Unless you’re looking for some shell jewelry or a souvenir t-shirt, Delaware’s shopping scene probably won’t provide much excitement. Even though the state offers the advantage of no sales tax on purchased goods, the stores are just the typical array of brand retailers and department stores stuffed into shopping malls.
In Wilmington, there are two shopping malls that cover most of the consumerism in the state’s capital. For the intrepid shopper, there are a handful of decent independent boutiques downtown along Ninth Street and Market Street. Along the coast, the quaint town of Lewes is the best place to shops for antiques, arts and crafts, and interesting souvenirs.
The area in which this state excels is its outlet mall shopping thanks to the Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth Beach. Delaware’s absence of sales tax has given birth to this colossal chain of retail shops. To its credit, Tanger Outlets is a nice complex with three different areas that contain food, bookshops, and another 150 stores with brand names like Waterford crystal and OshKosh overalls. You’ll need a map to orient yourself (yes, really), and be aware that weekends see the area become extremely crowded as residents of New Jersey hop on the Cape May-Lewes ferry to save a few bucks on tax free goods.
In Rehoboth town, the best shopping is along main Rehoboth Avenue, with a few stops for souvenirs right on the boardwalk. Bethany Beach also has a handful of tourist shops along its boardwalk, but most of its decent shopping is found along Garfield Parkway. Retail stores in most Delaware tourist towns open from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., but have extended hours throughout the summer months.