Americans are energetic shoppers and Miami has several retail arenas where you can see them in action – or plunge into the fray yourself. A few hours in an air-conditioned mall is the natural antidote to sun bathing on South Beach. You’ll find all the big retail names in Miami, plus some grungier clothing shops and street stalls.
You will need to be a passionate shopper to take the long journey out to Miami’s most famous mall – hop on a bus if you want to avoid a hefty taxi fare. The upside is that Aventura Mall has everything that the modern global citizen could possible desire – from the latest electronics and computer games to designer threads like Burberry and Ted Baker, a 24 screen Cineplex and a range of cafes, food stalls and upscale restaurants.
Books & Books
After a few hours pounding along Miami Beach or diving into the surf there’s nothing better than a quiet browse in this literary Aladdin’s Cave on Lincoln Road. The company has other outlets in Coral Gables, Bal Harbour and Miami Airport, so you’ll soon become familiar with the name. The crowded bookshop specializes in art, design, architecture and fashion titles, but you’ll also find a good range of modern American fiction and plenty of magazines.
Lincoln Road Mall
Apart from the endless pavement cafes and more up-market eateries, this busy thoroughfare also plays host to a good selection of fashion boutiques (think Armani, H&M, Lacoste), shoe stores and bikini shops. The shabbier end, closest to the beach, is also good for cheap electronics, pre-paid mobile phones and gaudy souvenirs.
Mix your retail therapy with a cruise, a fish supper and a happy hour cocktail at this laid-back shopping precinct overlooking the marina in Downtown. Better known for its waterfront bars and restaurants the complex also houses some big brand stores, such as Gap, alongside discount outlets selling sporting gear, electronics and shoes.
If you are looking for luxury brands such as Hermès, Christian Louboutin, Cartier, Céline, Louis Vuitton, Dior Homme and Prada then all roads lead this fast-changing neighbourhood, located near Downtown. New stores are constantly opening and there are ambitious plans to transform the Design District into a retail giant to outshine both Aventura Mall and Lincoln Road Mall.
Bal Harbour Shops
Bal Harbour has defined exclusive shopping in Miami since it first opened in 1965. Unlike today’s giant shopping malls, this one is relatively compact, and was designed to be open-air and lushly landscaped. Today the mall houses most of the familiar luxury brands, such as Dolce & Gabbana, Zegna and Versace, plus some more contemporary design labels and pop up fashion stores.