There's no method behind our madness. We just thought it would be fun to pull together a national guide to shopping destinations, so we picked 25 good ones. If you're thinking of taking a trip this summer and you're not sure where to go, any one of these cities has a lot to offer.
- Atlanta: The shopping capital of the Southeast, full of lovely antique stores and modern design. Don't miss... the Buckhead neighborhood, where you'll find upscale boutiques and unique designer furniture.
- Austin: The vibe here is casual, cool, and independent. Don't miss... all the great vintage and garden stores.
- Boston: It's a walking city with some wonderfully eclectic and quirky shops. Don't miss... the South End and Cambridge neighborhoods for cool furniture boutiques.
- Chapel Hill: A true college town full of art galleries, antique shops, and book stores. Don't miss... Toots and Magoo on Franklin Street — an art, antiques, and accessories store that hosts French social nights!
Charleston, South Carolina
- Charleston: A gorgeous historic town with tasteful antique shops. Don't miss...antique shopping on Lower King Street and the Charleston design district on Upper King Street.
- Chicago: Awe-inspiring architecture, tons of distinct neighborhoods each with their own personality, and great food. Don't miss... The Andersonville neighborhood's antique stores, thrift shops, and Swedish restaurants.
- Columbus: A Midwestern college town with superior art venues and vintage shops. Don't miss...vintage Parisian style at Collier West and the Wexner Center for the Arts, a world-class contemporary museum with a great gift shop.
- Dallas: It's a city where everything is BIG, and the malls far outdo most of the country. Don't miss... the NorthPark Center, America's first indoor shopping mall — it's very upscale and has a famous art collection.
The Menil Collection, Houston
- Houston: It's a huge and rapidly growing city with lots to see and every kind of store. Don't miss... the Museum District — make sure to check out the Renzo Piano-designed Menil Collection and its well-stocked bookstore.
- Kansas City: A strong DIY culture, lots of talented artists and printmakers, and GREAT bar-b-cue! Don't miss... Hammerpress, a gorgeous letterpress and design studio where you can see the presses in action.
- Las Vegas: It's totally excessive and over-the-top in a good way. The kind of place where you can lose a lot of money, whether you're gambling or just shopping :) Don't miss... the Forum Shops at Ceasar's Palace. Yes, it's a mall, but it's got some nice upscale boutiques and lots of gaudy but grand decor.
- Los Angeles: The country's second-largest city, LA has everything: modern design stores, garden shops, and lots of mid-century vintage. Don't miss... the Silver Lake neighborhood, home to design-y coffee shops and unique boutiques.
- Miami: Sunny and loads of fun, Miami has gradually become a national center for high-end design. Don't miss... Art Basel Miami Beach, the annual winter exhibition that describes itself as "the most important art show in the United States, a cultural and social highlight for the Americas." (What better time to visit Miami than December?)
- Minneapolis: This northern city is strong on modern design, and you'll find several stores that specialize in Scandinavian style. Don't miss... the Room and Board Outlet, where you can find furniture up to 75 percent off.
The Garden District, New Orleans
- New Orleans: Although it's been hard hit in recent years, New Orleans remains a city with a deep-rooted tradition of great art and design (not to mention music). Don't miss... the Garden District, where you'll find incredible historic mansions and antique shops.
- New York: THE American metropolis, it's the national center of design and art. From huge flagship stores to independently owned boutiques, it's the ultimate shopping destination. Don't miss... the huge collection of design stores in Soho, one-of-a-kind shops in Williamsburg, Brooklyn... really, there's so much to see that you can't help but miss something.
- Philadelphia: A city of neighborhoods, it's full of historic charm and friendly people. Don't miss... Fante's Kitchenwares Shop, which bills itself as "one of America's oldest and most distinguished resources of cooks' wares." They have everything you could possibly need for your kitchen.
- Portland, Oregon: This city has a progressive green culture, and it's full of cool vintage furniture stores, sustainable garden shops, and lots of green building supply stores. Don't miss... Canoe. One of our favorite shops, it's the kind of place where everything is beautiful, functional, and well made.
- Providence: A small city in a small state, it's an incubator for emerging design talent thanks to the world-renowned Rhode Island School of Design. Don't miss... RISD Works. Housed in the ground level of the RISD Museum, they sell a number of student-designed products.
Store on Valencia Street, San Francisco
- San Francisco: A beautiful city to walk through, it's compact and full of charming vintage stores. Don't miss... the Mission, where you'll find cutting-edge contemporary stores alongside affordable vintage shops and tiny but well-curated boutiques.
- Santa Fe: It's got a very unique style, characterized by a blend of modern, folk, and Southwestern aesthetics. Don't miss... the Museum of International Folk Art, where they have a top-notch collection of Alexander Girard pieces (and a nice gift shop).
- Savannah: A breathtakingly beautiful old world city, Savannah is home to a well-known design college and a host of good galleries and shops. Don't miss... Shop SCAD, where you'll find original work by Savannah College of Art and Design students.
- Seattle: It's a strong city for modern design, and it's full of progressive green stores that are stylish as well as eco-friendly. Don't miss... Velocity Art and Design, one of our go-to sources for modern furniture and home accessories.
- St. Louis: A small Midwestern city that's got beautiful old homes and free attractions throughout Forest Park. Don't miss... the Central West End, a historic neighborhood full of antique shops and charming restaurants.
- Washington DC: Steeped in history and tradition, it's a fun city to sightsee and just walk around. Don't miss... The amazing antique stores and upscale boutiques in Georgetown. (On Sundays you can also check out the year-round Georgetown Flea Market.)
We know we've left a lot off this limited list, so please help us fill it out by adding your favorite vacation shopping destinations in the comments!
Photo: Soho, New York by Flickr member star5112 used under Creative Commons license, Downtown Charleston, SC by Flickr member anneh362 used under Creative Commons license, Menil Collection, Houston by Flickr member jetheriot used under Creative Commons license, New Orleans Garden District by Flickr member David Paul Ohmer used under Creative Commons license, Sarah Coffey