Miami is constantly reinventing itself, and before it goes out of style it’s back on the “must buy” vacation list.
In recent years Greater Miami and the Beaches has become one of the most fashion-forward destinations in the world, flaunting a red-hot shopping scene that’s a regular stop on every fashionista’s circuit.
Miami’s shopping scene has changed dramatically from the days when a bag of grapefruit and a Greetings from Miami Beach snow globe were typical tourist purchases. Today Miami offers a treasure of trendsetting items, from unique fashions to cutting-edge home décor, and great values on a variety of items. Miami draws serious shoppers from around the world who come to check out designer showrooms displaying the latest styles and innovations, and visit funky boutiques boasting homegrown talent.
In 2015 TravelPulse, a leading magazine advising travel agents on the best places to send their clients, named Greater Miami among the Top 5 Shopping Cities in the World. According to the magazine, the community has “ultra shopping credentials” starting with Art Basel, which boasts “over 200 galleries and boutiques” – it’s an eye popping delight. The Design District has the best selection of design stores and luxury boutiques around. The big names are all represented but a favorite is Christian Louboutin. Head to Lincoln Road for Alchemist, H&M, Lacoste and Banana Republic or Aventura Mall for Apple Store, Zara and TopShop. For Italian shoes go to Wynwood’s Del Toro. If you are a vintage freak … then a visit to C. Madeleine’s on Biscayne Boulevard is an absolute essential.” Fortune magazine backed up this glowing review with hard data, reporting that two of Greater Miami’s malls made the list of Top 10 Top-Producing Malls per Square Foot in the U.S., with Bal Harbour Shops claiming the No. 1 spot and Aventura Mall not far behind at No. 6.
To inspire shoppers, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau hosts Shop Miami Month (www.ShopMiamiMonth.com) each March, which features special offers from leading malls and retailers, haute couture and quaint designer boutiques to colorful bargain outlets.
You won’t want to miss Miami’s newest luxury shopping development in the heart of Brickell. Brickell City Centre is a luxury shopping paradise with everything from Adolfo Dominguez to Tommy Bahama. There are plenty of delicious food and cocktail choices as well, from Pubbelly Sushi’s amazing rolls to the grilled meats and seafood at Quinto La Huella to the taco stations of Tacology on the 4th floor.
You can even shop for the best organically farmed produce to include in your own cooking creations at the Saturday Brickell City Centre Farmers Market, between 6th & 8th Street, underneath the Metromover Track. Browse a local selection of prepared foods, baked goods, organic produce, artisanal foods, arts & crafts, jewelry, plants and flowers, and pet products. Then join up with the fit crowd for weekly Saturday yoga sessions with Underfit Yoga. After your long day of shopping and dining, why not lift up your feet at the CMX luxury movie theater where you can enjoy a gourmet meal in reclining comfort while watching the latest blockbuster film.
Brickell City Centre is a landmark $1.05 billion, 4.9 million square-foot, mixed-use development in Downtown Miami from Swire Properties Inc, one of South Florida’s leading international developers of real estate known for its $1 billion master-planned development of Brickell Key. The project’s first phase, completed in November 2016, includes a 500,000-square-foot luxury and premium retail center, two residential towers, REACH and RISE, the 352-room EAST Miami hotel with a swanky bar, Sugar, on the 40th floor with jaw-dropping views of the city and two mid-rise office towers. The project is LEED®-registered for Neighborhood Development – currently one of the largest in the U.S.
One of the coolest places to shop in town is Lincoln Road, a lushly landscaped pedestrian-only tropical promenade originally designed by Miami architect legend Morris Lapidus. Once the “Fifth Avenue of the South,” the stomping ground of jewelry-laden matrons in the 1950s and 60s, Lincoln Road today draws a more diverse crowd.
Located between West Avenue and Washington Avenue, insiders come to Lincoln Road for its eclectic mix of national retail chains and funky boutiques showcasing local designers, jewelry and other one-of-a-kind items – including hotter than hot brands such as Armani, Diesel, Apple, Lucky Brand, Steve Madden, Base, Unode50 Jewelry, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Zara, LuluLemon, Adidas, Athleta, American Eagle, Crocs, J Crew, H&M, Pandora and Swatch. More traditional shoppers will enjoy a free-standing Macy’s, tucked away on a side street. The Road also boasts a lively sidewalk café society, with trendy bars, galleries, and fine dining adding to the allure. Lincoln Road is one of the best people-watching spots on South Beach, with an endless parade of visitors from across America, Europe and South America looking to soak up some tropical glamour. Then there are the locals strutting with their dogs, some of them wearing fashions and gear from The Dog Bar. There’s even an independent Books & Books store, which specializes in art, design, fashion and architecture books but also offers bestsellers for those craving a beach read.
