Traveling to New York City comes at a cost; the Big Apple is one of the world’s most expensive cities as you probably know already. You also might be aware that shopping when in NYC is one of tourists’ favorite things to do. But you shouldn’t just go shopping in the first place you see because you might end up overpaying big-time! However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find any good affordable shopping spots. In fact, there are a lot of options when it comes to cheap shopping in NYC and that’s what this post is all about that.
Here, we’ll cover some of the best places in New York for buying cheap clothes, cheap accessories, affordable designer clothes at a discount, cheap souvenirs, the best thrift stores, most affordable outlet malls, and much more.
This might get overwhelming and if you think you’re too lazy to do all the research and planning involved in finding cheap shopping places in New York, you can always join this NYC shopping tour that covers some great spots. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a great day trip, you can also check out this tour that covers a day trip to The Hamptons, Sag Harbor & Outlet.
What to do to take a break from shopping?
Before we get to the actual shopping suggestions, let me suggest a few resources about things to do in New York because you probably won’t be shopping all the time. If you like getting off the beaten track, check out our list of hidden gems in New York City. If you’re a fan of quirky attractions, you’ll probably like this list of things you can only do in New York and nowhere else.
And last but not least, if you’re traveling to New York alone, make sure to check out our solo travel guide to NYC and the best things to do in New York for solo travelers. And if you’re visiting the US for the first time, make sure to check out this list of things to know before visiting America. With that being said, let me show you some of my favorite spots for cheap shopping in NYC.
Once upon a time, Century 21 was New York’s best-kept secret. Today, a lot more people know about this bargain designer store and prices are slightly higher than what they used to be but Century 21 definitely still deserves a mention on this guide to cheap shopping in NYC. Here, you can find up to 70% discounts on practically everything from shoes to hats. The main outlet covers seven floors and is located in the Financial District but there are more than 15 different Century 21 stores around NYC.
Working Hours: 9 AM- 5 PM every day;
Location: 323 East 11th Street, New York.
Directions: (for the main store at Lower Manhattan) get on the 4 or 5 subway line and get off at Fulton Street. Walk along Church Street and 6th Avenue and take a turn on 5 W 19th Street. From here, the store is 2 minutes away (by walking).
If you don’t like walking around on your own and would like to take a guided shopping tour of the entire Garment District, check out this interesting tour of the area
If you want designer clothes but have the budget of a thrift store diva, the Buffalo Exchange is the place for you. This popular thrift store in Brooklyn (there are a few other stores in different parts of New York too) is one of the best spots for cheap shopping in NYC when it comes to vintage and designer clothes. However, despite being a thrift store, many of the things on display actually still have their tags on which indicates that some of the clothes being sold here have never been used (or have been used on a handful of occasions).
Working Hours: 11 AM- 8 PM every day except for Sunday; 11 AM- 7 PM on Sundays.
Location: 109 Boerum Pl, Brooklyn, NY.
Directions: Take the subway to 14 St – Union Sq. From here, take a turn on Driggs Ave and take the second left (on N 9th St.).
Beacon’s Closet is one of the hottest thrift stores in Greenwich Village. The clothes inside the store are sorted by color which makes for a very visually appealing shopping experience. This store also buys clothes in addition to selling them and you can get up to 55% discount by selling your in-season, slightly worn clothes for 35% off. They have several outlets but the one in Greenwich Village is very picky about the things they take (and therefore, has the nicest selection of clothes)
Working Hours: 11 AM- 8 PM
Address: 10 W 13th St, New York, NY
Directions: Take the subway to 14 St – Union Sq. From here, walk along E 14th Street and take a turn on 5th Avenue. Lastly, take a right turn on W 13th Street and the stop will be right around the corner.
DSW Union Square
DSW is hands-down the best, affordable shoe store in New York City. I know that DSW is an international brand but there’s just something special about their store at Union Square. The store is huge and it has one of the widest selections of shows I have ever seen and many of them sell at 40-80% discount! Most of the shoes that are on clearance can be found in the back of the store, so search thoroughly and be patient.
Working Hours: Mon-Sat 9 AM- 9 PM, Sunday 10 AM- 7 PM.
Address: 40 E 14th St, New York, NY.
Directions: Take the subway and get off at 14 St – Union Sq. From here, walk along E 14th Street for one minute and you’ll see the DSW.
If you’re looking for some cheap yet original Nordstrom items, this is the place for you. Here, you can find plenty of overstocked or off-season pieces that were once displayed at the original Nordstrom stores (but unfortunately, never sold). You can get branded men’s and women’s wear, shoes, accessories, and other items for close to (or even lower than) half their original price.
