High Street (or the High Street) is a metonym for the generic name (and frequently the official name) of the primary business street of towns or cities, especially in the United Kingdom. It is usually a focal point for shops and shopkeepers in city centres, and is most often used in reference to retailing. However, in recent times the phrase "High Street banks" has been widely used to refer to the retail banking sector in the United Kingdom.
The equivalent in the United States, Canada and Ireland is Main Street, a term also used in smaller towns and villages in Scotland and parts of rural Australia. In Jamaica, North East England and some sections of Canada and the United States, the usual term is Front Street. In Cornwall, some places in Devon and some places in the north of England, the equivalent is Fore Street; in some parts of the UK Market Street is also used, although sometimes this may be a different area where street markets are currently (or historically) centred. In Canada, King Street and Queen Street are often used instead of Main Street (which is more prevalent in the United States). The Dutch equivalent is Hoogstraat, of which examples are found in cities such as Brussels, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Bruges, Rotterdam and many towns.
High Street is the most-common street name in the UK. According to a survey by the bank Halifax there are 5,410 High Streets, 3,811 Station Roads and 2,702 Main Streets.
In more recent times, especially with the introduction and growth of the Internet, High Street may also be interchangeable with the term "bricks-and-mortar business" in the United Kingdom (note the spelling with the "s", compared to the United States term "brick-and-mortar"), referring to the material used in the construction of a retail shopfront operation versus an online Internet operation.