Savvy bargain hunters and collectors head to the Lincoln Road Antiques & Collectibles Market every second Sunday from October through May. Remaining market shows will be held on February 18 and 25, March 11 and 25, April 28 and 22 and the last show is May 6th 2018. Considered by many to be the best antique show in South Florida, the event offers booths filled with small treasures and vintage collectibles including art, jewelry, furniture, clothing and Miami memorabilia. All this is easily accessible by drivers as well, as the area offers plenty of metered parking. A beautiful new parking structure accommodates the growing demand at 1111 Lincoln Road, which has been designed to tie into the mall beautifully, featuring a rooftop lounge, restaurants, boutiques including Alchemist, and great views. Antique lovers can also treasure hunt in Downtown Homestead, which features historic buildings dating back to the early 20th century and stores selling bits and pieces of design history. Old Florida also comes to life in nearby Cauley Square Historic Village, which features a collection of unique mom and pop shops housed in colorful bungalows and a few places to eat surrounded by lush tropical wilderness.
COLLINS AVENUE FASHION DISTRICT
The most famous street in South Beach is Ocean Drive with a fashion shoot around every corner. The strip looks like a runway bursting with models, sports boutiques with funky, youthful fashions and unique accessories. Ocean Drive is a must-see but shoppers in the know head to Collins Avenue Fashion District — a dazzling collection of hip designer stores spread between 5th and 9th streets – for sophisticated finds.
Big-name designers like A/X Armani Exchange and Tommy Hilfiger, have all set up shop here, playing up South Beach’s hip vibe with their super chic décors and A-list service. Housed in an Art Deco mansion, Webster Miami offers not just clothes—from designers like Proenza Schouler, Balenciaga, Repossi, Alexander Wang and dozens more—but also a ground-floor cocktail lounge, a rooftop bar and wonderfully random accessories. Other favorites include Steve Madden, Dash, Ugg, Sephora, Guess, Vans and Aldo.
MIAMI DESIGN DISTRICT
Miami’s “sisterhood” with New York is evident in its cutting edge urban evolution in the Design District (www.MiamiDesignDistrict.net). With a synergistic blend of art, architecture and design, the district is a compelling 18 blocks of interior design showrooms, home furnishings and furniture studios that are open to the public.
Top names like Holly Hunt, Knoll, Kartell, Saint-Louis Crystal, Versace Home, Armani Casa, Ceramic Matrix, Celine Omega, and Waterworksare all strolling distance from one another, while hip restaurants and art galleries have sprung up on every block. Standout celebrity chef eateries include Michele Bernstein’s Crumb on Parchment, as well as Michael Schwartz’ Michael’s Genuine Food + Drink, Estefan Kitchen, Ghee Indian Kitchen and Lemoni Cafe.
The neighborhood is redefining how fashion is merchandised, with new fashion icon brands recently opened or soon to come as part of a massive, multi-phase overhaul. New to the Design District include MadLab Creamery & Chocolatier, CREED, Blue Bottle Coffee, Gucci and Joseph, with others coming soon such Rag & Bone and Sub-Zero and Wolf. Art installations abound, featuring work by John Baldessari, The Buckminster Fuller Institute and Xaview Veilhan. This cultural crucible has given birth to a unique Design & Architecture Senior High School (DASH), which offers public events and was named among the Best High Schools in U.S. News & World Report.
Nearby, Midtown Miami (www.MidtownMiami.com) offers sidewalks filled with trendy boutiques, cafes, lounges and restaurants. Shoppers can enjoy special installations and exhibits adorning the streets, as well as a mix of eateries and specialty food shops from SugarCane, Salumeria, Sakaya Kitchen, Harry’s Pizzeria, and the Cheese Course. The neighborhood also welcomed major stores to the mix, such as Marshalls, Home Goods and Ross, Nordstroms Rack, Target, Party City and Carter’s childrens Clothing as well as Guess Factory Store, and West Elm.
Just north is Rebel Miami, promoted in fashion magazines as offering the best of the boutique and consignment worlds, with big names like Elizabeth and James, Young Fabulous & Broke, and Wink. Further north vintage fans flock to C. Madeleine’s, a 10,000-square-foot store that is considered one of the best vintage collections in the U.S., from Edwardian slips and Thierry Mugler power suits to pristine-condition design pieces and one boutique dedicated entirely to Chanel.
