You’ve made it! And if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. At least that’s what the New York City, pop culture sound bites would have you believe. An iconic American city, more than 40 million people from around the globe visit here yearly. To prove you’re one of those millions, you’re going to want the perfect purchase or kitschy souvenir to prove it. You’ve always wanted one of those “I Heart NY” shirts haven’t you?
Where to Buy New York City Souvenirs
On just about every corner a New York City souvenir shop can be found, especially the closer you get to Times Square. These shops are ideal for mass-produced-yet-still-coveted items like t-shirts, onesies, tote bags, umbrellas, figurines and more.
Pop into one to get the signature souvenir items you want. On my list, a New York City tee, John Lennon-style shirt and landmark-laden postcards – all of which were easy to find. Shopkeepers at all of the souvenir shops are extra helpful. Some might say pushy, but its part of the NYC experience.
Aside from the basic souvenir shops, Times Square’s brightly lit shopping ops include Disney Store, M&M’s World, Toys ‘r Us (with carousel inside!) and Grand Slam (a baseball-merch mecca).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
At an attraction where art is celebrated, you’ll find The Met Store. Items range from art prints (my favorite) to jewelry, apparel and art books. It’s a top shopping stop as it celebrates New York City culture, and lets you take a piece home with you.
Outside The Met is another favorite place of mine for souvenir shopping – at least if you’re in to art. Street vendors line the sidewalk, some selling signature paintings and others reprints of city sights. If you’re like me, you’ll find two or three pieces to purchase. Just be sure to bring cash.
NBC Experience Store
Every avid pop culture enthusiast needs to hit up the NBC Experience Store. Located across from Rockefeller Center, Memorabilia from every NBC show past and present lines the store’s walls and racks. Pick up a new Central Perk mug or Parenthood “Team Braverman” baseball cap. It’s fun to watch people laugh at (and then purchase) items like a Saturday Night Live “Stefon” doll and “Saved by the Bell” Bayside High sweatshirt.
I was giddy at the site of a “He’s Her Lobster” shirt (a classic quote from Friends, if you didn’t know). And yes, I bought it. I recommend visiting the store after the NBC Studio Tour.
South Street Seaport
Walk the cobblestone streets of South Street Seaport, surrounded by some of the oldest architecture in Manhattan and try not to fall in love. Sweeping views of the East River and Brooklyn Bridge, as well as renovated sailing ships in port, add to the atmosphere. An outing at Seaport is a juxtaposition of classic and modern themes, as the historic district is lined with popular name brand stores, unique boutiques and charming cafes. I wasn’t able to make it to all the shops (if you do, my applause). That said, Limelight Shops with their specially curated selections and SuperDry, a Japanese/American vintage brand gave good retail therapy. Bowne & Co. Stationers and South Street Local Artists were two other standouts, both for their historic and locally infused flair.
All that shopping and sightseeing works up an appetite. Cuisines and flavors from across the globe are Seaport’s offerings, which made it hard for me to pick a place. Ultimately, the lively yet welcoming Ambrose Hall won. The rustic beer hall has local craft brews on tap (try the Coney Island Watermelon Wheat), and simple yet delicious baguette sliders and hot sandwiches.
There are an absolutely endless amount of places to shop in New York City. These are just a few of my favorite stops for souvenirs. Let me know about your can’t-miss souvenir stops in the comments.
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting New York City to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.