Rosheda Stephenson calls NYC and the Caribbean home. Her travel articles are meant to inspire passion, adventure, and curiosity.
While shopping in any part of New York City can be a fantastic experience, nowhere compares to the adrenaline rush that is Times Square. It seems as if the designers intentionally installed flashing neon lights, added loud party music, then slapped hundreds of constantly moving billboards unto the tops of the buildings in hope of electrifying the area.
For the uninitiated, all this excitement may get overwhelming. But if you're planning a shopping trip to Times Square, you don't need to be nervous. With a guide to where everything is, you will move more confidently through the jampacked streets. And knowing what to expect will lessen the shock some visitors feel when they are suddenly surrounded by people speaking every language on earth and walking hip to hip. But first, here are a few pointers to prepare you.
Tips for Shopping in Times Square
Give yourself plenty of time to explore the area. It is estimated that anywhere from 150,000 to 400,000 people walk the streets of Times Square everyday, so foot traffic can get heavy. And if you don't know what side streets to take to avoid the crowds, things will move slow. Go early and plan on spending the whole day.
Expect to Be Stopped By Strange Characters With Strange Requests
On any given day, the streets of Times Square will be occupied by the strangest of characters. Most popular are the costumed characters hoping to make a quick dollar by enticing kids passing by to get their parents to pay to take photos. These characters may even stop you, an adult, if they think they can make some money. Others, like marketers looking to lure visitors to one of the many attractions in the area, may try to get you to buy tickets. A quick smile and a firm no should be enough to discourage them if you are so inclined.
Don't Stress About Money-The Stores in Time's Square Are Surprisingly Affordable
Although Times Square is right in the middle of one of the most expensive cities on earth, it won't leave you penniless. The area has slowly transformed into a mid-price shopping mecca that will make it easy for you to listen to the pied piper and open up your wallet. If you want designer shopping and luxury fashion, go to 5th Avenue. But if budget-friendly stores, and a plethora of some of the most popular retailers in fashion and beauty is up your alley, Times Square is the place for you.
Now that you're ready, here's a guide (with maps included) to the best shopping in the area. There are sections for women, men and kids. I've even added a bonus dessert section for when all the walking makes you hungry.
Women's Clothing Stores Times Square
Getting to the women's stores in Times Square is easy. The hub of the area's shopping district lays on a six block stretch that is walking distance to a total of nine trains. This stretch (Broadway Avenue between 42nd and 48th Streets) can be easily reached by taking the 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, N, Q or R trains to the 42nd Street/Times Square train stop which will put you close to numerous low to medium priced clothing stores, shoes stores and two branches of the biggest name in women’s beauty and fragrances all call the area home.
Let’s start with the stylish Loft store.
Ann Taylor’s Loft store sits at the intersection of Broadway Street and 42nd Street, right next to the train stop for six trains- the 1,2,3,N,Q and R trains. The brand has always been known for its ultra-feminine take on blouses, dresses and work staples. The store in Times Square is no different. A good selection of dresses adorned in pretty prints and delicate blouses in both muted and bright hues welcome shoppers looking for the uber feminine look.
There are also beautiful accessories, shoes and jackets in the latest styles. The whole store has a feminine feel that most women will appreciate, and good customer service.
The Times Square branch of the Loft is also the brand’s flagship so the selection and sizes here will not disappoint. Prices are on the higher end so keep that in mind when visiting. Also bear in mind that unlike the rest of Times Square, the Loft closes pretty early (at 10pm) so plan your visit before then. If the Loft’s prices are too steep for your pockets, take a few steps up the always crowded Broadway Avenue to the Swedish owned fashion superstore, H&M.
Enter Times Square's H&M and the New York City vibe hits immediately. A live DJ spinning the latest tunes creates an instant party atmosphere while neon lights and flashing screens bombard the senses with picture after picture of everything H&M.
The store's famous runway creates the biggest buzz. An in store runway invites the bold, or the silly, to be supermodels for the day and strike a pose in one of H&M's fashions. Video of the walk then shows up on screens scattered throughout the store and is also digitally available to those who want to share their one minute of fame on their social media accounts. Customers who show particular star quality could even find themselves starring on the store's outside billboard for all who pass by on Broadway Avenue to see.
