I thought I’d end the 2009 posts with a good guide (at least from my perspective) for those of you who maybe are coming to Las Vegas, or considering it sometime next year. Or even for a few of you who live here and don’t know where to go. I’ve made my way in and out of this city for the past four years and have exhausted all my shopping finds. There is nowhere new to shop here unless a new place opens up. And I think I could update this for the recession because lots of places have closed as well.
I will start with what I probably do the least. Which is shop on the Strip nearest all the hotels, and if you are staying on the strip, this is what you will probably do the most if you have no transportation. Starting with the south at Mandalay Bay. It only has a tiny shopping area. Which has changed so much during the past year or two, it might be worth skipping this place altogether. Fornarina used to be here, one of my former places of employment, but they closed. You can visit their only other US flagship store on Melrose in LA. The only other reason I’d visit these shops at Mandalay Bay are for the Urban Outfitters. There is a Lush, Metro Park, and several not worthy of mentioning stores here. To think of all that they used to have is kind of a shame.
You can jump up to Planet Hollywood, it used to be called the Aladdin. At PH you will find the Miracle Mile shops, which is basically a mall stuffed into a Casino/hotel. Here you will find almost all the stores you find at any mall in the US, plus a few good extras. Here there is an H&M that is just for the Divided. So dont go expecting to find the full H&M range. There is a Ben Sherman. Other stores dotted here and there.
Moving on up in the Caesars Palace are the Forum Shops which in the past few years have expanded. If you have the time definitely come here. The place is decorated nicely. There is a large aquarium, and fountains with silly shows from the statues. I think the shopping here is so broad – you have your typical mall stores, alongside some luxury brands, but also other fine retailers. A Miss Sixty opened up, a good place to get denim. An Apple store to check your email. Intermix is here, they have so many brands and some okay sales at times. There is a Custo Barcelona store here which is pretty cool, I like browsing their prints. I like the newer addition, which is sectioned off in three levels. At the top you have Anthropologie and American Apparel. Second floor is Ted Baker, Nanette Lepore. And the ground level I like looking at the Marc Jacobs store which always has some hidden gems.
More up the strip is the Fashion Show Mall, which out of all, is the one I frequent the most because of its selection of stores that are not available to me anywhere else. I’ll start off by saying that the Payless here always carries those collaboration shoes that don’t seem to be at the other regular Payless. LeSport Sac for all your nylon bag needs. A rather small Forever 21, but it’s jam packed with girls and clothes. Mango because there aren’t many of these in the US. A Betsey Johnson to go in and only dream cause I can’t afford anything there. A huge Zara that sits on two floors for women and men. Outside there is a Paul Frank Store that is totally worth visiting. At Fashion Show Mall there are also Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, as well as other department stores. This place will take you a few hours to get through. But there are many places on the inside and outside to eat.
The Palazzo opened up about two years ago, actually I cant remember. The place is full of fine luxury retail shops. The only Chloe store in LV I think. But there is a Barney’s which is always beautiful and inspiring to go ooh and ahh over the clothes and shoes.
There are many luxury retail shops dotted along other stores, like at the Bellagio or Wynn if you want to get your Chanel, Prada fix. But not much other type of shopping. Which is why I reccomend the Forum shops because they have stores like this there, along with regular stores, in case you are interested in going in but not feeling like a weirdo tourist.
I’m sure I’ve omitted many stores some of you might be interested in, but all of these places have websites where you can do a quick scan of what else they have. Just in case you really need to know where there is a Gap or something like that.
On my days off (when I did shop, now I’m saving up), there were several off the strip places to choose from. I think prices on the strip are inflated, but I also think that you can find some really good sales at times because they are trying to attract customers. If you go a little south of the strip, which is still technically the strip, you will end up at Town Square, our open air mall/shopping area with dining and shopping. This is where our full real H&M is located. There really isn’t much here that you maybe haven’t seen before, but it’s a nice place to maybe catch a movie and walk around. One of our few places where people actually gather. There is a Whole Foods market, Borders (or is it Barnes & Noble?), Guitar Center, and several furniture stores too. Along with many restaurants, even some bars that open at night. This place would fit right in at old town Pasadena.
A huge thing in Las Vegas are outlets. There are outlets throughout the 15 freeway getting here from Los Angeles. One in Barstow, and one at the state line. One in southern Vegas, and one in the center. The southern one I’ve never been inside the actual part because none of the stores interest me, and they are all in the center outlets much closer to me. But these outlets have an Off Saks Fifth Avenue outlet, sometimes it has some really good deals, this is where you find all their stuff that doesn’t sell. And next to that is the Designer Fashion Clearance. I go to this once in a while because they carry so many fashionable brands that I never get to see anywhere but online. Vivienne Westwood and a whole bunch of other UK designers actually. Zac Posen, Givenchy, Gaultier, Valli, Proeza Schouler, Margiela, I can’t even name them all. The prices are discounted but not really cheap. But they have several sales off and on, that can get to 75% off the sale prices. I’ve saved up my money to get a few really nice things from here. I think this place is a definite must go if you want to save money. They have shoes, gowns, ready to wear, mens, kids, bathing suits, lingerie, some outerwear, some housewares and jewelry. Take a cab here.
