With its swath of designer storefronts, Midtown's 57th Street easily ranks among New York City's most luxe shopping destinations. Visitors in search of high-end ateliers from world-famous fashion houses need look no further: Chanel, Saint Laurent, Dior and others line the thoroughfare. Below, we explore the strip from Park Avenue west to Sixth Avenue—here at nycgo.com it's all in a day's work—to give you an idea of what to expect. Note: bring your most comfortable heels and a credit card. Trust us when we say that both will come in handy.
How to get there: Take the N, Q or R trains to the Fifth Ave./59th St. stop (exiting just outside The Plaza hotel and Central Park), and walk two blocks south. To approach from the east—the direction the itinerary below heads—get off at the 59th St./Lexington Ave. stop on the 4, 5, 6, N, Q or R lines.
Park Avenue to Madison Avenue
From the corner of Park Avenue and 57th, walk west toward Madison to find British shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser and famed undergarments purveyor Victoria's Secret. Made-to-order shirts, smoking jackets, tailored trousers and leather accessories are the focus at the former; at the latter, discover two floors of sleepwear, lingerie and beauty products with an emphasis on the brand's main line (not its Pink line). On the other side of 57th Street is Prada's Midtown flagship, featuring apparel and accessories designed with Miuccia Prada's eye for clean, sophisticated aesthetics.
Madison Avenue to Fifth Avenue
Those looking to decorate their wrists with high-end timepieces can do so at Tourneau store. Invest in new and pre-owned watches from brands like Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Patek Philippe, or, if you're feeling a little less flush, just gaze up at the giant clock face (and smaller ones that tell time around the world) that sits above the entrance. If you love sneakers and anything that bears a swoosh logo, visit nearby Niketown. The mega-brand's five-story flagship treats sneakers like wearable art. (Even their stocking procedure is special: pneumatic tubes transport the footwear from the lower warehouse level to the main floors.) Aside from shoes, the store also stocks plenty of clothing and apparel.
Across the street, a cluster of stores augments the strip's luxury appeal. Keep walking toward Madison for the flagship of haute Parisian brand Dior, Burberry's six-story emporium and the NYC home of Swiss watchmaker Breitling.
Prada's younger, more affordable offshoot, Miu Miu, sells mod-leaning handbags and colorful apparel collections. Visits to Miu Miu's neighbors Saint Laurent and Chanel tend to be more monochromatic experiences—expect a lot of black. Shop Chanel for Karl Lagerfeld's renowned designs along with the brand's timeless 2.55 and Boy handbags; head to Saint Laurent for Hedi Slimane's rock-star aesthetic (cropped jackets, cigarette pants, models with severe bangs).
Where 57th Street meets the east side of Fifth, opulence makes a statement. Louis Vuitton's flagship is at the southeast corner, and it's impossible to miss: the building itself is a soaring attraction, a frosted-glass jewel box with rotating window installations. Inside, find special collections and LV's classics—checkered luggage, insignia-covered totes, eyewear, jewelry and shoes for men and women. Look across the block to see Tiffany & Co., the gem-filled store that made Audrey Hepburn Hollywood royalty.
Fifth Avenue to Sixth Avenue
More jewelers congregrate on the other side of Fifth Avenue. That's where Van Cleef & Arpels sells its signature Alhambra-motif pieces and nearby Bulgari carries glamorous Italian trinkets, including diamond, gold and emerald pieces.
Meanwhile, the always elegant Bergdorf Goodman has been an NYC institution for more than 100 years. The building to the west of Fifth Avenue is all women's fashion, while the building to the east is all menswear. Inside both you'll find the department store's house line, along with apparel and accessories from labels like Moncler, Celine and Tom Ford. Continue west on 57th Street for more finds: Zegna, which sells suits and tuxes; Reem Acra, the place for ultra-haute bridal wear; and Bliss 57, offering a much-needed spa experience to wind down from all this retail therapy.