Saint Catherine Street, Montreal, Canada: You'll notice as soon as you arrive in Montreal that people are more fashionably dressed than in the U.S. (mothers wear high heels as they push baby carriages, little boys wear their shirts nicely tucked in), and it's only natural that your family (especially if you're traveling with teens) will want to fit in. Head to Saint Catherine Street, the bustling, pulsating retail heart of Montreal, where there are dozens of shopping complexes, including the Eaton Center and The Bay (Montreal's oldest department store).
Tour of Store Window Displays, New York City, New York: Looking without buying? You've come to the right place. Fanciful department store windows have become a hallmark of the holidays in New York City, eagerly awaited each year by tourists and locals alike. The stores plan all year for the unveilings each November, protecting the top-secret themes and design plans from the public and each other in a bid to create the most elaborate, enchanting, awe-inspiring store window displays. Take them in as you make your way around the city or plan a grand tour — either way, they're sure to amaze and delight the entire family. Be sure to bring your camera.
Wall Drug, Badlands, South Dakota: During the Depression, Wall Drug stayed afloat by putting signs on the highway offering free ice water to lure travelers into town. Today, the billboards are spread all over the world, and the original owners' grandchildren run a kitschy shopping/dining tourist trap that covers an enormous 76,000 square feet. Admission is free and they still offer 5-cent coffee and free ice water, but you'll spend more on souvenirs (everything from books to bobble heads to coonskin caps), ice cream, gold panning, and even cowboy boots.
Water Tower Place, Chicago, Illinois: Toss some history in with your shopping. Water Tower Place is located right across the street from the original Water Tower and Pumping Station — the only thing that survived the Great Chicago Fire — on the Magnificent Mile. Come in through the main entrance and take the escalators past the waterfalls or the elevators to the top of the eight-story atrium. Then give your family a break from each other: The kids will be drawn to American Girl Place and dad can wander off to the Chicago Cubs Clubhouse Shop. Then gather the family for a bite to eat at a one-of-a-kind food court where cash doesn't exist.Get More Great Vacation Ideas
Do you have a favorite place to shop at holiday time? Got any "Black Friday" strategies or traditions? Share your tips!