Working Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM- 9 PM, Sunday 11 AM- 7 PM.
Address: 865 6th Ave, New York, NY.
Directions: Take the subway and get off at 34 St – Herald Sq Subway Station. From here, just walk along 6th Avenue until you see the store. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes of walking.
City Opera Thrift Shop
City Opera is another vintage thrift shop with a wide selection of clothing, bags, shoes, and accessories but only for women. There’s also an upper floor where you can find some interesting art and décor pieces and even some furniture. The best thing about this store is that all proceeds are donated to the New York City Opera.
Working Hours: Tue-Sat 11 AM- 6 PM, Sunday 12 AM- 6 PM, closed on Mondays.
Address: 513 W 26th St, New York, NY.
Directions: Take the subway and get off at 23 St. Subway Station. From here, just walk along 6th Avenue and take a left on W 26th St and walk until you see the store. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes of walking.
Goldwater Thriftique (AuH2O)
Goldwater Thriftique is one of my favorite spots for cheap shopping in NYC. The shop is located in East Village and it’s smaller than most of the other shops we mention on this list but that doesn’t mean you can’t find any bargains. The last time I was here, there were only a handful of items over $25 and everything else was below this price range which is something I really didn’t expect to find in a city like NYC. With these prices, I wonder how is it possible that this store is still profitable.
Note: All of the items on display are women’s wear.
Working Hours: Fri-Sun 12 PM- 7 PM but will soon increase their hours according to their website.
Address: 84 E 7th St, New York, NY.
Directions: Take the subway and get off at Astor Place. From here, just walk down the avenue and take a left before Cooper Square. Walk down E 7th St. and you should reach the store in 5-6 minutes.
Housing Works Bookstore Café
I accidentally discovered this thrift store while visiting the bookstore next to it but it’s a real gem. They always have some great deals that will be appealing even if you don’t intend to buy anything. And not only are their prices tempting but also all of the store’s proceeds are donated to HIV/AIDS-associated NGOs. Hence, not only will you get ridiculous deals but you’ll also feel good about yourself knowing that 100% of the money from your recent purchase goes to charity.
Hours: 12 PM- 6 PM every day.
Address: 126 Crosby Street (there are a few other stores in Brooklyn, Yorkville, and Upper West Side).
Directions: Just get off at Broadway-Lafayette Subway Station and go down Crosby Street. The store is only 2 minutes away from the station.
Cure Thrift Shop
If you’re looking for a shop where you can find some affordable souvenirs or accessories, Cure Thrift Shop is the place for you. They have a wide range of vintage jewelry cases, quirky antiques, sewing machines, old typewriters, and even furniture. All of the items on display are functional. The shop also extends downstairs in the basement where you can find racks filled with affordable clothing and shoes that cater to a variety of different styles.
If you’re lucky, you might be around for their epic “$15 on anything that can fit into your bag” event that usually takes place two times a year. All of Cure Thrift Shop’s proceeds are donated to the Diabetes Research Institute.
Hours: 12 PM- 9 PM every day.
Address: 111 E 12th St, New York, NY.
Directions: Just get off at 14th Street Station and walk along 4th Avenue for 3-4 minutes until you see the store.
Speaking of cheap shopping in NYC, we felt we should add a couple of places that aren’t strictly selling clothes. One of those places is Fishs Eddy, a cute vintage shop in Flatiron District. Fishs Eddy has the most interesting affordable assortment of kitchenware and flatware in New York. So, if you want to add some flare to your kitchen or buy a gift for a friend or relative who’s a culinary wiz, Fishs Eddy has everything you can imagine and they add to their inventory at least a few times per year. They also often have weekly clearance sales where you can get some ridiculous bargains.
Hours: 10 PM- 6 PM every day.
Address: 889 Broadway, New York, NY.
Directions: Just get off at 14th Street Station, pass Union Square and walk along Broadway for 3-4 minutes until you see the store.
Macy’s (at Herald Square)
You didn’t think we’ll complete this list of spots for cheap shopping in NYC without Macy’s, did you? Until recently, Macy’s store at Herald Square was the largest store department store in the world (today, that’s Shinsegae in Busan, Korea) but this store is still an icon of New York. Whether you want to buy new clothes or accessories, something for your home, or some interesting souvenirs, you can get it all at Macy’s. The store is so large that they even have a multilingual Visitor Center trained to help customers on the 34th Street balcony.
