Not many of you go to Vegas for retail therapy. Most of you go to gamble, see shows, or party. We often go just to shop. Even the Travel Channel touts Vegas shopping as some of the best on the planet. They call it, “Bargains to Bling.” And I tend to agree. At the lower end, several factory outlets, and on the upper end, crazy boutiques in the mega casinos if you are shopping for exotic sports cars, designer stuff, or jewelry.
Nationally, this is how Vegas ranks among the other cities:
1. New York City, NY
2. Chicago, IL
3. San Francisco, CA
4. Palm Beach, FL
5. Newport Beach, CA
6. Los Angeles, CA
7. Las Vegas, NV
8. Charleston, SC
9. Honolulu, HI
10. Boston, MA
I have not shopped at Crystals in the new City Center. Here is some of their stuff: Luxury retailers include Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Ermenegildo Zegna, Tiffany & Co., Prada, Christian Dior, Bulgari, Hermes, Roberto Cavalli, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Versace. Crystals is the only Las Vegas location where you will find boutiques for Tom Ford, Donna Karan, TAG Heuer, Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Miu Miu (are those cats?), Paul Smith, Kiki de Montparnasse, Mikimoto, and Porsche Design. About as close to this as I ever get, a TAG watch that I bought in Bangkok many years ago.
I much prefer the lower key, not to mention lower cost shopping that the factory outlets offer. And even then, it is mostly for family gifts, and some basics for us. My favorite of the outlets is up (down?) in Primm, since it is indoors, and have several stores that I like. It also has a small Japanese restaurant that makes a decent and reasonably priced lunch. My favorite store there is the Tommy Bahama outlet.
I also enjoy the Fashion Show Mall on the Strip, mostly for its Nordstrom store, as well as a few smaller places like Puma, Ecco, and Super Dry. The most ridiculous part of that place is when they actually have a real fashion show. Tell me, how do they teach those models to walk that way?
When all else fails, I go back to the basics. Fortunately, Vegas has Trader Joe’s, and Hawaii’s own ABC Stores. If you venture further away from the downtown or Strip areas, you can find regular shopping and regular stores. Vegas has several Costco stores as well as Whole Foods, Stein-Mart, and Wal-Mart.
Another way to look at the shopping versus gambling dilemma is this. Gamble a few hundred dollars, and you may win thousands, or lose it. Spend hundreds shopping, and you will go home with many nice gifts for others and purchases for yourself. Or spend it all on fine dining.
But the biggest and best secret is to head north out of Vegas on Interstate 15, exit 75. This is the Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza. You can buy booze and cigarettes there. But their biggest area, and largest inventory is for fireworks. Here, you can buy every type and size of firework, in bulk! Just don’t ask me how to get it back across the border into California. Even in the city of Las Vegas, you will need a permit to light them, unless you stay on the Reservation itself.