Yelp’s Top 20 Cities to Shop Local for the Holidays

With Small Business Saturday just around the corner, holiday shoppers are making their lists, checking them twice, and preparing to spend money at local businesses across the country.


Yelp recently conducted a survey with Nielsen which found that 8 in 10 Americans are likely to shop at local businesses this holiday season. But which cities in America are the best for finding great local gifts? We analyzed Yelp’s millions of reviews and business listings to determine the U.S. cities with the largest concentration of highly-rated, local businesses where holiday shoppers can find great gifts. Without further ado, here are the top 20 cities for local shopping lovers:


Yelp’s Top 20 Cities to Shop Local for the Holidays


1. Portland, ME

2. Lawrence, KS

3. St. Petersburg, FL

4. Asheville, NC

5. Santa Cruz, CA

6. Detroit, MI

7. Bend, OR

8. Chapel Hill, NC

9. Wilmington, NC

10. Hoboken, NJ

11. Minneapolis, MN

12. Portland, OR

13. Frederick, MD

14. Flagstaff, AZ

15. New Orleans, LA

16. Worcester, MA

17. Savannah, GA

18. Providence, RI

19. Seattle, WA

20. Baltimore, MD


Now that you know the best cities for local shopping, keep these tips in mind to find amazing local gifts that’ll make you the toast of the Secret Santa holiday swap.


1. Think outside the box.

In fact, think of something you can’t even put into a box! Yelp and Nielsen’s recent survey found that local shoppers are looking for experience-based gifts this year. Consider a gift certificate to a delicious local restaurant, a manicure or massage at a local spa, or even a free pass to attend a pottery or cooking class. A small gift, like a lotion from the spa, paired with a gift certificate makes a perfect set.

2. Rep your city.

What makes your city unique? Find a local brewery that bottles craft beer that’s super hot with locals in the know, or a dairy that produces to-die-for cheeses you can only find locally. Whether your recipient lives around the corner or is from out-of-town, they’ll appreciate a carefully selected, locally-made gift that gets them a ticket straight to the cool kids club!

3. Do your research.

Take a peek at what your friend or family member Tweets about, Yelps about, etc. Did they “like” the page of a local boutique? Have they written a review of a new coffee shop? This will give you an idea of their tastes for local businesses and will win you points for being the most observant gift giver around.

4. Find the best-of-the-best.

You only want the best for your loved ones, right? If you’re not sure what they may like, a safe bet is to look at the Best of Yelp list and choose a business that locals agree is tops, whether a restaurant you can buy a gift certificate for (something you can do right through the Yelp site and app!) or a boutique to bookmark for a shopping trip. Chances are your gift recipient has heard of this spot and will be impressed with your local knowledge.

5. Speak up.

Whether or not you have a gift in mind, when you’re in a store, ask the staff for guidance. They’ll be able to give you a rundown of their inventory, can point out all their locally made products, and might show you something you weren’t expecting that could turn into the perfect gift.

Happy holiday hunting and See You on Yelp!