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After spending time on the runway, there is the rest of the store to explore. Basic staples, fashion forward twists on old favorites, modern fashion jewelry, and more at reasonable prices are typical for all branches of H & M. The brand’s Times Square branch is the largest one in all of the U.S and offers its collections over 3 floors that draw a huge crowd of young adults and teenagers daily.
Apart from its youthful offerings, the pocket friendly store stocks many styles that will appeal to older women. Pretty summer dresses, gorgeous skirts, sweaters, and even conservative suits are part of the offerings on display. There is also an extensive collection of accessories like modern fashion jewelry (on the first floor), handbags and belts. Beauty products round off the shopping experience.
If the live DJ and loud music at the H&M seem too much, head to the nearby Gap store for classic jeans and Americana styles in the good quality that the brand is known for, and a more soothing atmosphere.
Shopping in Time Square's Gap store is truly an experience. Soothing music welcomes shoppers into the organized store where special concierge desks equipped with touch screen tablets connect shoppers to the brand’s most current stylebook for convenient and easy shopping. While there are flashing lights in the store and a buzz from the crowds, the Gap store still manages to feel soothing on the nerves.
This doesn’t mean it isn’t as crowded as every other store in Times Square. Yet, the store’s chill spaces, stylish seating areas outside the changing rooms and phone charging areas offer so much resting space that shopping in the store never gets overwhelming. The Gap store is located on Broadway between 43rd and 44th Streets.
If the Gap’s medium priced fashions are a bit high for your pockets, the chain shares space with its budget friendly sister, Old Navy.
Time Square’s Old Navy is the typical Old Navy store and possibly the best place for budget shopping in Times Square. Basic sweaters, tees, jeans, pajamas and outerwear in fun colors and spread over three floors make it easy to get your fill of budget finds.
As with all other Old Navy stores, the sale and clearance section here is a big hit. The clearance section devoted to finds from older seasons at jaw droppingly low prices one wouldn’t expect to see in New York City make it worth your time.
If you are on the market for medium priced designer jeans, just a few steps away from Old Navy and the Gap you’ll find the Levi’s store (also on Broadway between 43rd and 44th St).
Levi’s makes jeans in every wash and cut on earth and is popular for medium priced jeans designed to fit a woman’s curves perfectly. The modern silhouettes and washes make the store a cult among jeans lovers.
The branch in Times Square is the brand's flagship store and it shows. A huge space filled with all the brand’s newest jeans, jackets and shirts and good customer service make it a hit with even New Yorkers. If you are having difficulty finding a size in other Levi's stores this is the branch to visit. If you do visit, be sure to check out the clearance section in the back for deals like $15 jeans!
Rounding off the stores in this section of Times Square is Steve Madden (3 Times Square Building) with its hip collection of shoes and accessories, Aldo (West 42nd Street) for shoes in more classic styles and Footlocker (1460 Broadway) for sneakers of all makes.
Makeup Stores in Times Square
Nothing livens up an outfit like the right makeup. If you are looking for makeup or beauty buys, New York City is the place to be. The city takes beauty seriously. So much so that one of the biggest names in beauty, Sephora, has two branches within blocks of each other in Times Square. Other big names also have stores in the area.
After leaving Levi’s, there are many turns you can take, but if you are like me the chance to try the latest perfumes, makeup or skincare will be too tempting to pass. This is where the nearby Sephora with its exciting collection of beauty gems come in. Sephora has two stores in Times Square. There is the branch on Broadway (close to Levi’s, between 43rd and 44th St) and one a few blocks away on 42nd Street.
The Broadway branch is larger and more crowded than the one on 42nd, but the size means that the collection is better and that shoppers are more likely to find what they need. Like all other Sephora stores, the branches in Times Square stock the latest in skincare, whether it be Japanese cult favorites like Tatcha and Shiseido, natural lines like Origins and Bareminerals or more traditional favorites like Chanel and Clinique.
The makeup collection is equally dynamic. African Americans will find lots to love with lines like pop star Rihana’s Fenty, the wide reaching Makeup Forever brand, Becca and Cover Fx to name a few. Goth lovers will adore the Kat Von D line which invented the matte lip look. Those with sensitive skin will find numerous options: Bareminerals , Benefit Cosmetics, Belif and others. And those looking for the good stuff from high end brands will also find something--Gorgio Armani Beauty, Dior Makeup, Lancome, Estee Lauder and Guerlain are just a few of the bigger names the store carries. Even budget lovers will find something in the store’s own brand which offers foundation, lipstick and an excellent hyaluronic based moisturizer that this writer cannot live without.
