9 Brick-and-Mortar Stores Worth Traveling To
If you’ve picked up a newspaper lately, you know that Amazon is slowly but surely obviating the need to ever step foot inside a real store. And while we’re all for convenience, we’re not quite ready to let go of one of our favorite pastimes: in-store boutique shopping. Browse our list of the world’s best brick-and-mortar stores, from multi-brand concept Merci in Paris to a design emporium in Nairobi, and we’re sure you’ll understand why.
Atelier Mouti, Paris
If you have a thing for beautiful wallpaper and stationery, put Atelier Mouti, a charming, old-fashioned stationery house in the north of Paris, on your list. A graphic designer by training, owner Mélissa Paszkiewicz creates one-of-a-kind paper goods with delicate patterns and designs. Consider it your one-stop shop for unique souvenir shopping.
The Store X Soho House, Berlin
This multifaceted space covers a vast 30,000 square feet and feels more like an impeccably designed private home than a boutique shop. (We weren’t surprised to learn that owner Alex Eagle’s resume includes stints of publicity for Joseph and styling for Harper’s Bazaar.) Set on the ground floor of Berlin’s Soho House, The Store functions as a retail and concept workspace where guests and non-guests can grab coffee; reply to emails; browse clothes by the likes of Proenza, Yamamoto, and Alexander Wang; and even get their hair and nails done. Don’t miss the library stocked by the London bookseller Idea Books and the records by retailers Phonica and The Vinyl Factory.
Pilot and Powell, New Orleans
Tops with voluminous sleeves and on-trend ruffles. Show-stealing statement earrings. Silk Hawaiian shirts (the cool ones—not the ones your dad wears). Scrolling through Pilot and Powell's Instagram will give you a taste of the treasures that can be found at this New Orleans boutique—a bright, spacious space stocked with everything from Rosetta Getty knits to Marni jewelry and 3.1 Phillip Lim trousers. With big names like that, it’s only a matter of time before the boutique earns The Big Easy a reputation for high-fashion.
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House of Treasure Emporium, Nairobi
You’d never know this was a design and fashion hot spot, based on its inconspicuous location on a little dirt road in the western part of Nairobi. But once you step inside, you’ll be amazed by its incredible selection of furniture, household accessories, books, art, fashion, jewelry, and everything else you can think of. Prepare to linger a few hours—it’s a big house with several levels.
Mohawk General Store, Los Angeles
At Mohawk’s Venice outpost, you’ll discover apparel, jewelry, and home décor from local designers like Sophie Buhai and Gabriele Artigas alongside international names like Lemaire, Comme des Garçons, and Jacquemus. But the designer finds are only one of the store’s many draws: there’s also a 2,500-square-foot cactus garden where a slew of cool programming and events are held—like exhibitions of work by the likes of Tokyo-based sculptor Ryosuke Yazaki and screenings of Dries Van Noten documentaries.
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It takes a lot to stand out in design-obsessed Amsterdam, but this interior design store-cum-café-cum-hotel has managed to do just that, in part thanks to its size and scope but also its expert taste. Spread out over three floors in a historic 17th-century building, the impressive space stocks design finds from the likes of Dirk van der Kooij and Frans van Nieuwenborg and fashion from labels Avelon, Ja Ja Genau, and Uli Rpap, among others. Plan your visit around a lecture or cool exhibit, or make night of it by bedding down in the one and only guest room of the Droog Hotel.
Our idea of a perfect day in Paris includes an hours-long stop at Merci, an eclectic concept store in the ultra-trendy Marais distract. In addition to expertly curated displays of used books (10,000 of them!), refurbished vintage furniture, jewelry, and fashion, there’s also two café’s and one restaurant (so you really won’t have an excuse to not stay for hours).
T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Venice
In a city as beautiful as Venice, it’s practically a crime to spend too much time indoors—but we’re willing to make an exception for the Fondaco Dei Tedeschi, a lavish high-end shopping center set inside a 16th-century trading hall at the foot of the Rialto Bridge. Stores fan out over three floors of “galleries,” replete with homegrown labels like Fendi, Max Mara, Armani, Valentino, and Gucci. Though, with interiors as grand as these—all classic terrazzo floors, bright red escalators, geometric light fixtures, and colonnades—the clothes are arguably second to the sights.
Dover Street Market, Tokyo
Tokyo’s Dover Street Market has been around since 2012 but the store is as eclectic and as cutting-edge as ever, offering a constantly changing selection of designers and quirky art installations. Founded by Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawabuko, it’s seven floors of 150+ brands including London Space, Celine, and Vuitton. Recharge in between trips to the changing room with coffee and pastries at Parisian Import Rose Bakery, on the seventh floor.
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