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United States of America Shopping and nightlife

Shopping in United States of America

Shopping is an important part of many travellers' visits to the US. Variety, late-closing hours, competitive prices and an abundance of retail goods typify US shopping. Many small stores, speciality food shops and hypermarkets are open 24 hours a day in larger towns and cities.

Clothes and electronic goods can often be bought direct from factory outlet stores. Retail outlets range from flea markets and bargain stores to large chain department stores. Malls are a popular way of shopping in the USA and consist of a cluster of different shops in one building, often multi-level, connected by indoor plazas and eateries. The largest mall in the country, Mall of America, has more than 400 shops; it is located in Minnesota.

New York City is one of the shopping hubs of the US. The flagship stores of many familiar brands, such as Coach, Tiffany & Co., Prada, and the like, are located in the United States, many of them on New York City's Fifth Avenue, and are popular tourist stops. Other popular stores for locals and tourists alike that are located in New York City include B&H, a camera superstore; Century 21, a bargain clothing retailer; and Strand Books, “home to 18 miles of books.” The city also supports independent artists and allows licensed vendors to sell their wares in some of the city's parks; Union Square is one such park.

Though America is dominated by so-called “big box” chain retail stores like Walmart, many Americans are increasingly supporting smaller local businesses, and boutique shops are flourishing in big and small cities alike. Such shops can be great places to pick up souvenirs that are representative of the place being visited.

Note that a sales tax is levied on most items in most states, and the addition is not included on the price label; sales tax can be anywhere from 2 to 12%, variable by state. If the tax amount is not clearly marked, be sure to ask a sales clerk for information.

Shopping Note

Most stores and shops accept credit and bank-affiliated debit cards. An official form of identification, such as a passport, may be required to confirm you are the authorised holder of the credit or debit card.

Shopping hours

Mon-Sat 0900-2000. There may be late-night shopping one or two evenings a week. Some states permit Sunday trading; hours vary.

Nightlife in United States of America

Given the size and variety of the country, nightlife options vary considerably from one place to another. Nightlife is typically limited in smaller towns, both in terms of activities available and how late they are offered. Clubs generally stay open until the early hours in cities, where one can find music and theatre of all descriptions. Theatre tickets for Broadway, New York's equivalent of London's West End 'Theatreland', can be booked through the Group Sales Box Office (tel: +1 212 541 8457 or +1 800 223 7565 in the USA and Canada only; www.bestofbroadway.com). Gambling is only allowed in licensed casinos and the legal minimum age for gamblers is 21.

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