Sure, there are pre-holiday and post-holiday sales, but some destinations are hot shopping spots year-round. Consider visiting one of the five states that don't charge sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. If you're in need of some retail therapy but are feeling crunched by credit, shop around these cities for a bargain: Portland, Oregon; Anchorage, Alaska; St. Thomas, USVI, and, of course, New York and L.A.
1. Portland, Oregon
No state sales tax makes a shopping spree to the Rose City extra enticing. Add to that a slew of appealing promotions at some of the city's most chic hotels, restaurants, and shops -- courtesy of the Travel Portland Big Deal promotion -- and the Rose City is impossible to resist. For more on shopping Portland, scour the Discover. Portland. Shopping blog for steals and deals.
Visit Powell's City of Books (1005 W. Burnside; 800-878-7323), an entire city block of literary goodness. Stock up on decadent organic chocolates from around the world at Cacao (414 S.W. 13th Avenue; 503-241-0656). Hit Columbia Sportswear (911 S.W. Broadway; 503-226-6800) in its hometown flagship location and stock up on gear for kayaking, climbing, and exploring the nearby outdoors. For hipster crafts and a taste of Portland's funky side, visit Crafty Wonderland, Portland's monthly art and craft extravaganza, every second Sunday of the month at The Doug Fir (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; 830 E. Burnside Street; 503-231-9663).
2. New York
New York is a shopper's paradise, especially for gay travelers. Whether you're interested in spending a lot or saving even more, you've got a myriad of options. From high-end boutiques to vibrant street markets and funky stores, the city is world-renowned for its diverse and trend-setting shopping opportunities -- and rightly so.
Sale rail Uniqlo (546 Broadway; 917-237-8800) is the Japanese bargain trendsetter whose slick SoHo outlet is the growing chain's global flagship. For authentic kitsch, Love Saves the Day (119 Second Avenue; 212-228-3802) saves the day with more Pez dispensers, Jesus action figures, and mid-century shtick than you can shake a stick at. For your favorite flight attendant or travel buddy -- or even for yourself -- check out Greenwich Village's Flight 001 (96 Greenwich Ave; 212-691-1001), part of a chic travel minichain selling items of a "global" nature, such as rain hats, Italian toothbrush kits, and hard-to-find guidebooks.