Annika Allen has the lowdown on NY’s shopping mecca.

Bright lights, beautiful city, yellow cabs, The Statue of Liberty, Central Park walks, basketball players
standing tall, Madison Square

Garden, candybar-selling children, looking out over the city from The Empire State Building. These are all things that come to mind when I think about New York City, USA. Once you go there I promise you that you’ll return time and time again as the city has this magical energy that draws you in. But this isn’t a holiday guide to the tourist attractions that you can see in the NY. The most important part of a trip to the Big Apple is the shopping. Nothing compares to shopping till your feet hurt in New York city, so here’s my guide to the best places to shop ‘til you drop.

If you don’t want to keep your spending to high street prices, then the best places for you to shop are Manhattan, Harlem or Brooklyn. Let’s start with Manhattan. Firstly, you have Macy’s – the world’s largest department store. Located on 34th and Broadway, from urban gear to designer wear, to stunning shoes, accessories and jewellery this shop has it all. Selfridges here in the UK pales in comparison to what is inside this beautiful brick building. Plus, because you have a UK passport you can go to the Macy’s Information Centre on the first floor mezzanine and get a discount card that allows you to shop tax free. You can easily spend a whole day in this store, but fortunately if you need a rest there’s a coffee shop on almost every floor. Macy’s has reasonable prices and great sales, so you’d be crazy not to check it out.

If vintage clothes are more your style, you will find these in Soho and the East Village area of Manhattan and for trendy boutiques you will also find these in Soho and West Broadway. If you want to go shop with the urban set and buy Phat Farm or Rocawear clothing, go to shops like Dr Jays and Jimmy Jazz on 125th Street, Harlem or Fulton Mall in Brooklyn.

If you’re happy to rack up heavy duty credit card payments then hit Fifth Avenue between 42nd and 59th Streets. The likes of Gucci, Prada and Fendi can all be found here.

As much as I love going to Fifth Avenue, I much prefer a designer deal, and if you do too, one of your first stops should be designer bargain hunter haven Woodbury Common. DKNY, Roberto Cavalli, Juicy Couture… you’ll forget Fifth Avenue quicker than you can say ‘charge it!’ as you purchase those designer discount goods. Located one hour from New York City you can go on a shopping excursions to Woodbury Common from the Port Authority (that’s the bus depot), New York City found at 42nd Street & Eighth Avenue. It costs $40 for a round trip.

One of the city’s oldest discount department stores is Century 21 (22 Cortlandt St, near Broadway, Manhattan), which is around the corner from Ground Zero. This store is advertised as New York’s Best Kept Secret and it reminds me of TK Max, but is a whole lot bigger. This shop sells designer wear including 7 For All Mankind, Ed Hardy and urban designs by the likes of Baby Phat and Apple Bottoms for 25% to 75% off the retail price. You’re advised to go early, as by noon the store is like Oxford Street on Christmas Eve.

If you don’t mind travelling 30 minutes out of Manhattan, one of my favourite places to shop is Jersey Gardens. With over 200 shops all under one big, air-conditioned roof this is New Jersey’s biggest shopping mall and where you can do tax-free shopping on clothes and shoes. Guess, Victoria Secret, Adidas – you name it, this outlet has got it. Your arms will hurt because they’ll be loaded with goods halfway through the day, so my hot top tip for retailholics is to rent a smartecarte to push around for $5 which is available on the lower level by Entrance D.

Going to shop in New York is like art, it takes a while to master. My advice is to make a list of the things that you want so that you don’t shop aimlessly and ended up coming back with a credit card bill that you can’t afford to pay off until 2012. Just remember to try and take a break from shopping at some point because you can end up shopping all day and being too tired to go out at night. New York isn’t short of clubs and restaurants and you don’t want to miss out.