of the past to inform their present modern creations and ultra modern kitchenware. Because SoHo is the number one battle zone for window art, the displays often reach new levels of decadence and fantastical.


Enter into the den of all things hipster to get an idea about what the folks in Soho will be wearing in a few years. Though everything will cost as much as if it was new, much of the clothing you’ll see in the windows will be vintage or at the very least used. On top of clothing, most window displays will give you inspiration for decorating your abode as they feature homemade terrariums, taxidermy creatures, vintage apothecary and school supplies, and limited edition screen prints.

Fulton Mall

(credit: Downtown Brooklyn Partnership)

Strolling through this area your eyes will feast on lively colors, blinged out everything and kicks that will make you wonder if there is a music video backup dancer hidden deep inside your klutzy body. Take some time to seek out one of those airbrushed artists busily decking out white Ts. Even if you can’t afford to get one of your own mug, it’s a particularly spectacular art to observe.

Maude is the research director for trend forecasting company Trendera and writes daily for The (T) Files. In her spare time she tries to enjoy New York on a budget and is writing a screenplay.