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Midtown, New York City

Tiffany & Co.

Fifth Avenue at 57th Street
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 755 8000

FAO Schwarz

767 Fifth Avenue
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 644 9400

MoMA Store

11 W. 53rd Street
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 708 9700

Christian Louboutin

941 Madison Avenue
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 396 1884

Tom Ford

845 Madison Avenue
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 359 0300

Vera Wang

991 Madison Avenue
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 628 3400

Jean's Silversmiths

16 W. 45th Street
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 575 0723's insider take:

It's no coincidence that when people think of shopping in New York, they think of midtown—the buzzy commercial center of Manhattan harbors some of the country's best, and most expensive, retail space. Upper Madison Avenue is a virtual encyclopedia of the world's finest luxury brands, while tony Fifth Avenue has its own share of gilded names (many top brands have outposts on both). New York's great department stores, including Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Henri Bendel, can each warrant full-day excursions in themselves.

There's no such thing as downtime at Tiffany & Co.'s Fifth Avenue flagship. From the moment those hallowed doors open until they clang shut at night, the place is crawling with dazzled tourists, Upper East Side dowagers looking to add to their collections, and starry-eyed couples shopping for the big one. There's no surer way to qualify for parent of the year than by taking junior family members to FAO Schwarz. File past the toy soldier doormen into a cavernous space filled with everything from life-size stuffed animals to charmingly old-fashioned wooden toys. Art and design lovers find nirvana at the MoMA store, with for-sale versions of the high-design exhibits, Alvar Aalto glass vases, wacky Lomo cameras, and plenty of oddball items such as oversize novelty phones that really work and a modernist Flexus glass menorah.

Tom Ford's three-story flagship near Barneys is tricked out like a gentlemen's pied à terre with everything the modern dandy needs, from a tailoring service to a fragrance department. A few blocks north is Christian Louboutin, whose iconic red-soled heels are the cornerstone of many a New York woman's shoe collection. You don't have to be a bride-to-be to appreciate the wares at Vera Wang, a study in understated chic, from the vases of dark purple lilies to the racks of beautifully tailored resort and ready-to-wear at the top of the spiral staircase. (Viewing bridal wear is by appointment only.)

It might not be on the gilded retail strip, but Jean's Silversmiths is a gem worth hunting down—an insider source for vintage and estate jewelry as well as over 2,000 flatware patterns and sterling silver sets from American, English, Danish, and European designers.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.