We've all self-soothed a bad day with retail therapy. We've also treated ourselves with retail therapy. Many of us can rationalize retail therapy for just about anything.

Learning that Boston made the top 10 list of cities for best retail therapy is zero surprising. We have world-class shopping in the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, plenty of boutiques, as well as chain shopping available throughout the metro area and surrounding suburbs.

For the most part, the website Very Well Health sums up retail therapy perfectly.

It's motivated by a desire to feel better rather than to meet a need, like grocery shopping. This activity may also be called comfort buying, stress shopping, or compensative buying. Retail therapy doesn't have to be a guilty pleasure, though. It can be a relaxing, empowering experience on occasion.

The downside for a lot of us is exactly how much we actually spend during these retail therapy sessions. While it releases endorphins and makes us temporarily feel better, that credit card bill can change everything.

So what cities see a boost in their economy, so to speak, because of retail therapy?

Surprisingly, the top 10 feel out of order. In some cases, I'm surprised by a couple of the cities on this list, while there are some I expected to see, like Boston, which is #4.

Storage Cafe conducted this study. To pinpoint the top metro areas offering the most satisfying and enjoyable shopping experiences, criteria included the following, according to the website.

  • Number of retail establishments per 1,000 residents
  • Number of retail employees per 1,000 residents
  • Retail square footage per capita
  • Local foot traffic
  • Household income
  • Household expenditures on retail purchases
  • Interest in luxury brands as illustrated by online searches
  • Population density

Drum roll, please?

Storage Cafe
Storage Cafe


Largest number of retail stores per 1K residents.


Inexpensive with a solid price range.

St. Louis

The most retail space per capita.


The most clothing and sporting goods outlets.


No sales tax on clothing.


Avoid crowds.

Los Angeles

2nd highest number of places to shop in the country.


Hefty household income per capita.

New York City

2nd best for store-to-shopper ratio and most luxury brands.


Residents spend a lot comparatively.

Of course, if you want a deeper dive into why each place landed where it did, click here.

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