Updated: Dec 8, 2022
While 5th Avenue may be a go-to shopping destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike, Manhattan's Upper West Side—and particularly Amsterdam Avenue—is arguably the city's best-kept secret for chic boutiques and specialty goods, giving you the opportunity to discover unique finds and the most memorable gifts for your loved ones.
For stylish attire and accessories for all seasons and occasions, Elise Wool recommends Purdy Girl.
"Purdy Girl has excellent, inexpensive and trendy hats, gloves, scarves, handbags, and wardrobe-staple t-shirts in every color. Once you go, you'll be hooked." — Elise Wool
"Kee's Chocolates is a handmade boutique chocolatier with exquisite and vibrant flavors, all of which are beautifully presented." — Mike Lubin
Many of the flavor concoctions at Kee's can only be found during certain times of the year due to seasonal availability of ingredients. Some standouts include Black Sesame, Champagne, Black Rose, and Blood Orange.
"Darryl's makes clothing for all body types, and his inventory runs from classic to chic and trendy. You'll find pieces you won't find elsewhere or see on anyone else. The personal touch from Darryl and his staff makes all the difference, and they will help you find the perfect outfit for any occasion." — Roberta Moser
Also recommended by Mike Lubin, Alexis Bittar is easily one of the hottest names in jewelry design. Born and raised in Brooklyn, his creations have adorned the likes of Michelle Obama, Iris Apfel, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, and countless other celebrities. "They also sell curated, antique pieces and even stunning mid-century modern glassware and objects d'art," noted Lubin.
For excellent prices on unique designer dresses, pants, coats, shoes, and even giftware, Elise Wool recommends 260 Sample Sale.
"I can't walk by without stopping in, and I always find something I love that stays in style for years to come," she said.
"For a very personal gift, have a special photo or work of art framed by Wade Maxx. Wade has been in business for over 20 years and has the best selection of incredible frames- and has a very creative eye to help guide your design.— Mike Lubin
When it comes to glamorous holiday gifts, Michael Carroll's go-to on the Upper West Side is KES, overseen by eco-friendly designer Lia Kes.
"Lia Kes is a local designer known for her sophisticated and elegant line. Her clothes are sourced eco-conscientiously and are versatile enough to transition from day to night. The selection changes regularly so there’s always something new to see. KES also has a SoHo location on West Broadway." — Michael Carroll
Lisa Lippman's top Upper West Side Shopping destination is the popular Happy Kangaroo.
The store is known for its expansive selection thoughtfully curated and handmade gifts ranging from home decor to jewelry. It also has a special section devoted to Judacia gifts.
"You can find amazing, unique gifts at Happy Kangaroo, all of which can be beautifully wrapped onsite." — Lisa Lippman
According to Roberta Moser, ShiShi is the perfect boutique for those looking to find trendy clothing—from jeans to formal wear—without breaking the bank. A staple among locals for over a decade, the boutique's wide selection of clothing features bold prints and styles at accessible prices, with a continuous rotation of new arrivals that is sure to satisfy even the most committed shopaholic.
With a wide selection of both costume and fine jewelry, Outlette is known for making luxury accessible to the masses.
"Outlette has an awesome men's section, which can be hard to find in jewelry stores. It includes labels like John Varvatos and Dogme96—an edgy French brand I am obsessed with. — Mike Lubin