Each day, planes land at the airports around South Florida carrying domestic and international visitors. Most of their suitcases have the usual accoutrements—swimsuits, sandals, sunglasses and sun dresses—but there is also a group of travelers who come to the Miami area with extra, empty suitcases. Today, Miami has become a hot travel destination for the international jet set, who fly in to shop their way through the city before they ever wind down on Miami's beaches. The draw is Miami's density of boutique destinations and fashionable shopping malls, carrying hot brands like Michael Kors, Prada, Gucci, Coach and even Apple.
Here’s our essential guide to South Florida's top shopping malls for travelers:
Known as one of Miami’s premier fashion destinations and named one of America’s most visited shopping centers by Travel + Leisure magazine, this shopping center features a collection of upscale boutiques and more than 300 retailers. Anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Macy’s, the shopping center includes a magnificent, two-story flagship Louis Vuitton, as well as Cartier, Burberry, REDValentino, Breitling and Philipp Plein. For shoppers seeking some of the world’s more popular retailers, Aventura Mall provides access to Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, Michael Kors, Forever XXI, H&M and other favorites. Aventura Mall visitors also enjoy nearly a dozen restaurants, an artist-designed interactive playground, a 24-screen AMC Movie Theatre with IMAX and a taste of South Florida’s thriving arts scene with Turnberry for the Arts, which features contemporary installations by renowned international and local artists throughout the mall. Located at 19501 Biscayne Blvd., the mall is open Mon-Sat, 10 am to 9:30 pm, and Sun, noon to 8 pm. 19501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura, 305.935.1110
Bal Harbour Shops
Known worldwide for its ambience and luxury, this two-story, open-air mall offers shoppers a tropical setting with gardens and outdoor cafes. Bal Harbour Shops are home to some of the world’s finest stores including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Brioni, Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg, David Yurman, Prada, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Tourneau and Versace. The mall also offers a variety of events year-round at its upscale stores and boutiques. Mall hours are Mon-Sat, 10 am-9 pm, and Sun, noon-6 pm. 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour, 305.866.0311
Sawgrass Mills is the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in the United States with more than 350 stores including outlets by Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike, Gap, Calvin Klein, Guess and Disney Character Warehouse, plus such luxury outlet stores as Prada, Michael Kors, Coach, Tumi, Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss. There’s something for the whole family to enjoy with IMAX movies, children’s rock climbing, a carousel, two food courts and seven sit-down restaurants, including The Cheesecake Factory and Johnny Rockets. The mall also features The Colonnade Outlets, a selection of upscale stores that include Coach Factory, Juicy Couture, Tory Burch and Michael Kors. Sawgrass Mills is open Mon-Sat, 10 am-9:30 pm, and Sun, 11 am-6 pm. 12801 West Sunrise Blvd., Sunrise, 954.846.2350
Dolphin Mall is known as Miami-Dade County’s largest retail-value shopping center, blending the hottest concepts in theme entertainment and dining with an offering of more than 240 stores. Diverse dining and entertainment options include a food court, various entertainment venues such as CinéBistro, Dave & Busters and Strike Miami, and several restaurants, including Texas De Brazil, Taverna Opa and Mojitos Cuban Cuisine. 11401 NW 12th Street, Miami, 305.365.7446