The Best Cities in the U.S. for Local Shopping, According to Yelp



Want to know where to find the best local shopping in the country? Yelp has you covered. The crowd-sourced reviews site has compiled its third annual list of the top 20 cities for local gift-buying, just in time for the holidays.

In order to compile their rankings, Yelp looked at reviews by local users for locally-owned businesses across the country that contained the word “gift.” The cities with the highest concentrations of highly-rated retailers earned the top spots in the rankings.

San Diego, CA, was named the number-one city for local shopping. Next in line were Austin, TX; Denver, CO; Reno, NV; and Seattle, WA.

“Yelp is really committed to supporting local businesses so we thought it would be really interesting to see the top cities for shopping locally,” Hannah Cheesman, a spokesperson for Yelp in San Francisco, said. “The whole idea is to look at all of the businesses that people shop at during the holidays, so we excluded some places like vape shops, mattress shops, a garage door store, guns and ammo, adult stores.”

But new on the list of included shops this year were surf and skateboard outfitters, which may have helped boost San Diego’s ratings. Last year, the city did not even crack the top 20 — though other factors may be at play, too.

“More and more, San Diego is becoming a city of walkable communities, so we can live in places like South Park and walk wherever we want without getting in our cars,” said Barbara Blake of the Greater San Diego Business Association.

Other large cities known as shopping destinations for non-locals also made the top 20. Houston, number 12 on Yelp’s list, is home to the Galleria shopping center, which sees more than 35 million visitors every year from around the world. Yet smaller cities such as Louisville, KY, and Rochester, NY, also earned notable spots.

According to Yelp and Harris Polls, 64% of American adults plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping locally this year, with an average budget of $324, a 26% increase over last year.

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