In the Downtown there are the Las Vegas Premium Outlets. I just went there this past weekend looking for some Christmas presents. I’ll just give a rundown of what I go to, check their website for more of the stores. There is a French Connection outlet which is usually at 50-70% off the sale price. They typically have some nice things. Levi’s outlet for some cheap pants. Interestingly an outlet cosmetics store that has bits that didn’t sell or leftovers from seasons changing. They also sell sample gift sets that department stores usually give out when you buy X amount at the counter. These are really nice cause they’re cheap and small! Diesel outlet that sometimes has ridiculously good sales. American Apparel outlet with some regular prices, some discounted prices. Beware because this store is the only one that takes outlet true to the heart. Some of the outlet items have damages, which is why they end up here. Check for holes and such before you purchase. Fossil outlet only because they sell Marc Jacobs timepieces for really cheap. The busiest is the Coach outlet, I don’t shop here, but I’m sure some people are interested in this. Converse outlet for cheap shoes. Caution, this place is open air, it gets cold like it is now, and there always lots of people. For some reason this place makes me worry about pickpockets.
So far Las Vegas has three malls around town. All of which have nothing particularly special. Meadows mall, Boulevard mall, and Galleria mall if you are so interested.
Near the UNLV campus is Buffalo Exchange, one of my favorite spots because I think many people here shop stupid, and have to end up selling things back to BE. I find lots of good brand name clothes, shoes, and purses here all the time. It takes a lot of will to not spend my whole paycheck here sometimes. They have a great selection of vintage. Tons of shoes. I usually give myself a two week period where I don’t go just to give them time to turn over merchandise, but really, they get new stuff all the time. They have stuff on sale. Really, this place can’t be beat. Across the street you can check out Fruition, which I am assuming still carries Jeremy Scott’s pieces along with their select vintage.
There aren’t as many vintage stores in Las Vegas now. The recession hasn’t been kind to this because of the fact that most of these places are privately owned. Even some antique stores have closed. In the Arts District downtown you find the Attic, whose claim to fame was being in a credit card commercial years ago. The place is okay, but they have so much stuff, the cool part is that they also rent out antique furniture, so the place is a bit of a museum. Then you can go a little south to the Gypsy Den, a work in progress with a lot of vintage but great prices. Vegas really takes their vintage/retro culture seriously. Lot’s of homes and people downtown that live up to this. You can also visit the Refinery, which is way south in Green Valley/Henderson. They carry vintage designer clothes along with just designer clothes. It is a consignment store, but most of it was vintage St. John the last time I went. They had a few nice brand name things here though, most of them were shoes. Another testament to all the people who don’t know how to shop here, mostly stay at home moms with too much time on their hands. They had a lot of Louboutin shoes the last time I went, in my size, I’m thinking about saving up for some.
Last but not least, the thrifting in Las Vegas. You have to think of Las Vegas as a bubble. There are no real cities surrounding us. What is here, is what has been here. New stuff comes from outside the bubble. Thrifting can be a real hit or miss, you have to sometimes wait until people donate stuff for these places to have anything. Which is why for a time thrift shopping was so great, and many people had given up their vintage collections. Now it is mostly picked over. If you remember Ashley, former blogger of Soul Tanggg/Non Faux fame – she used to have great finds all the time thrifting. I think she even gave this up, as I mostly have. Mainly because of all the rif raf that I’ve seriously have had to put up with while thrifting. Like people with poo on their pants, or a head full of giant flakes of skin falling off their heads, children who ride toys down the aisles even though they tell you to not let you kids do that. I just don’t want to put up with this. So I go during off hours and during the week. Plus prices have dramatically risen. Thrift shopping isn’t what it used to be anymore. I know places like NYC and LA complain of being overpriced and picked over, I wonder if Vegas has finally reach that point too. Luckily I’ve reached my saturation of wanting clothes for right now (I’m going to try to make more clothes for 2010). But if you can get around, look for all the thrift stores HERE.
If you have any questions, comments, or corrections let me know! I just thought I’d share the knowledge about here. Sorry if I’ve given away your secret spot, no hard feelings. Who couldn’t use the help in business?
But mostly please share you shopping experiences with me! I’m really interested because people discover new things all the time. And if one thing is constant in Las Vegas, it’s change.
Edit: It has come to my attention that the new shopping area at our famed City Center has opened, called Crystals. But don’t expect to find anything affordable here. It is all luxury retail shopping – Tom Ford, Miu Miu, Marni, all sorts of other stuff. They forgot there was a recession! I’ll have to go visit soon before it gets too crazy for the new year.
Edit Jan 2011: I made this a while back and most of it still holds true. Another Casino/hotel has opened next to City Center – The Cosmopolitan. With lot’s of grand stores of its own, most notably, the All Saints store which has a huge facade of antique sewing machines. Definitely worth checking out. A slew of stores have opened at the City Center as well, like Stella McCartney.
The Fashion Show Mall has since closed their tiny Forever 21 and opened their two level worlds largest outlet (or perhaps US’s largest outlet). This store is huge! Like two Costco’s stacked on top of each other.
And recently Caesars Palace Forum Shops have stayed true to their word and opened the biggest H&m that spans three floors! It is a beautiful store worth checking out.
Edit: Jan 2012 I’ve gathered most of the places together here in a shopping map But keep in mind that because of the recession, some places have closed or changed (pretty sad). Most notably the Attic and Opportunity Village stores or downtown both closed because of an explosion, and the ongoing problems. You’ll want to check Yelp or even call ahead to see if the stores are still open. BUT, I guess in lieu of many things closing, a bright spot is that a Topshop has finally opened its first store outside of NYC in Las Vegas! You’ll find it at the Fashion Show Mall.