Miami and Miami Beach have become one of the most fashion-forward destinations in the world, flaunting an incredible 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.
USA Today 10 Best agrees Miami is the city for those who subscribe to the notion of retail therapy as necessary. According to the online article, Miami has some shopping credentials starting with The Design District which has some of 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 Ray Ban. For an eclectic mix of fashion, home items and accessories, visit Boho Hunter in Wynwood. This boutique has colorful clutch bags, artisan-made Panama hats and swimsuits made in Brazil. If you are a vintage freak – then a visit to The House of Findings in Upper Buena Vista is an absolute essential.
You won’t want to miss Miami’s ultra luxury shopping development in the heart of Brickell. 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 40th floor bar, Sugar and two mid-rise office towers. The project is LEED®-registered for Neighborhood Development – currently one of the largest in the United States. Brickell City Centre is a lux 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 unique tacos of Tacology on the 4th floor. After your long day of shopping and dining, why not kick 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.
One of the coolest places to shop 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 boutiques showcasing local designers, jewelry, and other one-of-a-kind items. Store brands on Lincoln Road include Showfields, Nike, Apple, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Zara, LuluLemon, Adidas, Crocs, and H&M. 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 sun.
Savvy bargain hunters and collectors head to the Lincoln Road Antiques & Collectibles Market on Sundays (https://lincolnroadmall.com/lincoln-road-antique-collectible-market/) from October through May. 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 and parking garages. 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 shops housed in colorful bungalows and a few places to eat surrounded by lush tropical wilderness. You also might run into a wedding as they offer intimate summer elopement celebrations in their beautiful and serene setting.
Collins Avenue Fashion District
The most famous street in South Beach is Ocean Drive. The strip looks like a runway bursting with models, 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 Vans, 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 Balenciaga, Repossi, Alexander Wang and dozens more, but also a rooftop bar and wonderfully random accessories.
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 area of interior design showrooms, home furnishings and furniture studios that are open to the public. Top names like Armani Casa, Chanel, Celine, Dior, Bottega Veneta and Burberry are all strolling distance from one another, while hip restaurants and art galleries have sprung up on every block. Standout celebrity chef eateries include Swan & Bar Bevy, Michael’s Genuine Food + Drink, Pura Vida, MIA Market and Le Jardinier.
The neighborhood is redefining how fashion is merchandised, with new fashion icon brands springing up regularly. This cultural crucible has given birth to a unique Design & Architecture Senior High School (DASH), an award-winning Magnet School with one-of-a-kind art and design curriculum complemented with rigorous academics. 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 like SugarCane and Salumeria. The neighborhood also welcomed major stores to the mix, such as Marshalls, Home Goods and Ross, Target, Party City and Carter’s Children’s Clothing.
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.
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. Trendy and unique stores include Plant the Future store, Boho Hunter, Base, Frangipani and Basico.
SHOP CORAL GABLES
Yet another renaissance is 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. With more than 150 property owners and over 350 merchants including restaurants and wedding boutiques. Infused with a chic European feel, tree-lined streets and Mediterranean architecture, the historic area boasts some cool murals, perfect for that worthy Instagram shot. The area also has some of Miami’s finest shops, acclaimed restaurants, and lively cultural venues. With dozens of bridal boutiques, wedding cake galleries, invitation stores and salons, Miracle Mile has also become a preferred shopping destination for brides. The Mile underwent an almost $20 million renovation to enhance the shopping experience including new street lighting, tree grates, benches, improved signage for businesses and parking garages along with permanent valet stations. The neighborhood is also home to a variety of independent and chain eateries, from Hillstone to Bulla Gastro Bar to Tap 42 and cutting-edge bistros along Giralda Avenue – a.k.a. Restaurant Row.
Shops at Merrick Park (https://www.shopsatmerrickpark.com/en.html) 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 approximately 100 world class shops and restaurants, with anchors Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom and exclusive international designer boutiques and home décor stores like Artefacto, Crate&Barrel, Baby Cottons, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, Chico’s and Lacoste. For those seeking delicious food options, the center features choices including Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Sawa Restaurant & Lounge and Yardhouse.
