woman holding shopping bags

Grab a breath of fresh air while outdoor shopping across the U.S. (Photo: Getty Images)

Culture + Style

8 Cities Where Shopping Is an Outdoor Retail Adventure

Devout shoppers will tell you there’s more to shopping than just finding a great deal. No matter the season, an epic day of retail therapy includes the perfect backdrop, from ritzy designer-boutique-lined streets in Beverly Hills to the beachy-vibe stores along Miami’s Lincoln Road.

Whether you’re buying holiday gifts or acknowledging a special someone, knowing the best place to shop is key. And if it comes with open-air ambience, all the better. Here are eight cities that do outdoor shopping right.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.


Atlanta’s six-block shopping mecca, Buckhead Village District, offers shoppers 60-plus designer stores, including Hermès, Dior, Jimmy Choo and Canali — yes, more hands will be needed to carry one’s finds among the high-end labels.

Breaks for refueling can be had at bistro tables along canopied sidewalks. Keeping things celebratory is cuisine from venues like The Southern Gentleman, Taverna and Le Bilboquet.


newbury street boston
Get a feel for Boston on Newbury Street. (Photo: Getty Images)

Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay is a destination that is synonymous with luxury shopping. Yes, there are designer stores here — hello, Valentino, Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren — but there are also antiques, bookstores and gift shops.

This is a place for strolling and spending … and taking in the outdoor charm. The eight-block span between the Public Garden and Massachusetts Avenue is lined with Victorian mansions with nearby historic Copley Square and Trinity Church added to the mix.

During a Boston shopping spree, make sure to visit Faneuil Hall Marketplace (aka Quincy Market) along downtown Boston’s Freedom Trail. There are more than 100 stores to peruse along the cobblestone streets that appeal to a multitude of personalities, whether you’re all about Ann Taylor and Coach or Urban Outfitters and Uniqlo.


A fixture in Dallas since 1965, NorthPark Center is a bastion not only of shopping, but of art and garden space. The 20th- and 21st-century art collection brings with it a feel of visiting a museum. There are works from luminaries like Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Joel Shapiro, Jim Dine and Beverly Pepper.

Other eye-catching names present in the mall: Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and more.

Not to be left out in all this beauty is nature, which makes itself known from 45-year-old oak trees that surround the mall, along with seasonal plantings that keep visitors exploring. Stroll through the mall to encounter the 1.4-acre CentralPark Garden, where a canopy is created by 90-plus mature live oaks and red oaks.

Los Angeles and Orange County

la irvine spectrum center
Shopping at the Irvine Spectrum Center is scenic after dark. (Photo: Getty Images)

Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, West Hollywood’s Melrose Avenue, Old Town Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard: Mention these city streets and shoppers immediately know you’re talking about prime retail in Los Angeles.

There’s a lot of Southern California ground to cover in terms of shopping, and the thoroughfares above offer up couture, hip fashions and historic charm with their proliferation of shops and boutiques.

Prefer open-air malls? Check out Glendale’s Americana at Brand, The Grove in the Fairfax District and Westfield Century City, with their show-stopping fountains and family-friendly layouts. Head to Santa Monica Place mall for a day of shopping that spills onto Third Street Promenade and culminates on Santa Monica Pier to catch a sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Follow the ocean south to Orange County, with stops at Fashion Island for runway-worthy finds. Prefer pairing shopping with fun? The Irvine Spectrum Center offers up a Ferris wheel, seasonal ice-skating rink and a secret hot spot for Hello Kitty Fans — Hello Kitty Cafe for tea.


There’s a lot of shopping real estate to plunder at Lincoln Road Mall in Miami, with the Florida sun keeping the atmosphere bright and beautiful.

The palm-tree-lined, mile-long outdoor mall is just blocks from the beach, and shops such as Runway Swimwear and Havaianas are at the ready with bikinis and flip-flops.

Need threads for Miami nightlife? Lacoste and John Varvatos are just a few of the options for getting decked out. Hit Lincoln Road Mall’s Happy Hours — La Cerveceria De Barrio and Doraku, to name a few — before hitting the town.


Making the most of its year-round sunshine, Phoenix has open-air shopping that wows, from the upscale Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Fashion Square to the vivid Desert Ridge Marketplace, plus the “Beverly Hills of the Desert,” Scottsdale Quarter.

For shoppers who revel in outdoor features that comingle with retail, the Tempe Marketplace will be right up their alley. Offered up are more than 100 shops and 300 events. Beyond the marketplace’s delightful landscaping are show-stopping features that include outdoor fireplaces, water features, pop-up art and light installations.

San Antonio

San Antonio definitely knows how to do open-air shopping right. Case in point, the 15-mile-long San Antonio River Walk, a loop of shops, hotels, dining and public artwork along the San Antonio River.

The River Walk is not only designated as a shopping district, but also as a public park. Indeed, visitors can even hop aboard boats for tours and dining. A destination where couples can tie the knot along the banks of the river: Marriage Island.

When shopping fever takes hold, unique locales abound within the city. Some to check out are Historic Market Square, aka El Mercado’s Plaza, for Mexican wares and cuisine; the mixed-use, 1800’s-built German brewery Pearl, with shops, restaurants and a weekend farmers market; the eclectic shops in the homey The Alley on Bitters; and the Blue Star Complex, a former industrial neighborhood that’s become the “Anchor of San Antonio Art,” and shopping, of course.

Las Vegas

Leave it to Las Vegas: “Pets not permitted, except llamas and service animals.” This is the Downtown Container Park, a fun-filled shopping area on Fremont Street with features such as a Tree House Play Area and an ultra-HD dome entertainment space that supplies 360-degree experiences complete with 36,000 lumens of light.

Visitors can also catch current movies at The Dome. Also keep an eye (and ear) out for live entertainment. This is Las Vegas, after all.

As for shopping opportunities, they’re unique, with the likes of Ziggy’s Art Studio and House of 1000 Pins. Dining venues tease taste buds with Pinches Tacos, Oak & Ivy, Bin 702 and Mob Pie to name a few.

A plethora of outdoor spaces invite hanging for a while to see what might erupt. Be on the lookout for pop-up circus acts and flames shooting from the antennae of a large insect sculpture.