Cancel any New York City shopping plans you might have, because Coloradans have a better option – Denver.

The Mile High City beat out San Francisco, No. 25, The Big Apple, No. 22, and Los Angeles, No. 16,  in Forbes’ ranking of best U.S. cities for shopping.

Denver nabbed the 13th spot for its 7.72 percent tax rate,  11 major shopping centers, and 8,476 retail locations.

Colorado Springs was not mentioned because the ranking only included cities with populations between 600,000 and 8 million.

Nationwide, retail space totals more than 257 million square feet in 525 of the major shopping centers in the largest cities, according to Forbes’ report.

Texas has nearly one quarter of that, and, not surprisingly, three of its cities made the list, including Houston in the No. 1 spot, and Dallas, at No. 2.

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Forbes used three metrics to compile its list, searching for cities with the best combination of affordability, ease and options.

It also included the number of Wal-Marts, which helps explain why San Francisco, New York and Boston – long thought to be meccas for shopping – didn’t fare so well on the list. High taxes also kept these cities out of the top 10.

“San Francisco has one of the highest combined sales tax rates in the country at 9. percent and New York is not far behind at 8.8 percent, coupled with a consumer price index of 241.147, the highest of any city on the list. NYC’s low number of major shopping centers also holds it back, although seasoned shoppers will know that New York City abounds in free-standing retail stores (over 75,000). Like New York, Boston is also penalized for its high prices and low number of malls – showing that shopping in cities might not be all it’s cracked up to be,” writes Forbes’ Meghan Casserly.

A few surprises in the top 10 included Baltimore, No. 3, Columbus, No. 4, and Indianapolis, No. 5.

To view the full report, visit Forbes website.


  1. I lived in San Francisco for 15 years and have a house outside NY, where I’ve spent some quality shopping time. I now live 25 miles from Denver. Denver simply doesn’t compare – if you want to measure malls and Wal-Marts, then great – every city in America is great for shopping. But everyone knows that a mall is not where you go for interesting stuff. If you want to buy interesting food, clothes, books, art, you go to stores that are not in malls. The population of Colorado is ~5 million; the population of the Bay Area is over 10 million, and vastly more diverse – of course there are more of the places that have great, interesting things to buy.

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