Faneuil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts: This is the coolest urban marketplace your family will visit in the United States, with impromptu street performances, historic buildings all around you, and a million little boutiques and food stores (125 shops and 21 restaurants according to the official count, plus food stalls). Also referred to as Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is actually made up of four historic buildings which have their own stop on the famed Freedom Trail. The structures are connected by a public courtyard which is always bustling with vendors and performers, from jugglers and musicians, to clowns on tricycles.
The Forum Shops, Caesar's Palace Las Vegas, Nevada: The Forum Shops — all 160 of them — were designed to recreate the streets of an ancient Roman marketplace, but that's not why families like it. Instead, they go for the talking and moving statues of Venus, Apollo, Bacchus, Neptune, and other classical deities "acting" in sound and light shows. There's also a very cool show on the history of Atlantis, which is tied in to a nearby simulator ride. It makes the Forum a great place to stroll when you're on the Strip. Most of the designer shops are very sophisticated, but kids will thank you for taking them to famed toy store FAO Schwarz while you're on the premises. Be sure to look up at the Forum "sky" when you go.
Hamleys, London, England : You know you're getting close when you see smiling kids with their parents carrying white Hamleys bags with red and black toy soldiers. Your preschooler will be so excited walking into this store, which has more than 40,000 (yes, you read that right) toys in it, that he'll do a jig of joy. In addition to floo- to-ceiling toys of all kinds — from old-fashioned rollerskates to rainbow paintbrushes and personalized alarm clock wake-up music — there are magic demonstrations, painting demonstrations, and even manicures. With seven stories, Narnia-decorated staircases, and toys to play with, Hamleys is not so much a store as an experience.
Hilo Hattie, Kauai, Hawaii: Selling dresses, shirts, pants, and baby clothes made with such bright colors and designs that you can see them from outer space, Hilo Hattie is a big, fun, shop-til-you-drop store full of Hawaiiana. Get a free shell lei just for walking in, enjoy the air conditioning, and check out the Hawaiian jewelry, clothing, calendars, dolls, shells and sand in bottles, and specialty food made on Kauai. A treasure chest and prick-a-prize wheel at the jewelry counter make shopping here an especially fun experience for kids.