This location of Sephora is popular for the free makeovers it offers to those spending a certain amount ($50 as of this writing). so if you want a special look before going to a show on nearby Broadway, a stop at Sephora may be a good idea.
If you are a perfume lover you are also in luck. The Sephora store in Times Square has all the best perfumes and some indie names that will be a pleasure to discover. If you do visit look out for the collections from Nest or Pinrose for the newest smells from the indie perfumeries.
Sephora is a favorite because of the many collections and designers it offers under one roof. Tempting as having all these choices is, there are die hearted fan of the vibrant MAC brand that will only wear the brand’s makeup. If you fall into this category, head one block up Broadway (between 45th and 46th St) for the brands lively Times Square store.
The Mac store in Times Square pulsates with excitement. Snappy music, an engaged crowd, colorful makeup and the best customer service make it a good experience. Add in makeovers that seem more edgy than those offered at Sephora, a line of skincare products and decent prices and its clear why this store is always packed.
A few blocks away from the Mac Cosmetics store is a store that promises to keep you smelling as good while maintaining your soft skin.
If you were obsessed with Bath and Body Works as a teenager then this store is for you. Sabon is basically the adult version of Bath and Body works. From the first step into this Times Square store your nose will be in heaven. With concoctions that sound like they should be in a tropical drink and products designed to pamper the skin and the bath, Sabon is the place for lovers of body products and natural cosmetics.
The company boasts that they are vegan and never test on animals and also has a reputation for natural and clean feeling formulations. At the time of this writing, the collections included formulations like mango kiwi, coconut vanilla, rose tea and patchouli lavender vanilla.
In addition to bath and body products, Sabon also sells candles, facial serums and foot scrubs. And not to worry if you need to try something, the Sabon store in Times Square has a gorgeous sink where customers can try all their products before making a purchase.
Sabon is located at 1450 Broadway.
Accessories and Jewelry Stores in Times Square
If jewelry is a girl's best friend, then accessories are her constant companion. Those looking to complete their wardrobes will be happy to know that Time Square is also home to a nice variety of stores specializing in accessories and jewelry. In the same area as the Mac Cosmetics store sits a store that specializes in a woman's ultimate summer accessory-- designer sunglasses.
Sharing the same building as the Mac Cosmetics store (Broadway Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets) is this popular spot for sunglasses from the biggest designers. Those looking for the perfect summer accent will find the latest from Dior, Chanel and others.
The shopping experience is as lively as the streets just outside the store. L.E.D lights flash in synch with the latest music and there are L.E.D powered shows on the walls right before your eyes. There are also options to virtually try on sunglasses before buying. All in all, Sunglass Hut is the best store in Times Square for those looking for sunglasses.
Right across from Sunglass Hut is a store known for fun, funky watches and accessories.
Brave the crowds and costumed characters vying for a paid photo opportunity and step inside this store for a collection of colorful watches and accessories that will be the perfect touch to some of your outfits. The store is located on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets.
One block up from Swatch is a gorgeous store that specializes in jewelry made from crystals and gems.
A few blocks from the Swatch and Sunglass Hut stores is this Austrian crystal gem of a store that is known for colorful crystal jewelry and accessories. The store is popular for pretty necklaces with crystal pendants and beautiful bracelets. There are also earrings and watches on sale.
Those looking for gifts will also love the wide array of crystal figurines and other crystal encrusted accessories like smart phone cases and pens. The store is located on Broadway at the corner of 47th Street.
Charm bracelets are now part of everyday life for many women. The pleasing dangly creations turn the wrist into a veritable display for a woman's multi faceted life. There are charms to celebrate family, milestones, hobbies and almost anything one can think of.
Pandora is perhaps the U.S's most beloved brand of charms and charm bracelets. The brand makes charms to celebrate travelling adventures (Eiffel tower charms and NYC charms are just a few from their collection), charms to celebrate life milestones (anniversaries, birthdays etc), charms that celebrate hobbies and everyday charms. The store in Times Square carries a good stock of the most popular charms and also sells other jewelry like rings and necklaces.
