Whether you’re on trend and drawn to styles of the moment, or someone who likes a more modern and timeless style, or someone who loves to visit a discount bridal store while strolling through little boutiques and shops, shopping districts have something for the shopper in all of us. From the Reading Bridal District in Cincinnati to the 16th Street Mall in Denver to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, shopping districts are located all over the world, and there are a huge number in the United States. What makes these districts unique, and which are not-to-miss for engaged couples?
Read on for info on some of our favorite shopping and wedding districts, as well as tips for visiting. We love our bridal district because in addition to exploring many shops and vendors and trying on dresses of all kinds, you can celebrate with your girl gang, enjoy a bridal party get-together, and really get inspired by just being around other brides.
Shopping districts are areas in a city or town that are usually walkable, or at least pedestrian-oriented, and are made up of individual retail establishments. They may include boutiques, shops, restaurants, and shopping malls.
Before we go into more detail about some of our favorite shopping districts in the USA below, we want to point out that in some areas, such as the bridal district in Reading, Ohio, and Fifth Avenue in New York, for example, certain characteristics are shared across many of the area’s shops. In Reading, OH, these characteristics revolve around the wedding industry, and in Fifth Avenue, it’s high fashion.
If you’re a bride-to-be who is looking to balance having traditional wedding shopping experiences like finding your dream wedding gown, enjoying time with your best friends and closest family, and having access to all the jewelry, veils, vendors, and wedding-related products you can imagine, consider visiting the bridal district in Cincinnati. The Reading Bridal District is America’s largest bridal shopping district, is walkable, and boasts 44+ wedding industry shops, stores, and service providers.
It’s historic, charming, and has that rare loveliness of being a small town that’s not far from a metropolitan city. Easy to travel to, with nearby accommodations, and events like Fall in Love occurring (in addition to regular sales and events at budget bridal shops), these Reading shopping outlets are a bride-to-be’s dream come true.
Here at Blue Bridal, we know the scene for bridal shops in Cincinnati inside and out. So trust us when we say that this district is the center of the wedding universe as far as boutiques and retailers go. You’ll find planners, stylists, designers, consignment and overstock stores, accessory warehouses, and wedding dresses in Cincinnati OH, all in close proximity!
For those drawn West, we have a soft spot for the LA Fashion District. This shopping area is a haven for designers, trendsetters, and casual shoppers alike. The range of industries, from interior design to florists, inspires all who stroll the walkable streets. It is hard to believe, but there are 4000+ independently owned and operated businesses, including retail and wholesale shops. Check out shopping tips for this area here.
Because of its proximity to Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and Malibu, LA is also a great option for bachelorette parties. Take a surfing class, rent rollerblades, brunch to your heart’s content, and wrap it up with a glass of wine as the sun sets. Does it get any better?
Planning a trip to the Windy City? Chicago is a wonderful option for exploring a mix of history, architecture, a great culinary scene, lively nightlife, and doing some wedding shopping with your girls along the way. While all of our options for bridal districts deserve consideration as bachelorette parties, Chicago is one of our favorites. There truly is something for everybody, and because it’s a city of international renown, you have the added benefits of good public transportation and accessibility, lots of flight options to and from the airports, and a vibrant cultural scene.
The Magnificent Mile is Chicago’s primary shopping street. It is made up of 450+ retailers, including three vertical shopping centers, international designers, boutiques, large department stores, technology companies, jewelry, and so much more. It’s a walkable street and is located on North Michigan Avenue. You can see the events calendar for the Magnificent Mile here.
For the brides-to-be, there are bridal salons of all kinds, including high-end boutiques, off the rack bridal warehouses and outlets, and vintage/heirloom shops. Chicago is a great place to book a few wedding gown appointments and follow them up with happy hour on a patio before hitting a show in the evening with your bride tribe. Learn more about the wedding industry shopping options by searching wedding dress boutiques near me when you arrive, or by checking out this article.
Whether you’re visiting cities like LA and Chicago or bridal shops in Cincinnati to enjoy the shopping scene, we recommend wearing comfortable shoes. Shopping districts are generally best explored by traveling on foot, so keep yourself comfortable in shoes that have enough support and won’t hurt after standing and browsing.
We always recommend carrying snacks and water and planning for breaks when heading out on a shopping excursion. Bridal shopping can be especially tiring, so be sure to have realistic expectations and plan to take breaks throughout the day to rest and enjoy the moment with your friends and family.
Dressing in layers is always a good idea, no matter when or where you’re visiting. If it’s summer in OH, tuck in a rain jacket, and if it’s winter in Chicago, toss in your warm winter jacket. As far as undergarments, wear items that roughly match your skin tone and that keep you comfortable, as you might have a consultant in the dressing room to help you try on gowns.
Spring and summer are traditionally what we call “wedding season” in much of America. Together with our sister bridal shop, Blush Bridal, we usually recommend beginning wedding shopping for gowns around 12 months out from the event. That is usually enough time to enable your gown to be created (if you’re not purchasing one off the rack), and almost certainly offers enough time for your alterations to be made. That said, you can always shop earlier, and, if you’re flexible, make it work on a tighter timeline.
Shop when works best for you, but remember that many shopping districts are much busier on weekends. Try for a weekday visit if you want to beat the crowds. If you’re visiting gown boutiques, call to see if you need an appointment, as many shops do require these to be made in advance to provide the best experience.
Shoppers of all kinds visit LA’s Fashion District and Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, while brides-to-be and bridal parties love Reading Bridal District. Rather than searching “wedding dress boutiques near me” and stopping in without an appointment, we always recommend making an appointment to visit during the week. You’ll take advantage of lesser crowding at outlets and shorter wait times at restaurants. Now is the perfect time to make plans to explore the allure of shopping districts!