Just south of the Design District and carrying on the tropical SoHo vibe is Wynwood (www.WynwoodMiami.com), a trendy arts hub that is home to more than 70 galleries, museums and collections. This outdoor street museum is the birthplace of the astonishing Wynwood Walls, featuring cutting-edge museum quality contemporary urban murals by some of street art’s most famous names including, Shepard Fairey of the Obama Hope poster fame. The neighborhood attracts thousands during Art Basel for its pop up parties and galleries, as well as inspiring unusual collaborations between musicians, artists, graphic designers, commercial brands and all kinds of creative types. Part of Miami’s Midtown area, the Wynwood neighborhood welcomed the first U.S.A. store of Saccaro, one of Brazil’s most celebrated and innovative furniture designers. Trendy and unique stores include The French Atmosphere, Elementaland the Plant the Future store, as well as Frangipani and vintage-inspired Haus Fashion Lab and Las Tias.
Both the Design District and Wynwood host gallery nights on the second Saturday of the month, with locals and visitors passing back and forth between the adjacent neighborhoods to explore the latest art trends and buy something special.
SHOP CORAL GABLES
Yet another renaissance is the Coral Gables. Traditionally a tranquil shopping and business district, Miracle Mile (www.ShopCoralGables.com) has been transformed into a bustling and romantic shopping, dining and entertainment district. More than 170 designer boutiques and specialty stores now line the boulevard and surrounding area. With dozens of bridal boutiques, wedding cake galleries, invitation stores and salons, Miracle Mile has also become a preferred shopping destination for brides from all parts of the world. Savvy shoppers come every March for Downtown Coral Gables’ annual Sidewalk Sale, which coincides with the Carnaval on the Mile art festival and features 20 to 75 percent off designer eveningwear, bridal gowns, sportswear, accessories, eyewear, fine jewelry, home goods, edible treats and more.
The Mile is undergoing an almost $20 million renovation to enhance the shopping experience for visitors, including new street lighting, tree grates, benches, better signage for businesses and parking garages, more welcoming connections to garages and alleyways and permanent valet stations. The neighborhood is also home to a variety of independent and chain eateries, from California Pizza Kitchen to cutting-edge bistros along Giralda Avenue – a.k.a. Restaurant Row.
The Village of Merrick Park (www.VillageofMerrickPark.com) is a three-level, open air center boasting nearly 800,000 square feet of high-end to mid-range retailers and restaurants in Coral Gables. Beautifully landscaped with fountains, tropical foliage and serene gardens perfect for reflecting and relaxing between purchases, Merrick Park is home to more than 100 world class shops and restaurants, with anchors Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom and exclusive international designer boutiques including Gucci, Tiffany & Co, Carolina Herrera, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors and Burberry. Other retail offerings range from Calypso St. Barth, and J Crew to Athleta, Pottery Barn, William Sonoma, Anthropology and Jack and Jane. For the sophisticated palate, the center features dining options ranging from Italian to Mediterranean, including Villagio, Sawa, Godiva Chocolatier, Nordstroms E-bar and Yardhouse. Elemis Day Spa, a world-renowned palace of pampering with locations in London and Hong Kong, opened its first South Florida location here.
BAL HARBOUR SHOPS
The prestigious Bal Harbour Shops (www.BalHarbourShops.com), located one block from the ocean and north of Miami Beach, set the standard for upper echelon shopping centers when it opened in 1965, with a reputation for the finest quality shops and products.
Today it’s a playground for socialites, fashionistas and celebrities, with designer anchors such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as luxury brands such as Chanel, Gucci, Oscar de la Renta, Prada and Tory Burch. Bal Harbour Shops is perennially ranked one of the most productive shopping centers in the U.S., featuring lush tropical landscaping and fountains that are inspiring even for guests who are just window shopping. Pinko, Linda Farrow and Monnalisa just debuted, and Carpaccio, Le Zoo, Santa Fe News & Espress and Makoto continue to be favorites among the locals and visitors.
Two other Miami-Dade shopping centers are hot destinations for avid shoppers. South Miami’s Dadeland Mall (www.Simon.com), accessible by Metrorail, is a traditional enclosed shopping mall featuring an excellent retail mix of 185 stores. Anchored by Florida’s largest Macy*s, as well as Macy*s Home Gallery & Kids, Abercrombie & Fitch, The Disney Store, Hollister, Ann Taylor and the Apple Store as well as one of the country’s largest The Limited/Express and Nordstrom stores. A chic wing with 102,000 square-feet of revamped retail space houses an enviable group of stores BOSS Hugo Boss, Free People, Express, Lush, Microsoft, Tesla, Porsche Design and Urban Outfitters, while the new Terrace Dining area featuring Aoki, Balans, Bobby’s Burger Palace (as in Food Network’s Chef Bobby Flay), Earl’s Kitchen + Bar, and Texas de Brazil.
