In Melbourne, Australia, shopping is entirely unavoidable. Most corners of the city’s central business district—and every inner suburb surrounding it—feature international chain stores (Collins Street), trendy shops (Chapel Street in South Yarra), discount outlets (Bridge Road in Richmond) and more.
But the northern suburb of Fitzroy is particularly interesting. Known as a hipster enclave, its main thoroughfares (Smith and Brunswick streets, which are intersected by Gertrude Street) deliver retail destinations in a delightfully picturesque setting. Most of the area’s stores are housed in historic, Victorian-era buildings, some of which are the finest examples of the style found in Melbourne. Eras-old structures with details like dramatic terraces and ornate wrought-iron latticework lend another layer of pleasure to shopping there, extending the visual splendor beyond the boutiques.
Charming areas like Fitzroy—beautiful, historic, architecturally rich, a bit unexpected-put shoppers in a position to stumble upon singular items while enjoying inspiring scenery along the way.
In Amsterdam, shopping in the Nine Streets allows visitors to soak in the capital’s iconic canal ring and culture, and Singapore’s Haji Lane features brightly colored (and previously abandoned) shop houses that have been reimagined into the likes of vintage stores and jewelry studios. And high-design home—decor shops characterize Barrio Italia in Santiago, Chile, named for the wave of 19th-century Italian immigrants who first populated the area.
So take your time: Thanks to the settings, shopping in these neighborhoods is more than just a quick act of consumerism.