As the holiday season approaches, many shoppers are looking for ways to stretch the budget just a little bit farther this year. A great way to combine adventure, vacation and affordable shopping is to head across the border where the Canadian dollar goes farther and taxes are often lower. One of the better options for cross-border shopping is the state of Michigan that offers a very favorable 6% sales tax. Even though many cities add their own tax, even Detroit sales tax at 8.75% is considerably lower than Ontario’s 13% meaning shoppers can take a trip into the city and still come out ahead. Even better, take the time to research a few outlet malls or specialty shops and have a blast road tripping around the state while saving money on holiday surprises.
Just minutes from Windsor, Detroit is the first stop for Canadians with an eye for luxury. Somerset Collection features top designers including Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Burberry. Twelve Oaks Mall is one of the largest in the Midwest with more than 200 shops to wander through with Nordstrom, Macy’s and Lord & Taylor anchoring smaller stores. Lakeside Mall has the clothing stores that discerning deal-seekers are looking for. Aeropostale, Guess, Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch offer frequent specials that shoppers love. Great Lakes Crossing Outlets is the place to find the best prices on name brands. Look for great deals from Disney, Saks Fifth Avenue and Victoria Secret among others.
Head out to the suburbs to find some cute boutique shops with novel merchandise. Ferndale, Birmingham and Royal Oak are an easy drive from the city and each has a unique selection of fun stores. Make a day of it and enjoy the excellent restaurants the cities offer in addition to a variety of entertainment options.
Fairlane Town Center is the main shopping destination for Dearborn and is only 15 minutes from Detroit. In addition to the solid anchor stores of JCPenney and Sears, Fairlane has Macy’s, H&M and about 150 smaller stores. With theaters, a recently renovated food court and an ice skating rink, the mall has plenty of entertainment and shopping to fill an entire day.
Briarwood Mall is a bit farther from the border but with nearby University of Michigan the selection is geared toward a younger crowd. This is also the main shopping center for most of the county and is always full of energy. The youthful population influences the downtown shops as well and Ann Arbor is a great source for vintage clothing, comic books, music and eclectic gifts.
Take a holiday within your holiday by planning a few days at this quaint little town with Bavarian trappings. Filled with eclectic shops, Frankenmuth is fun to wander around just for fun, but the big draw is Bronner’s, where every day is Christmas. More than 50,000 gifts and trims can be found in the world’s largest Christmas store that is as large as one and a half football fields.
Across the bridge from Point Edward/Sarnia, downtown port Huron has delightful specialty stores and some very nice waterfront dining spots. Port Huron Factory Shops is a small outlet center with several clothing stores while the Birchwood Mall has more than 100 shops that range from golf to gym equipment and books to bath salts.
Sault Ste. Marie
One of the few towns in which you can change countries without leaving the city borders, the city is isolated but a great place to pop into when travelling from Thunder Bay to Toronto. There are plenty of unique boutique shops and galleries in the downtown area as well as JCPenney a few miles from downtown. Shoppers looking for fun gifts will find dozens of cute stores lining the main downtown streets with the highest concentration along Portage Avenue.
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