For the ultimate girls getaway with a mission, I say take your gal pals to a town full of entertainment and plenty of good shopping to give a little something unique for Christmas this year. Find the perfect gift for your sister, mom, friend, cousin, boyfriend, husband, and so forth. Getting away before the holidays (when sales are on, travel deals abound, winter temperatures are at bay) can be worth the trip.
1. New York City
- For him: The basic I Love New York t-shirt or luxury items such as shoes that turn into roller skates or a watch that doubles as a remote control (for the James Bond in your man).
- For her: A handbag from a discount shop or designer shirt from quaint boutiques. Heck, if you can swing it, drop the credit card at a 5th Avenue store.
2. Los Angeles
- For him: Universal Studios paraphernalia for the kid in him or hat that makes him feel like the fly boy he wants to be. If he likes fine arts, grab him something from a museum or gallery. Or get your picture taken by his favorite Hollywood star handprint and frame it.
- For her: Anything from a store on the fancy, famous Rodeo Drive such as designer jeans or sunglasses the size of her head would be good. You'll feel like a star shopping and she'll feel like a million bucks receiving.
3. San Francisco
- For him: Go glam with original art from Sausalito, or buy Ghirardelli chocolates. If your man is an earthy dude, find a trippy tie dye Grateful Dead t-shirt, a drum, or incense. Wine from Napa Valley (to grab on a leisurely day trip) is always a good gift as well.
- For her: Again, go glam with original art from Sausalito, or buy Ghirardelli chocolates. If your female friend is earthy, find Haight-Ashbury District candles, incense, a woven purse, patchouli oil, the works. There are also outlet stores downtown for more "typical" shops. Wine works wonders for women as well.
- For him: Find the rare book or gift he loves at flea markets in areas such as Notting Hill. Bring back some of the best tea from Fortnum & Mason (arguably the world's most expensive and best grocery store for specialty foods).
- For her: What's not for her in London? Flea markets with jewelry, books, household items, scarves, etc. And shopping boutiques and high fashion stores. Then there's always Fortnum & Mason for cookies, pates, teas (expensive but worth it!).
- For him: Cubs, White Sox or Bears paraphernalia (jersey, balls, bat, mug, etc.) if he's a sporto; if he prefers fine arts, the Chicago Art Museum is world-renowned and the gift shop has a bevy of nice gifts (I can attest).
- For her: Home to the Magnificent Mile, Chicago, does indeed have magnificent shopping such as numerous department stores (Lord and Taylor, for instance) and shops for everything from leather gloves to perfume to cashmere wraps.
6. Washington, DC
- For him: Smithsonian books or paraphernalia from the museums, books for the history buff, or a framed photo from your trip to the U.S. capital. Sunset from the Lincoln Memorial looking toward the U.S. Capitol includes the reflecting pool and Washington Monument - a classic shot with your signature all over it.
- For her: Antiques and collectibles at the weekend Eastern Market on Capitol Hill, non-fiction books for the history buffs, arts and crafts at either the flea market or any of the numerous art galleries or museums.
7. Whistler, BC
- For him: Any ski gear possible (guys dig this), including poly shirts for insulation. Find stores with sales if need be as there are plenty of shops at this big ski resort with Blackcomb village and Whistler village.
- For her: Ski-themed t-shirts, ski gear or just about anything goes. Whistler has a slew of different shops such as soap shops, coffee houses, and more.
8. Las Vegas
- For him: Win big and bring him back some dough.
- For her: Outlet malls galore are here to offer discounts on major clothing, shoe, home and gear labels. Two major outlets: Premium Outlets and Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas.
9. San Diego
- For him: Get him a couple 22-ounce bottles of micro-beer from local Coronado Brewing Company, and top the gift off with a logo'd pint and sweatshirt.
- For her: A cuddly stuffed animal from the San Diego Zoo or arts and crafts from boutiques around town. If a Tijuana day trip is on your agenda, there are plenty of arts and crafts to buy in Mexico from wool blankets to woven baskets to sculptures.
- For him: A classic belt buckle (if he's into that sort of thing) or leather belt for the hidden cowboy within.
- For her: A nice leather belt is a wonderful gift for women also, but Denver also boasts several boutiques in addition to major shopping stores. And there's always the Southwest art scene if you want to splurge and purchase some hand-crafted jewelry or art.