Black Friday—two words that ring with both excitement and dread, promising both great deals and grabby crowds—marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season in the United States. Now this unofficial retail holiday has begun to go global, with Brazil, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain, India, and other countries seeing discounts and promotions in stores and online on the day after Americans stuff their faces with turkey. (Though they all pale in total sales next to China’s Singles’ Day on November 11.)
But shopping doesn’t need to be a stressful experience—it can be an eye-opener, enriching to the mind and the senses. Around the world are spectacular and unusual markets and shops featuring one-of-a-kind items, wonderful architecture, and bewildering displays. Here are some of our picks for shopping experiences that might feel like an antidote to a bargain-hunting frenzy.