Fun shops to visit on holiday in the USA

For many travellers, shopping is one of the highlights of their holiday. From unique mom-and-pop stores to famous retail chains, most avid shoppers do their research before they visit a new destination to know what and where the best shops are. When travelling to any city in the USA, it is handy to know what things are popular in that area, and if that city is famous for certain types of fashion.

The USA is a big place, so not all cities are the same. There are, however, certain stores that have hit the mainstream and can be found in most places across the USA that cannot be found in other parts of the world.

If you are travelling to the USA, you will most likely need an ESTA. An ESTA is a travel authorisation that allows you to travel to the USA without the hassle of applying for an actual visa. Eliminating the need for a visit to an embassy or consulate. While you are researching which shops you would love to visit while on holiday, make sure to research if you qualify for an ESTA.



Many people consider target to be a one-stop shop. It is a very American concept, a large retail box store that eliminates the need to visit most other shops. From clothing, to tools, electronics and toys, Target is a shop that most people in the USA consider a necessity. Each location even has a grocery store and drug store within it.

The prices are actually also quite fair, especially if you take advantage of their house brand: Up and Up. You can purchase many items throughout the store that are of the same quality as their brand name equivalent, but at a portion of the price. These products range from simple household items like tissue paper, to medicines and hygienic products.

Usually, one tends to associate these big box stores with low-quality products that aren’t exactly luxurious. However, Target has mastered the art of fashion collaborations. Shoppers are frequently given the opportunity to find affordable pieces by otherwise highbrow fashion names. Designers like Missoni, Rodarte, and Anna Sui have all created lines for the retail chain that had a cult like following. Getting your hands on a piece from these collections has become a point of pride. The designer collections have become more frequent over the years, but no less anticipated and adored.

That is not to imply that their permanent designers are not also wonderful, brands that we may recognize like Who What Wear are regular staples at the retail chain. Another one of the other highlights of shopping at Target for clothing is size inclusivity. Most locations have basically integrated their sizing and there is no longer a “plus size” section. Many if not most of their fashion items range from XXS – to 4X in American sizing. It is totally commonplace at Target to find fashionable pieces in all sizes.


Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack

One of the most famous department stores throughout the USA is Nordstrom. Famous for its outstanding customer service, it is a department store that has always been synonymous with high standards. Famously having a very forgiving return policy, the customer service is a testament to the American tradition of making the customer happy. Most locations also have a fun, trendy bistro and outstanding coffee shop to make your time shopping feel like the ultimate treat.

On the higher end of the price scale, the store carries not only popular name brands, but designer brands that are more prestigious. From name brands like Adidas and Ralph Lauren, to more luxurious names like Rick Owens, Nordstrom has quite a selection.

Some of the items can actually be quite affordable, in case the big names are a bit intimidating. The infamous BP section of the store carries affordable accessories and young women’s fashion that won’t necessarily break the bank. Also, the Nordstrom semi-annual sales are also notoriously wonderful.

If you are lucky, you will visit a city that has both a Nordstrom, and its subsidiary off-price store: Nordstrom Rack. Although ‘The Rack’ (as it is lovingly referred to by loyal fans), is a much less prestigious sort of shop, it is still worth popping a visit if there is one in your travel destination. Many items that were on the shelves at Nordstrom a few months ago, will be found here at merely a pittance of its original price.

Designer sunglasses from brands like Kate Spade or Fendi can be purchased for anywhere from 15 to 150 USD. Bagging Jeffrey Campbell boots on clearance, or a Calvin Klein sheath dress for half the price is all attainable in one spot. This shop is worth the trip for the savvy travel shopper.

ESTA visa application

An ESTA for travel

There are many other shops that deserve an honourable mention, shops like Old Navy, Macy’s, and Forever 21 are just a few of the shops that you can visit on a holiday to the USA. As mentioned before, if you travel to the USA, you need an ESTA. The ESTA is easy to apply for online, and you can receive your ESTA rather quickly.

If you simply can’t wait to hit the shops, you can always apply for an urgent ESTA, in which your application will be submitted as quickly as possible and can sometimes be granted within the hour, although that is subject to the American authorities.

If you decide that you didn’t have enough time to visit all the shops on your list, luckily the ESTA is valid for 2 years, which makes it easy to make another trip later on to visit the shops you didn’t get to check off your list.