The City of Hamilton
The widest range of shopping choices is in the City of Hamilton. Most shops are on Front Street, but you should explore the back streets as well, especially if you're an adventurous shopper.
The Emporium on Front Street, a restored building constructed around an atrium, houses a number of shops, including jewelry stores. Windsor Place on Queen Street is another Bermuda-style shopping mall.
As you leave the City of Hamilton and tour the island, you may want to continue looking for typical Bermudian items at the shops we've listed listed. For other shopping suggestions, consider the Bermuda Craft Market in Paget Parish.
Department Stores -- Generations of Bermuda-bound visitors made Trimingham's and Smith's, headquartered along Front Street, their first stops for shopping. A decade and a half ago, these venerable department stores closed their doors. Although nothing will replace the loss of these emporiums in the hearts of many locals, you can find some of the same type of merchandise at Marks & Spencer, A. S. Cooper & Sons, and to a lesser degree, Gibbons.
Historic St. George
The "second city" of St. George also has many shops, stores, and boutiques, including branches of the City of Hamilton's famous Front Street stores. King's Square, the center of St. George, is home to many shops. The other major centers are Somers Wharf and Water Street.
In recent years, this historic port has emerged as a big-time shopping competitor to the City of Hamilton. It's easier to walk around St. George than the City of Hamilton, and St. George is more architecturally interesting, so more and more customers are choosing to do their shopping here. Of course, St. George doesn't have as vast an array of merchandise as the City of Hamilton, so the serious shopper might want to explore both cities.
Don't overlook the shopping possibilities of the West End. Somerset Village in Sandys Parish has many shops (though quite a few are branches of the City of Hamilton stores). At the Royal Naval Dockyard area on Ireland Island, you can visit the Craft Market, Island Pottery, and the Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard, where you'll see local artisans at work.
What You Should Know
Store Hours -- Stores in the City of Hamilton, St. George, and Somerset are generally open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5:30pm. When large liners are in port, stores may stay open later, and are sometimes open on Sundays.
Finding an Address -- Some Front Street stores post numbers on their buildings; others don't. Sometimes the number posted or used is the "historic" number of the building, which has nothing to do with the modern number. You can always ask for directions, and most Bermudians are willing to help. Outside the City of Hamilton, don't expect to find numbers on buildings at all -- or even street names in some cases.
Sales Tax & Duty -- There's no sales tax in Bermuda, but it's not a duty-free island. Depending on which country you're returning to, you may have to pay duty.
Note: Bermuda is covered by the U.S. law regarding "Generalized System of Preferences" status. That means that if at least 35% of an item has been crafted in Bermuda, you can bring it back duty-free, regardless of how much you spent. If you've gone beyond your $800 allotment, make a separate list of goods made in Bermuda. This will make it easier for the customs officials (and for you).
The Eternal Search for Bargains -- During the off season (autumn and winter), stores often reduce prices to make way for goods for the new season. But sales come and go year-round -- keep an eye out for sale signs no matter when you're in Bermuda.
Last-Minute Purchases -- The international airport in Bermuda offers duty-free shops for those last-minute purchases. One shop is in the international departures lounge, and the other lies near the U.S. departures lounge. For that specialty purchase, you should still shop around the island, but now you can buy routine duty-free items such as perfume, cigarettes, and liquor just prior to boarding the plane. That sure beats the old system of buying duty-free liquor and cigarettes a day or so in advance and having them delivered to the airport.
Branching Out -- You'll often find branches of City of Hamilton's stores at major resorts. The prices -- even when there's a sale -- are the same as those charged by the parent stores in the City of Hamilton. Although the selection is more limited, resort boutiques remain open on Sunday, when most stores in the City of Hamilton are shuttered.
The Right Fit -- Recognizing that the majority of their customers hail from North America, store managers throughout Bermuda do their best to systematically relabel garments from manufacturers in Europe and the U.K. with sizes that correspond to usage in the U.S. But if for any reason the garment that appeals to you carries a European or British label and hasn't been relabeled, clothing salespersons throughout Bermuda have conversion charts readily available.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.