Hours: Sun-Thu 11 AM- 8 PM, Fri-Sat 11 AM- 10 PM.
Address: 151 W 34th St, New York, NY.
Directions: Just get off at Herald Square Station and you’ll find Macy’s down the street.
Encompassing more than 200 outlet stores and one of the few Channel outlets in the world, Woodbury Common is one of the premium spots for cheap shopping in NYC. The entire area closely resembles a village with shopping outlets instead of houses, creating an enjoyable shopping atmosphere. Most of the outlets feature famous brands with prices up to 60% lower than most stores. Some of the brands you can expect to find here include Burberry, Dolce& Gabanna, Coach, Fendi, Armani, Jimmy Choo, Givenchy, Kate Spade, Barneys, Arc’teryx, and many more.
Hours: Mon-Thu 11 AM- 8 PM, Fri-Sun 10 AM- 9 PM.
Address: Red Apple Court, Central Valley, NY.
Directions: The outlet is located in Central Valley, roughly an hour north of Manhattan, and getting there with public transport can be somewhat difficult. The nearest subway station is Harriman which is roughly 3 miles away. Fortunately, there are tourist buses that take visitors to the outlet and there are even some guided tours that cover a day trip from New York.
Empire Outlets, Staten Island
Opened in 2019, Empire Outlets is technically the only outlet mall in New York City (at the time of writing this article). Not only is the Empire Outlets one of the most exciting shopping spots in town but their prices are also more than affordable. Here, you can get between 30% and 50% off on brands like Nike, Old Navy, Levi’s, Columbia Factory, and many more. The outlet is located roughly 20 minutes away from Lower Manhattan but the only way to reach it is via the Staten Island Ferry (it’s for free).
Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM- 8 PM, Sun 11 AM- 7 PM.
Address: 55 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island.
Directions: Hop on the Staten Island Ferry at Whitehall Terminal and ride the ferry to the St. George Terminal. From here, the outlets less than half a mile away.
The first Ina store was opened in 1993 and ever since it has quickly become one of New York’s best discount stores, and subsequently, new shops were open in many different areas of the city. This store has a reputation for selling high-quality clothes at insane discount prices. They only accept the highest quality merchandise for resale and that’s why here, you’ll find brands like Chanel, Pucci, Bally, etc. Judging by the prices, you might think that they sell cheap knock-offs but that’s actually not the case. Most of the products on display are indeed branded.
Hours: 12 PM- 7 PM every day.
Address: 21 Prince Street, New York, NY.
Directions: Take the subway to 2nd Ave. Walk along E Houston Street and take a left on Elizabeth Street. Proceed to the next corner
(not more than 2 minutes walking) and Ina NYC will be on your right.
10 Ft. Single by Stella Dallas
This stylish shop is the go-to vintage thrift store for most locals. Located in the trendy (and some would say hipster) neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, the 10 Ft. Single by Stella Dallas has a great assortment of vintage clothing and knick-knacks. Inside the store, you’ll find some retro clothes from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and even some old-time western outfits. Honestly, I don’t know if anyone would still wear these things but they sure make some awesome collectible items.
However, that’s not all you can find here. There are also a lot of everyday apparel and of course, some great discounts. My favorite thing about this store was that the items are divided into sections following the layout of the store with things getting more expensive the deeper you go in the store.
Hours: 12 PM- 7:15 PM every day.
Address: 285 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY.
Directions: Take the subway to Metropolitan Ave in Brooklyn. Pass by the Macri Triangle and underneath the Brooklyn Queens Expy and you’ll find the store on N 6th Street.
Goodwill Thrifting Stores
You have not experienced New York’s shopping craze until visiting one of Goodwill’s thrifting stores. If you want to experience culture shock, visit their main store in Long Island City and you’ll see long queues of people waiting to get inside. Inside, it’s even worse, rushing and shoving is not unusual but that’s okay if you have the bargains to be made in mind. To this day, it’s the only store I’ve seen that sells items by weighting (you pay by the pound).
But I didn’t mean to scare you, not all of their shops are this chaotic. I’ve had a lot more pleasant shopping experience in the store on Upper East Side and the one on East 23rd Street.
Hours: 11 AM- 7 PM every day.
Address: 47-47 Van Dam St, Queens, NY.
Directions: Take the subway to 33 St Rawson Street. Go down 33rd Street, take a right on 47 Avenue, and then take a left on Van Dam Street. The complete walk shouldn’t take more than 4-5 minutes.