Those seeking souvenirs will also find a large collection of NYC themed charms. It gets packed as the holidays draw near so plan on spending a long time in here if you go close to Christmas. If you do visit over the holidays, you may be interested in these free things to do in New York City at Christmas. I've also written a mini guide on some other things you can do in Times Square after you're done shopping.
Shopping in Times Square is an exciting affair that is also easily accessible. All the stores mentioned above can be reached by taking the 1,2,3,A,C,E,N,Q,R trains to the 42nd Street/ Times Square stop. Before continuing to the men's section, here is a map for further directions:
Men's Clothing Stores in Times Square
H&M is a short walk from the 42nd street subway stops. Its location on Broadway(between 42nd and 43rd St.) puts it right in the middle of Times Square's action. The store dedicates the majority of a floor to men so finding something to take home should be easy. Basics tees, shirts and jeans are the brand's biggest draws for men.
The atmosphere is electrifying and is not for those who are sensitive to loud music (there is a live DJ) or flashing lights.
Gap and Old Navy
From H&M, these two sister brands are just a short block away, on Broadway Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets. Both stores are known for classic Americana styles, basics like khakis, sweaters, tees and jeans. The latter is the more colorful and budget friendly brand. They share a building so hopping from one to the other will be easy for fans of the stores.
Both brands also have denim lines for men looking for budget friendly jeans.
Speaking of jeans, Levi’s are a cult favorite among men of all ages. The brand has been around forever and is popular for both novel styles and more traditional ones. The store in Times Square is the brand’s flagship so expect to find all the latest in the sizes you want. Even harder to find shirts will be in stock and probably on sale- it seems this branch of the store always has a sale. Levi's is on the same block as the Gap and Old Navy stores.
Men and sneakers go hand in hand and Times Square delivers for the man looking for the latest in sneakers. There are three levels to this branch of the store with one level dedicated totally to men. Men who love sneakers will be in heaven here. All the newest styles in every color imaginable call this Foot Locker home.
Like H&M, this particular footlocker is not for those who are sensitive to noise. The music and announcements can get deafening so be forewarned. If the loud music won't bother you, this is the best place in Times Square to get the latest in sneakers. There are also accessories like shoe inserts and some sporting gear. This branch of Foot Locker is on Broadway between 42nd and 41st Streets.
If you are looking for sports gears, more than you are sneakers, right across from Foot Locker is the popular Champs Sports store.
The blue Champs sign in the middle of Times Square has become something of a landmark. Sporting fans and men looking for sneakers will love the store. There are sneakers and shoes for every sport and every season. There is also an extensive collection of sporting gear from Adidas, Nike and other big names in sporting goods. There really is no other sporting store in Times Square that compares to Champs and the crowds show it. If you do visit, be prepared to spend a long time getting served by the stock room attendants and a longer time in the cashier lines.
U.S. Polo Association
The U.S Polo Association store is another favorite with men. After leaving Champs or Footlocker, the store is just a few minutes up Broadway avenue (between 45th and 46th Streets) and is the place for those looking for polo shirts. The store has stacks upon stacks of the casual shirts in every color imaginable.
U.S Polo Association shares a building with the Disney Store, Forever 21 and Sunglass Hut so after shopping for polo shirts, one can easily pick up a gift for a child or some designer sunglasses.
If casual polo shirts won't do for your needs, this next store stocks suits, work shirts and a variety of men's formal wear that may fit the bill.
Men’s Warehouse stocks suits, formal wear, work shirts and more. They also rent tuxedos. The store is at 50th Street and 7th Avenue.
Those looking for a gift for a man or for the perfect finishing touch may want to visit the watch stores in this part of Times Square.
Where to Buy Watches in Times Square
Fossil and Invicta
Between these two stores, all the accessory needs of a man should be covered. Fossil (Broadway between 47th and 48th Streets) carries watches and leather accessories like wallets and belts at mid range prices and Invicta( Broadway between 45th and 46th) carries sleek, stylish watches priced on the higher end.
