This is part five of a five-part series: Top 55 places to go in Southeast Florida.
Add another “s” to the sun, surf and sand that Southeast Florida is famous for: shopping. Whether you love the supreme luxury of a Bal Harbour, or the intimate confines of a pedestrian-friendly district teeming with vibrant street fare, we’ve found 11 places where the shopping can’t be beat.
We’ve made sure to cover a whole range of options in this list, from farmer’s markets to fine jewelers; indoor and outdoor locales; antiques shops to luxury clothiers. Now you know what to do: get those credit cards ready, make sure there’s enough space in the trunk for shopping bags—and have fun. If it’s true that shopping is a sport, then it’s always better when it’s of the leisure type.
19501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura, FL 33180
While not as much of a cash cow as the neighboring Bal Harbour Shops, Aventura Mall is still ritzy enough to recently tie for 15th on the top-earning list of malls worldwide on a list compiled by Shopping Centers Today. Opened in 1985, it’s also one of the top five grossing malls in the country. Anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Macy’s, Aventura Mall boasts 300 specialty stores, including internationally renowned names such as Louis Vuitton, Herve Leger, Burberry, Montblanc, Faconnable, Henri Bendel, Ulysse Nardin, Michael Kors, Breitling and Hugo Boss. Aventura also houses 10 full-service restaurants and an exclusive contemporary art collection featuring 10 installations positioned throughout the shopping center.
If you’re looking for a shopping experience that goes well beyond the norm, check out CityPlace, which serves as the center of Downtown West Palm Beach. The 72-acre mixed-use site is home to more than 80 specialty shops, national stores, restaurants and entertainment venues, like B.B. King’s Blues Club and the Improv Comedy Club. But don’t think you have to head indoors to appreciate CityPlace. Many shoppers relish the opportunity to enjoy the development’s Mediterranean architecture, especially prevalent in an amazing fountain and an open-air plaza. Shoppers get the benefits of a European shopping experience, all without leaving Florida.
Wrapping along the banks of the Biscayne Bay, Bayside Marketplace opened in 1987 and is uniquely situated as easy to access by public transportation. Adjacent to the American Airlines Arena, it’s served by the Metrorail at the Government Center, and directly by the Metromover at College/Bayside station. Laid out on two levels and five zones, its unique blend of shops run the gamut from Peterson’s South Beach Harley Davidson to a half dozen jewelry stores, and technology shops including Brookstone. You can also take a local bilingual narrated cruise from Bayside via Island Queen Cruises.
Practical advice dictates that one should never shop on an empty stomach. Of course, we’ll ignore that this directive is probably meant for grocery shopping and not shoe shopping but hey, good advice is good advice, so we’ll take it. You should too. If you feel like filling up before hitting the stores, one of the many restaurants at Delray Marketplace is sure to please your palette and give you the nourishment to scan the sales racks. From upscale stores like Chico and White House Black Market to fun specialty shops like It’Sugar and Charming Charlie, the Delray Marketplace offers all sorts of shopping options.
Downtown Delray Beach Shopping District
Downtown Delray Beach
Looking for something a bit out of the ordinary? Stroll the streets of Downtown Delray Beach for an eclectic shopping experience that is sure to break you out of your run-of-the-mill mall endeavors. Grab some friends, have a quick bite to eat and hit the decoratively-lit streets, stopping in various shops to browse through collections of unique clothing, original works of art and adorable knick-knacks, all while enjoying the cool Florida breeze.
11401 NW 12th St., Miami, FL 33172
Opened in 2001, the Dolphin Mall is unique in its layout among area malls. At 1.4 million square feet, it’s divided into three districts — Playa (Beach), Ramblas (Boulevards), and Moda (Fashion) — and features a fresh racetrack layout with stores ranging from Burlington Coat Factory to Bass Pro Shop. Dolphin Mall also has an 850-seat food court with some unique Miami twists, including empanadas, Cuban specialties and other Latin treats right next to American favorites. It’s also home to a 19-screen movie theater, a Strike Miami bowling alley, and at least four yummy places for frozen treats, including the sleek 4D Gelateria.