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Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

Ireland
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Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

Hope someone can help. I go every two years with a few women on a (major) shopping trip, planning and saving for the two years previous to the trip!

We usually go to Chicago, which we absolutely love. Not only is the shopping fantastic, but it's so compact, all laid out within walking distance (bar the outlet mall, which we hire a car to do in one day).

What is the shopping like in Philly? I've only travelled through Philly, never stayed in it, but we're thinking about it for our next trip. Apparently it has zero, or much lower sales tax than Chicago?

However, we like to split up, do our own thing, meet up as we want..which we can do in Chicago, as it's all so central and safe, and easy to get around.

Would Philly be a viable alternative, or should we stick to Chicago?

Thanks in advance!

NJ
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1. Re: Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

Hi! Google for sales tax info. I am in NJ, where it is 7%, but we *don't* tax clothing. Or food, but that means food from the grocer, not restaurant meals.

I think PA does not tax clothing either. NJ also has lower gas tax, hence prices, than almost any other state. And in NJ you do not pump your own gas--it is against the law.

As to the shopping, there are several "regular" malls & also an outlet mall near Philly--not in the city--which you might like. Also there is the city of Reading not far from Philly---30-35 min drive---with a bunch of outlets. Lots of them.

If you want the downtown feel, in the Center City area near City Hall there are typical dept stores. But Philly won't feel the same as Chicago; it's a different town. Safety can be an issue in Philly but that is true in any city.

Hope this is helpful! Have fun!

Cherry Hill, NJ
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2. Re: Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

It also depends on what you are shopping for. To be honest, if shopping is your PRIMARY goal, its NYC to go to, they have more high end stores per foot than anywhere else.

That said, Philly does have a very decent shopping area, as well as other things to do (most notably, but not limited to historical stuff.) The shopping area is compact, again sans about 9 outlet malls within 2 hrs of the city. I think we beat NYC on convenience.

NJ
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3. Re: Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

I think you beat NYC on the sales tax end, too. Don't they tax clothing? Both the state *and* the city?

Dearborn, Michigan
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4. Re: Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

I know and like both cities. In general, shopping in Center City (Philadelphia's name for its downtown area) is OK, but not as good or as varied as Chicago, but a lot depends upon what sort of shopping you and your friends are looking for. Women's clothing? Styles and price ranges? Boutiques, designer stores or other? Jewelry? Shoes? Other items?

The large downtown Macy's (formerly the famous John Wanamaker store) is worth a visit, as are other shops elsewhere downtown. Center City Philadelphia is compact and walkable, with all sorts of shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, historical attractions, etc. One tip: the Gallery mall, also downtown, has been on a long-term decline and probably can be skipped, IMHO.

Shopping at the large, suburban King of Prussia Mall (www.kingofprussiamall.com) is excellent. KOP has more than 400 stores/restaurants, including Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom's and Lord & Taylor. There are lots of other suburban malls, interesting boutiques in places like Chestnut Hill and Ardmore, plus factory outlet malls. Local TA members will fill you in on much more, including places to shop in Philadelphia suburbs in New Jersey and Delaware, but I think it would help them if you could be a bit more specific about your shopping needs.

Pennsylvania does not charge sales tax on clothing or shoes and, in my experience, the Philadelphia area tends to have better prices and selection than are available in suburban Detroit. With present exchange rates, you should find even greater bargains. New Jersey's sales tax situation was covered by a previous poster and Delaware has no sales tax on anything.

Philadelphia
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5. Re: Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

here's a link to information about shopping in philadelphia.

gophila.com/C/…244.html

The downtown area is fairly compact although some shopping neighborhoods like Manayunk are farther. A visit to the King of Prussia Mall is worthwhile. There are also outlet shops in Limerick, PA and in Atlantic City, NJ. Sales tax is 7% in Philly and 6% in the suburbs, although clothing is exempt. Not sure what time of year you are coming, but you might like a visit to "the shore" as we call the NJ beaches, and that is something that Chicago can't offer. Plus we have lots of great Irish pubs!

So, I would highly encourage you to visit here!

Ireland
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6. Re: Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

Thanks a mil everyone!!

Tylerarb - our shopping needs would be mainly womenswear, but followed quickly by kidswear and (finally!) menswear, but not top end designer. This is a BIG shop, where we stock up on a year's worth of stuff that we cannot get/afford at home. We'd get Tommy Hilfiger/Calvin Klein, Gap, then in Chicago a few cheapie favourites (esp with the exchange rate) are Filene's Basement and Nordstrom Rack. I loved it the original Marshall Field's, was in it as Macy's just before Christmas, so I'm reserving judgement on its new incarnation!).

How far is KOP mall from downtown Philly?

Oooh..and whoever gave me the tip on the Irish pubs...thanks!

Oh, last query, have been to NYC, and the feeling from us women is that we wouldn't like to go shopping completely on our own there, as its more disjointed, and doesn't feel safe, wheras in Chicago we've always felt totally safe (and totally at home..like a larger version of Ireland!), so we do go off on our own there. Which would Philly be like?

Bucks County...
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7. Re: Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

King of Prussia Mall is a 30-40 minute bus ride from downtown- easy and inexpensive. It is the 2nd largest mall in the U.S. (Mall of America is the largest).

No sales tax on almost all clothing, but there are some strange rules. For example, gloves are taxed, but not hats. Sales tax in Philadelphia is 7%, in the suburbs, 6%

Cherry Hill, NJ
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8. Re: Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

Philly is closer to Chicago then NYC. You do have the advantage of familiarity in Chicago, but its nice to do new things...

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

If you want to shop in a major city's downtown, stick to Chicago or, if you're adventurous, try New York City or San Francisco. Because of the growth of the King of Prussia suburban mall near Philadelphia, the downtown Philadelphia (Center City) retail sector is small.

But if you want to do nothing but shop on your trip, consider going to a factory outlet mall (see www.premiumoutlets.com). There's a huge one in Central Valley, New York, and you can get there via bus from New York City.

Or you could go to a large suburban shopping mall like King of Prussia in Pennsylvania or Mall of America in Minnesota.

Unfortunately, both the factory outlet malls and the suburban malls are generally not well served by trains or other public transportation. Are you comfortable driving on the wrong side of the road?

Ireland
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10. Re: Philadelphia Vs Chicago for shopping???

Thanks again... premiumoutlets are where we do a full one-day shop near Chicago (LOVE IT!!!). We normally hire a car for that, so driving on the other side isn't a bother (have to do it when we go to anywhere else in Europe bar the UK!).

KoP mall sounds great..just what we need.

Thanks again all of you!