Canal Street Market in Chinatown
Canal Street in Chinatown is filled with infamous discount shops that sell knock-off products. Some are better than others but in reality, 99% of the things you’ll find here are knock-offs. The atmosphere is also very different than anywhere else in New York with aggressive sellers getting into your face and expecting you to bargain.
Needless to say, cash is king here and the entire area is a huge hub of grey economy. If you plan to buy anything from here, keep in mind that you always have to bargain (the starting asking price will usually be very high) and carry a lot of small bills. You don’t want to bargain down to $10 and pay with a $50 bill.
Hours: 11 AM- 6 PM every day.
Address: 265 Canal St, New York, NY.
Directions: Take the subway to Canal Street Station. Walk down canal street for 3-4 minutes and you’ll notice the Canal Street Market.
Mother of Junk
I know its name might sound appealing at a glance, but trust me, Mother of Junk is one of the best places for budget shopping in NYC. Located in one of New York’s trendiest neighborhoods (Williamsburg in Brooklyn), this store has a crazy selection of well-priced decorations, accessories, furniture, dishes, vinyl records, and kitchen appliances.
Many of the items here are not very appealing but if you don’t mind “digging” for a gem, you might be pleasantly surprised. If you intend to visit, always head to the “New Arrivals” rack first because the highest-quality items generally get snatched first when they go on sale.
Hours: 9 AM- 9 PM every day (since recently due to the pandemic they are only open on Thursday from 9 AM to 9 PM).
Address: 267 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY.
Directions: Get off at Bedford Ave Station and keep walking south along Bedford Avenue. The store is 6-7 minutes away, at the intersection with N 1st Street.
In the end, we round up this list of spots for cheap shopping in NYC with one of the most colorful and eclectic shops in Williamsburg, the Monk Vintage Thrift Store. The store is brimming with branded, second-hand clothing items and shoes available in a myriad of different vibrant colors. Just like in every other thrift shop, you need to do some snooping around to find the real treasures but the entire experience will be very pleasant because of the fabulous interior of the store.
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 AM- 7:30 PM, Fri-Sat 11:30 AM- 8 PM, Sun 12 PM- 7:30 PM.
Address: 496 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY.
Directions: Get off at Bedford Ave Station and keep walking north along Bedford Avenue. The store is 2-3 minutes away, at the intersection with N 9th Street.
A few more tips for cheap shopping in NYC
Last but not least, this article wouldn’t be complete without a few handy tips for shopping on a budget in NYC.
Hunt for sample sales
In New York, design houses rent venues in Manhattan (or other hotspots) to liquidate their samples, flawed pieces, or overruns. During these sample sales, shoppers can get anywhere between 60% and 90% off the retail price! The only drawback about sample sales is that samples are generally smaller sizes and in most places, they don’t allow try-ons but still that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on them. There are a handful of websites like Chicmi and The Stylish City that can keep you notified of the upcoming designer sales.
Keep an eye on retail sales
Just like in most places in the world, retail sales happen up to four times a year in most shops. Quaint boutiques in NYC have sales twice a year and some small shops keep producing shorter retail sales on multiple different occasions throughout the year. Last but not least, you should keep in mind that the bigger the store, the more retail sales they have. Macy’s (the one at Herald Square) for example, has retail sales on different products just about every day.
Call ahead before checking out a store
Things in New York move a lot faster than any other city in the world, especially in Manhattan and Downtown. So, if the addresses on some of these shops are not correct, it’s because the shop has been relocated. Stores in NYC tend to come and go quickly (especially the big brands with dozens of different outlets) which is why you should always call ahead before going to the store to make sure the address listed on Google, Yelp, etc. is correct.
The total sales tax in NYC is 8.875% and most items that cost less than $110 USD are exempt from New York State sales tax. Knowing this, it might be cheaper to ask the store to ship your order to your home state (if you come from another city in the US). If you’re buying more different (expensive) items, you can save a lot of money this way.
Bring recyclable bags
Not necessarily related to cheap shopping in NYC but you should always do your best to be a socially conscious shopper and use a recyclable tote bag when shopping. If you don’t have your own, you can get cheap toat bags at places like Marshall, TJ Maxx, etc for less than $1. Not only is this more eco-friendly than using plastic bags but it also makes shopping more convenient for you (you won’t have to carry everything in different plastic bags).
Did you ever visit New York? Did you like our tips for cheap shopping in NYC? Do you think there are some other important things about budget shopping in NYC? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!
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