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Five Under The Radar Cities With Surprisingly Good Shopping

Wherever We May Roam

By Leslie Patrick Moore

When it comes to shopping, well-known destinations like London and New York can’t have all the fun. Here are five off-the-beaten-path destinations that offer everything from chic clothing to sumptuously scented soaps. Save some room in your suitcase ’cause these are five locales where you’ll definitely want to shop till you drop.

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Sure, it has the monkey forest, rice paddies, and stunning temples, but this laid-back town also offers a superb collection of boutiques and markets to keep even the most ardent shoppers happy. Heavenly scented handmade candles, bespoke dresses, and locally made jams are among the items purveyed in Ubud’s more upscale boutiques, and street markets with local trinkets and handicrafts will satisfy those looking for inexpensive souvenirs and mementos.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Okay, so Buenos Aires isn’t exactly under the radar, but shopping-wise, this South American capital is truly underrated. Local ladies love the gorgeous baubles and figure-enhancing jeans found at the chain store Rapsodia. To-die-for tango shoes are de rigeur at Come il Faut, a fashionable shoe salon found in the upscale neighborhood of Recoleta. But, perhaps the best shopping is found in trendy Palermo, where boutiques abound, with buttery soft leather jackets and up-and-coming designer labels.

Dublin, Ireland

The best part about shopping in Ireland is if you get tired, you can pop into any of Dublin’s ubiquitous pubs for an ice-cold Guinness. But really, take a stroll on Grafton Street and you’ll find all the high street favorites (Top Shop or Zara anyone?) and a few one-off names like Avoca—a sort of Irish Anthropologie. Another thing to love about shopping in Ireland? You can buy leprechaun anything.

Santa Cruz, CA

This laid-back northern California beach town isn’t all board shorts and flip-flops. Designer boutiques are popping up everywhere in this surprisingly fashion-conscious city. Head to Pacific Avenue for local favorite Stripe and Stripe Men, where you can stock up on clothing, gifts, accessories, and select pieces of midcentury modern furniture. Make a trip to the city’s West Side to pop into Cameron Marks, purveying up-and-coming small batch designers like LA-based Calder, Feral Childe, and Bungalow 360. Santa Cruz even has its own online fashion and beauty portal, the Penny Rose (for which I’m the editor-at-large).

And of course, our very own San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

San Miguel was voted No. 1 of the top 25 cities in the world by Condé Nast Traveler in 2013, and a city can’t make it to the top without good shopping, right? San Miguel does not disappoint. Boutiques line our picturesque cobbled streets, offering a plethora of sandals, housewares, art, and clothing. Local artisans’ markets overflow with silver, pottery, and other indigenous handicrafts. May I recommend the incredibly chic versions of the traditional huarache sandals?

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