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Unexpected Shopping Destinations: The Western United States

Whether you’re vacationing in July or December, shopping never goes out of season! Over the next few months join me as we journey around the world to discover unique and unexpected shopping destinations that you and your entire family are sure to enjoy. So fasten your seat belts, get your wallets ready, and make sure to leave extra room in your suitcases for new purchases! First stop: the Western United States…

From Hawaii to California, the West Coast is full of unique shopping experiences for any traveler. So gather up your belongings and head out to enjoy some fun in the sun shopping at one of these seven unexpected and unbelievable shopping destinations in the Western U.S.

1. Big Island, Hawaii

Big Island Shopping

While relaxing on this beautiful island in Hawaii, visit Ali’i Drive for some of the best shopping around. Whether you need sandals and a big straw hat or jewelry and a sarong, this drive will let you bring the island flavor back home with you. The Kona Inn Shopping Village, originally a wealthy hotel from the 20’s, has now been transformed into a gorgeous low-rise mall with dozens of clothing boutiques, art galleries, gift shops, and island-style eateries. For an even more authentic shopping experience, visit the Ali’i Gardens Marketplace to stroll, shop, and enjoy the Hawaiian aura in a beautiful garden setting. Not only will you enjoy a friendly atmosphere and be able to take advantage of great deals offered by merchants and farmers, but you will also be able to enjoy daily events ranging from Na Kapuna Hula dancing and ukulele lessons to lei making and ukulele jam sessions.

2. Carmel, California

Carmel Shopping

Carmel shopping is a unique metropolitan style, all-day experience and then some! The most discriminating shopper is sure to find something of great appeal in one of the town’s stone-paved alleyways or curlicue-roofed shops. Visit The Crossroads Shopping Village for an even more quaint and fashionable shopping experience. Along a flower-filled boulevard, friendly shopkeepers present the finest in anything and everything – fashion, jewelry, gifts, specialty food and more. And if you’re tired and hungry from all the shopping, The Crossroads also offers the best one-stop selection of award winning dining on the Californian Monterey Peninsula, so take a break and re-energize for more!  From outdoor malls to family-owned boutiques, Carmel offers a shopping environment of infinite exploration.

3. Laguna Beach, California

Laguna Beach Shopping

Laguna Beach is a walkable quaint village located in the heart of Southern California, making shopping in this fun and funky town an experience like none other. Take home part of Laguna Beach’s unique style with a beautiful piece of art you won’t find anywhere else. Over 100 art galleries and artists’ studios showcase all types of mediums, from paintings and sculptures to glass blowing and modern art. From the galleries in North Gallery Row to the showcases of the downtown village of South Laguna, you’ll find it easy to spend the day gallery-hopping as you explore all the incredible talents of these world-renowned artists. You’ll also discover an elaborate and unique collection of home furnishings to make your home a space to notice. And for those hard-to-find items, Laguna Beach boasts plenty of specialty stores that are sure to make your shopping experience a success.

4. Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu Shopping

The tropical setting of open air markets, luxury resort shops and an abundance of Hawaiian retail stores makes shopping a popular activity on a Hawaii vacation. For the casual shopper or the sophisticated consumer, Oahu is a virtual shopping paradise. Find a delightful variety of independent, locally owned markets and stores, national retail chains, and upscale boutiques that sell everything from handcrafted, Hawaiian products to imported items from around the world. If you’re looking to please both the beach bum and shopaholic, visit the infamous Waikiki Beach – the shopping capital on the beautiful island of Oahu! The Waikiki Beach Walk has all one needs, from art to jewelry to handcrafted trinkets. Just stroll along the amazing white sand beaches to discover the best shopping the island has to offer… and when you get tired of shopping (if that’s even possible), just head straight to the beach!

5. Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale Shopping

Although Scottsdale has primarily been known for its lavish resorts and manicured golf courses, Scottsdale is now becoming a hot shopping locale. Scottsdale has become the place for veteran shoppers, attracting more and more high-end boutiques everyday. At places like the Scottsdale Waterfront, the Borgata, and Kierland Commons, you will find original designers and showcases of the latest Hollywood trends in everything from clothing and accessories to chic alternative clothing and sophisticated nighttime wear. With more than 5,500 retail stores, malls, boutiques, and outlets, Scottsdale is home to serious shoppers who need some of the country’s finest retail therapy. What better way to spend your summer vacation than with a little retail therapy in the heart of Arizona?

6. South Lake Tahoe, California
South Lake Tahoe Shopping

The clear, blue lake and heavenly mountains are not the only reasons to visit Lake Tahoe. Along with the beauty of the natural wilderness, South Lake Tahoe is also home of unrestrained, multi-venue shopping. Visitors find numerous boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants with an open invitation to enter, browse, buy, and consume. While enjoying the view, head over to Tahoe Factory Store outlets for discount prices or over to Heavenly Village for some heavenly shopping. This beautiful village is a European-styled commercial shopping center surrounding the bottom of the Heavenly Gondola. With cobblestone walkways and slopped alpine roofs, the village shops sell everything from clothing and books to summer and winter sporting equipment and wine.

7. Taos, New Mexico

Taos, NM   Shopping

Taos is in a state of constant evolution, but the culture and core authenticity keeps Taos timeless. Don Fernando de Taos Plaza was settled by the Spanish colonists more than 300 years ago and still retains its original shape through plazas, paintings, artifacts, and more. Head over to the heart of Taos to find one-of-a-kind gifts and conversation pieces at local boutiques, museum shops, craft fairs, and artisan’s workshops. From the Alpacacs store with luxurious alpaca yarn, clothing, accessories, and toys, to the El Rincon Trading Post with pawn and contemporary jewelry, pottery, books, and Indian artifacts, Taos is home to unique items that are perfect for authentic gifts and conversation pieces back home.