Tired of the Big Apple? Try these East Coast shopping hot spots

BOSTON

The Prudential Center and swanky new Copley Place offer plenty of options for high-end mall shopping downtown, while the Cambridge Side Galleria, just outside central Boston, is the cheap and cheerful home of the usual high street suspects. Boutique shoppers should head for Newbury Street, home of Boston's poshest stores with all the American designer favourites such as Kenneth Cole, Betsey Johnson, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue along with Louis Boston - a local answer to New York's Barney's set in an elegant 19th-century mansion house.

Trailfinders (020-7937 5400, www.travelfinders.com) is offering three-night packages to Boston, for £294 per person. This price is based on two sharing a room at the four-star Wyndham Boston Hotel and return flights from Heathrow with American Airlines. This deal is valid for departures up to 13 December and must include a Saturday night.

PHILADELPHIA

The Urban Outfitters chain was born out of a storefront in West Philadelphia and the keyword to shopping here is funky, with enough quirky independent stores to compete with the franchises. The local 7 per cent sales taxes do not apply to clothing, medicine and food.

Bridge Travel (0870 1917287, www.bridgetravel.co.uk) is offering three-night packages to Philadelphia for £345 per person. This price is based on two sharing a room at the three-star Hampton Inn Center City and includes breakfast and return flights from Gatwick or Manchester with US Airways. This deal is valid for departures up to 18 December and must include a Friday arrival.

MINNEAPOLIS

The self-titled "birthplace of modern shopping" Minneapolis was where the world's first enclosed shopping mall was said to have been born (the Southdale Center) and is home to the largest mall in the United States, the Mall of America. There is no sales tax on apparel and a large area of downtown is pedestrianised, given over to six blocks of pure shops.

Trailfinders (020-7937 5400, www.travelfinders.com) is offering three-night packages to Minneapolis for £393 per person. This price is based on two sharing a room at the three-star Holiday Inn, St Pauls, and return flights from Gatwick with Northwest Airlines. This deal must include a Saturday night and is valid for departures up to 19 December.

TORONTO

The Canadian dollar goes so much further than the American, and international tourists can claim back sales tax on certain goods (pick up a form at immigration). Toronto has a great choice of electrical, domestic and obscure food goodies at the superbly atmospheric Chinatown, plenty of boutiques in the fashionable Kensington Market and Queen Street areas, plus all-weather shopping to be found in the "Underground City" (several linked underground malls).

Quest Worldwide (0870 442 3513, www.questtravel.com) is offering three-night packages to Toronto for £336 per person. This price is based on two sharing a room at the Days Hotel Downtown and return flights from Heathrow with British Airways. The offer must be booked by 30 November for travel up to 18 December, and must include a minimum stay of three nights including a Saturday night.

MONTREAL

The same goes for Montreal when it comes to the above savings on taxes and favourable exchange rates, and it is also home to the mother of all underground cities (18 miles of subterranean shops, restaurants and hotels) for all-weather shopping. Hip and French speaking, Montreal scores better than Toronto when it comes to fashion, with more European labels on the shelves at prices that beat those back home.

Thomas Cook Signature (0870 4434434, www.tcsignature.com) is offering two-night packages to Montreal for £529 per person. This price is based on two sharing a room at the four-star Nelligan Hotel, return flights from Heathrow with Air Canada. This offer is valid for departures up to 6 December and must include a Saturday night.

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