The best cross-border shopping destinations

Take advantage of mid-season sales at some of these awesome cross-border shopping destinations
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The Loop, July 4, 2013 11:21:54 AM

Written by Melissa Morra

As our neighbours to the south celebrate the July 4th holiday, us Canadians have reason to get a little happy too. The days leading up to the American long weekend mean tons of mid-season sales and July 4th specials across the U.S. Now is the right time to plan a little shopping getaway, so we’ve put together a list of some of the best cross-border shopping destinations you can visit to snag some sweet deals.

Buffalo, New York

Torontonians know how easy it is to whip over to Buffalo for a day of shopping at the Walden Galleria and the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, USA. But they may not know about Elmwood Village, a funky little neighbourhood filled with chic clothing shops. Buffalo isn’t exactly at the top of the exotic destinations list, so if you decided to stay overnight the hotels are very reasonable at an average rate of $116 per night.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle’s downtown shopping district is an easy to navigate square of several blocks with a variety of stores ranging from Gap to Betsy Johnson. If the rain starts to come down (as it often does) take cover in Westlake Centre Plaza or Pacific Place. If hip little neighbourhoods are your thing, Fremont Shopping District attracts everyone from ‘moms with strollers’ to fashionistas looking for big-name designers without the attitude. For a big city, Seattle’s average hotel rate is quite low at $116.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is home to the Magnificent Mile – a mile long stretch along North Michigan Avenue of brand name stores, big and small. Start at one end and work your way down passing Coach, Saks Fifth Avenue, J. Crew, Gap and more. If you’re looking for outlets, you’ll find Filene’s Basement and Loehmann’s on State Street along with Urban Outfitters, Macy’s and Forever 21 to name a few. Major fashionistas should head over to Bucktown for some great boutique shops.

New York, New York

New York City is a shopping Mecca for fashionistas around the globe. The hotels aren’t as cheap as some of the other destinations on this list, but you might be willing to pay a little more for the endless shops, neighbourhoods, restaurants and attractions that New York has to offer. Anything you want, you can pretty much find in NYC…24 hours a day. Okay, so the malls and boutiques close, but the energy of ‘the city that never sleeps’ will keep you up long past store hours so you can experience everything else après shopping.

Detroit, Michigan

Take exit 69 to Big Beaver Road (no, that’s not a joke) off the I-75 for some of the best shopping you’ll find within 30 minutes of any Canadian border. Somerset Collection consists of two buildings connected by a skywalk. On one side you’ll find all the usual mall suspects including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Victoria’s Secret and Gap, and on the other side you’ll find higher end department stores (Saks and Neiman Marcus) and designers such as Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany. Also along Big Beaver Road are discount department stores, Nordstrom Rack and Loehmann’s, where you can find designer fashions for much less. If outlets are your thing, continue along the I-75 to Great Lakes Crossing Outlets for discount versions of your favourite stores (Coach, Banana Republic, Neiman Marcus, BCBG etc.)

*Word to the wise: be sure to claim all of your purchases at Customs. It’s much better to pay a little duty and tax than risk being fined and having your car seized. After spending 48 hours in the States, you’re allowed to bring back $800 worth of goods tax and duty free. After 24 hours, the allowance is only $200. As a general rule of thumb, on clothing purchases you only have to pay the taxes that you would have paid if you bought the goods in Canada. Larger items and electronics may be subject to additional duty.

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