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 Marni, Chanel, Gucci, and Fendi. Bal Harbour Shops is perennially ranked one of the most productive shopping centers in the United States, featuring lush tropical landscaping, koi fishponds, waterfall features and a variety of palm trees for shade. Restaurants like Carpaccio, Le Zoo, and Makoto continue to be favorites among the locals and visitors. The Shops continue to grow with a $550 million expansion including a new wing, grand entrance and third level. In total, the shopping mall will have approximately 700,000-square-feet of space when the project is completed, compared to 450,000-square-feet. Bal Harbour Shops is uniquely positioned across from the Atlantic Ocean offering a serene visual aesthetic like no other luxury shopping destination.
Two other Miami-Dade shopping centers are hot destinations for avid shoppers. South Miami’s Dadeland Mall (www.DadelandMall.com), accessible by Metrorail, is a traditional enclosed shopping mall featuring an excellent retail mix. 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 Pandora. A chic wing with 102,000-square-feet of revamped retail space houses an enviable group of stores while the new Terrace Dining area featuring restaurants like Cantina Catrina, The Cheesecake Factory, Earl’s Kitchen + Bar, CVI.CHE 105 and Pubbelly Sushi.
One of the top malls in the United States and boasting more than 300 retailers and restaurants, Aventura Mall (www.AventuraMall.com) on the north side of Miami features several anchor department stores, a 24-screen theater and a slate of events including a 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 help with personalized shopping experiences, currency exchange, dinner reservations, and online airline check-in. 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. 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.
Savings is the lure at Dolphin Mall (www.ShopDolphinMall.com), located just five miles west of Miami International Airport. Miami’s largest retail value shopping center, Dolphin Mall blends the hottest concepts in shopping and dining with more than 200 designer brand name stores at affordable prices, from Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Store, Banana Republic Factory, Gap Factory, Guess Factory, Columbia Factory, Burlington and more. The center also mixes up the experience with entertainment venues such as CMX CineBistro, Dave and Buster’s and a variety of diverse dining options in the Atrio Food Court, and sit-down restaurants including Texas de Brazil Churrascaria, P.F. Chang’s Bistro, The Cheesecake Factory, Rotelli Pasta and Johnny Rockets.
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 about 40 brand name outlet stores, including Under Armour, Nike Clearance Store, Tommy Hilfiger, Carter’s and Aeropostale.
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), an open-air shopping, dining and entertainment complex is filled with quiet lagoons and wooden walkways surrounded by abundant tropical foliage. Here shoppers can find Coach New York, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Brighton, Lucky Brand, Macy’s, the first American Girl® store in South Florida and lots of restaurants and cafés. The Shops at Sunset Place (www.ShopsatSunsetPlace.com) has a dramatic grand staircase and even 35-foot Banyan trees plus some cool skater stores and unique shops. Bayside Marketplace (www.BaysideMarketplace.com), downtown Miami’s waterfront shopping/dining and entertainment center across from PortMiami, is the gateway to over 100 shops, great live music and fabulous food and drink. Here shoppers can hop on a refreshing Bay cruise touring the celebrity homes on Star Island! They can also board Big Bus Miami, featuring hop-on, hop-off tours of Miami (www.BigBusTours.com). New to Bayside Marketplace is Skyviews Miami – towering almost 200 feet offering unparalleled views of Biscayne Bay, Bayfront Park, and the iconic Downtown Miami skyline. There are 42 completely enclosed and climate-controlled Gondolas, including one VIP Gondola featuring leather bucket seats, a custom LED light show, and a glass bottom floor www.SkyViewsMiami.com. A fun experience for the whole family.
Mary Brickell Village ( www.MaryBrickellVillage.com) in the heart of downtown Brickell’s financial district offers eclectic boutiques as well as several beauty bars and accessory shops. This dining Mecca includes hip eateries offering tastes from around the world, such as Raw Juice, Baru Latin Bar, Balan’s and Shake Shack to name a few. CocoWalk (www.Cocowalk.com) is where the Grove meet to share moments together. It is a perfect complement to the indie boutiques, galleries and cafes that line the streets of artsy Coconut Grove. Cocowalk offers Planta Queen, a delicious plant-based restaurant offering sophisticated cocktails and unbelievable Japanese inspired food. New to the scene is Cinepolis, a lux movie theater concept offering reserved recliners, scratch kitchen dining, service on demand at the push of a button, delicious cocktails, and movies, all with cutting edge projection and sound.