When the traditional holiday lights on 125th Street turn on this Thursday evening, it's a sure sign Harlem's shopping season has begun. And the official parade that kicks things off at 7pm can't do better than this year's grand marshal, Dapper Dan.
Once the hoopla is over, you'll want to check out all the new stores and restaurants that have–or are about to–set up shop along the famous strip. Many are offering special deals online, so be sure to head there, too. Here are the most notable:
Serengeti Teas & Spices
22 E 125th Street
Formerly Serengeti Kitchen, this beautiful space has now fully absorbed its sister tea shop that shuttered earlier this year on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Enjoy a multi-course African tasting menu (reservations are required) or stop by anytime to try a unique variety of freshly-brewed African teas and infusions while browsing the exquisitely packaged tea blends, honeys and more.
1 W 125th Street
When it opens later this fall on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 125th Street–construction is currently in full swing–this will be Shake Shack's second Upper Manhattan location (there's already one on Columbia's Morningside Heights campus). Among the usual menu items, look for the special Pie Oh My frozen custard mixed with treats from nearby Lady Lexis Sweets.
Philly Pretzel Factory
14 W 125th Street
Harlem now has its own shop devoted to irresistible Philadelphia-style soft pretzels (with dips to match), and at three for $5, they're truly hard to pass up. Join the store's mailing list for specials and coupons unique to this location.
European Wax Center
28 W 125th Street
Opening soon, this professional waxing chain offers hair removal for practically every part of the body. Sign up online for preview week to get your complimentary wax service when the doors open.
72 W 125th Street
Central Harlem's first Chipotle debuted this summer and quickly attracted big crowds eager to fill up on the fast-casual chain's popular burritos and Tex-Mex bowls. Hooray!
Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works
112 W 125th Street
After what seems like years of construction, a sign with an opening date is finally up at the Victoria's Secret in Harlem: Friday, November 15 at 10am.
The Cliffs at Harlem
256 W 125th Street
This 15,000-square-foot bouldering spot last mentioned a December debut. In the meantime, there are five remaining discounted memberships available online ($1,150, down from $1,380), so if you're committed to climbing for a full year, act now.
256-258 W 125th Street
Upgrade your equipment, pay your bill and do lots more at this cable, internet and phone provider's sparkling new location.
309 W 125th Street
Open since late spring, Harlem's branch of New York City's go-to appliance chain is always a good place to check for holiday deals on electronics and more.
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