Men shopping in Times Square will find it's easy to get to any of the stores mentioned here. The 1,2,3, A, C, E, N, Q and R trains all go to the Times Square/42nd Street stop and will leave you within walking distance of Time Square's shopping district .Those who want further directions will find the following map handy.
Kids' Shopping in Times Square
You loved Disney as a child and now your kid does. The Disney store in Times Square is two levels of all things Disney. Every Disney character you can think of and its branded products can be found in the store. There is clothing, stuffed toys, books and Disney branded accessories.
Princess lovers will love the Cinderella castle in the store. Of course, the other Disney princess characters also call the store home. If there is time after waiting in Disney's long lines, the store shares a building with Mac Cosmetics, U.S Polo Association and Sunglass Hut for some adult fun.
While Disney (on Broadway Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets) is the best store in Times Square for younger kids, right next door is an all-time teen favorite.
Like its name suggests, Forever 21 is a perennial favorite among teenagers and young adults. Trendy styles, bohemian styles and the latest in youth fashion are the brand's staples. Teens also love the low priced accessories and shoes. Forever 21 is located on Broadway avenue between 45th and 46th Streets.
Hershey's and M&M Stores
A few blocks from Forever 21 (walk towards 7th avenue) are two of the sweetest stores in Times Square. Both stores sit across from each other—Hershey's is at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue, and M&M's is on 7th Avenue. As expected, the multi-leveled stores stock candy. However, there is much more than candy to be found. There is Hershey and M&M branded products and memorabilia that your kids will go giddy for. And costumed characters that sometimes stop by to surprise the younger shoppers. If kids are part of your party, check out this list of things to do with kids in New York City, for even more ideas of ways to keep your young ones entertained on your trip.
If the chocolate treats in the M&M and Hershey's stores leave the adults in the party hungering for treats, Times Square is home to a few famous bakeries and dessert shops that are guaranteed to hit the spot.
Treats and Bakeries in Times Square
Fans of the Cake Boss show will enjoy trying cake or pastry from this excellent bakery. While this isn't the original one where the show filmed (the original bakery is in Hoboken, New Jersey which is right across the Hudson river from NYC and can be accessed by train or ferry), this Times Square bakery is one of the best spots for sweet treats and desserts after a day spent shopping. Expect lines and a good natured crowd. Carlos Bakery is on 8th Avenue between 41st ad 42nd Street, just a block or two from most of the stores in this guide.
Cheesecake lovers will love New York City's best spot for cheesecake. Juniors is just three blocks away from Carlos Bakery (45th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues) and is more than just a Times Square bakery: it's restaurant, dessert shop and bar all rolled in one. Visit and you will not be disappointed. With dozens of flavors of cheesecakes like red velvet, chocolate and numerous fruit topped varieties, Juniors is the one restaurant in Times Square that visitors must visit at least once. If you happen to stop by at lunch or dinner time, the restaurant also serves good meals and opens way into the night.
Magnolia Bakery is not technically one of Times Square's bakeries. It is a few blocks away and calls the nearby Rockefeller Center home. However it's close proximity to Times Square and its reputation for delectable cupcakes in the most creative flavor combinations makes it a must for those looking for baked treats in Times Square. The pretty store serves yummy, made from scratch cupcakes that are moist, flavorful and pretty to look at. Locals frequent the store when cupcakes are needed for special occasions or just to treat themselves. A local favorite is the pistachio cupcake, but other traditional flavors like chocolate peanut butter and red velvet are also available.
The bakery is easy to find, just follow directions to Rockefeller Center.
Ben & Jerry's
This beloved Vermont brand is popular for high quality ice cream in the most delicious combinations. Whether you are a lover of brownies mixed into your ice cream or the popular cherry infused Cherry Garcia flavor, Ben and Jerry's is a great place to cool down with a cone on a warm day. The store is located on 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.
Specialty Stores in Times Square
The W Store
If you stayed in the hotel of the same name and were impressed by the bedding, this is the place to buy official W Hotel bed linens. Also look out for toiletries, robes and more travel essentials.
Yankees fan will find much to love in this store. It carries the baseball team's licensed jerseys, caps and anything else a Yankee fan could want.
Shopping in Times Square is an experience to be had at least once on any New York City visit. This guide to the best stores in the area should come in handy if your New York City plans include shopping.
© 2018 Rosheda Stephenson