One of the top malls in the U.S. and boasting more than 300 retailers and restaurants, Aventura Mall (www.AventuraMall.com) on the north side of the county features six anchor department stores, a 24-screen theater and a full slate of year-round events including a weekly farmer’s market, children’s activities, fashion shows and fundraisers. The mall has a Visitor Center which gives international and domestic visitors credit cardholder benefits and amenities, VIP recognition and access as well as special promotions.
Multilingual ambassadors provide assistance with gift with purchase programs, personalized shopping experiences, currency exchange, dinner and show reservations, online airline check-in and personal shopping. The mall has also gone through numerous expansions with the latest one offering, a nearly 93-foot-tall spiral structure by Belgian artist Carsten Höller. The Aventura Slide Tower leads a double life: towering landmark and exhilarating slide. “The slide can be experienced both by sliding down it or by viewing it from the outside with people coming down in it—which are different, but both powerful, experiences,” said Höller, who is world-renowned for large-scale artworks that transform common expectations of social spaces. This is Höller’s first slide in the United States. The installation is part of the ever-evolving Arts Aventura Mall program, which includes more than a dozen museum-quality works positioned throughout the center. Experience the Aventura Slide Tower at the lower level entrance to the new wing. Open 10am-5:30pm daily.
Savings is the lure at Dolphin Mall (www.ShopDolphinMall.com), located just five miles west of Miami International Airport. Miami-Dade County’s largest retail value shopping center,
Dolphin Mall blends the hottest concepts in theme entertainment and dining with more than 240 designer brand name stores at affordable prices, from Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Store and Coach Factory Store to Armani Exchange, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th. The mall underwent an expansion and renovation, including 900 new parking spaces, and features unique stores like Bass Pro shop, Converse, BCBG, Guess, DKNY, Calvin Klein and Lucky Brand. The center also mixes up the experience with entertainment venues such as CineBistro, Bowlero, Cool De Sac, Dave and Buster’s and more than 40 diverse dining options in the Atrio Food Court, and 17 sit-down restaurants including Texas de Brazil Churrascaria, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, The Cheesecake Factory, BRIO Tuscan Grille, Cabo Flats Cantina & Tequila Bar, Kona Grill and most recently Milanezza Argentinian Restaurant & Bar.
Right off the exit to Florida City, the gateway to the world-famous Everglades National Park is the Florida Keys Outlet Center, where guests can shop 55 brand name outlet stores, including Nike, Aeropostale, Gap, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Izod, Gymboree, OshKosh B’gosh, Famous Footwear Outlet, Sketchers, Nine West, Coach, Sunglass Hut and Toys “R” Us. Visitors can put their savings toward renting a houseboat or an airboat ride in the Everglades, scuba or snorkeling in Biscayne National Park or watching NASCAR racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Shopping can be a guilty pleasure when you’re vacationing in a tropical paradise, but many of Miami’s shopping destinations are picturesque open-air affairs, offering visitors plenty of blue skies and sunshine.
The Falls (www.ShopTheFalls.com), one of the largest open-air shopping, dining and entertainment complexes in the U.S., is filled with quiet lagoons and wooden walkways surrounded by abundant tropical foliage. Here shoppers can find Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, the first American Girl® store in South Florida and more than 100 stores, restaurants, cafés and a movie theater.
The Shops at Sunset Place(www.shopsunsetplace.com) has majestic waterfalls, cascading fountains, a dramatic grand staircase and even 35-foot Banyan trees. Bayside Marketplace(www.BaysideMarketplace.com), downtown Miami’s waterfront shopping/dining and entertainment center across from PortMiami, is the gateway to over 140 shops, great live music and fabulous food and drink. Here shoppers can hop on a refreshing Bay cruise, from tours of the celebrity homes on Star Island to gambling cruises. They can also board Big Bus Miami, featuring hop on, hop off tours of Miami Beach, Uptown Miami and a City Route focusing on Downtown Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and Little Havana.
Mary Brickell Village (www.MaryBrickellVillage.com) in the heart of downtown Miami’s Brickell financial district offers nearly 50 upscale boutiques, including signature retailers such as Village Humidor, Edward Biener Eyewear, Studio LX, Brickell Jewelers as well as several beauty bars and accessory shops. This dining Mecca includes more than 10 hip eateries offering tastes from around the world, such as Rosa Mexicano, PF Chang’s, Starbucks, Balans, Blue Martini, Taverna Opa and Fado Irish Pub. CocoWalk (www.Cocowalk.net) offers a mix of exclusive specialty shops, dining and entertainment and a movie theater – a perfect complement to the indie boutiques, galleries and cafes that line the streets of artsy Coconut Grove. This open-air lifestyle center, just a block from Biscayne Bay, features lively bars that are popular with the University of Miami crowd as well as visitors.
FARMERS AND FLEA MARKETS
Visitors to Miami who enjoy strolling open-air markets for fresh produce, organic products and handmade textiles, clothing and other items can find a farmer’s market in just about every neighborhood throughout the city. And those who just can’t resist a bargain will exult in flea markets that offer a potpourri of new and used products.
The Market Company, South Florida’s premier farmers’ market developers, offers a wide variety of markets throughout Greater Miami and the Beaches, from Aventura Mall in the north, down to Lincoln Road and Normandy Village in Miami Beach, to the Shops at Sunset, University of Miami and various Metrorail stations such as Dadeland North and Civic Center in the south.
Throughout the year the Lincoln Road Farmer’s Market offers a cornucopia of produce and specialty food items on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., from local fruits and vegetables to fresh flowers and plants – especially orchids – as well as bread, honey and jams. Another year-round experience is the Dadeland Mall Market which takes place one Sunday a month from 12-7pm. Here vendors change up their offerings weekly, ranging from produce to specialty foods and gifts.
Coral Gables’ Farmers Market, held every Saturday from mid-January to late March from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in front of City Hall, lets food lovers indulge in wonderful local produce, fresh coffee and baked goods, yummy artisan food creations, honey, flowers, breads, art works, kids’activities, music and a wonderful bulk herb stand straight out of an eastern bazaar. The Coconut Grove Farmer’s Market, which runs on Saturday mornings year-round from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Grand Avenue and Margaret Street, qualifies as the oldest and most traditional of Miami’s outdoor markets, with a mouth-watering array of local organic produce and ready-to-eat delicacies. The market is a raw vegan’s dream, but will surprise any non-vegan/vegetarian, with specialty items such as Thai Coconut Water and raw vegan desserts, including ice “creams” made from cashew and coconut milks, as well as local homemade breads, hummus, organic homemade creams and skincare products and Jamaican raw food.
Another seasonal market takes place around the fountain at Aventura Mall, a more intimate market selling items such as cut flowers, tropical plants, pastries and baked goods, fresh guacamole, cooking oils, potpourri, and honey (March – October 2018).
The Redlands Market Village, based in Miami’s agriculture center in South Miami Dade County, offers discounted fresh exotic produce, prepared foods, boots, hats and belts on weekends year-round on Thursdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. A few miles north is the South Miami Farmer’s Market, open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. throughout the year and specializing in produce, eggs, grass-fed beef and cheese, and delicious food demonstrations.
Bargain hunters head to the flea markets, discovering a plethora of diverse merchandise in festive, fun environments that reflect Miami’s multicultural population. The Opa Locka-Hialeah Flea Market is the granddaddy of all South Florida flea markets. Open daily, the market features 1,200 dealers selling everything imaginable and attracts more than 100,000 visitors each week. Visitors are encouraged to check out the town of Opa-locka, boasting the largest collection of Moorish Revival architecture in the Western Hemisphere, including a City Hall complete with minarets and elaborately painted domes. Open daily 7am-6pm.
Before heading home, there’s still plenty of time to shop at Miami International Airport – MIA (www.Miami-Airport.com). As part of the airports recent expansion, the facility boasts 126 shops and 79 restaurants to enjoy between layovers. The latest to open include the Miami Marlins and Miami Heat stores, The Clover Irish Pub, XpressSpa, Victoria Secret, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Tumi, Tous, Cuban Crafters cigar store, Coach, MAC cosmetics and Mediterranean Kitchen.
The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is an independent not-for-profit sales and marketing organization whose mission is to attract visitors to Greater Miami and the Beaches for leisure, business and conventions. For a vacation guide, visit our website at www.MiamiAndBeaches.com or call 1-888-76-Miami (US/Canada only) or 305-447-7777. To reach the GMCVB offices dial 305-539-3000. Meeting Planners may call 1-800-933-8448 (US/Canada only) or 305-539-3071 or visit www.MiamiMeetings.com.