By: Kara Franker
An insider's guide to luxury shopping in Miami.
In Miami, shopping isn’t just a pastime, it’s a sport. While some are in it for the hunt and to find the best deals, others want the ultimate star-treatment from the high-end fashion brands. If you want to pay to play in the big leagues, then these shopping districts are where you should start.
Bal Harbour Shops: An Open-Air Shopping Center North of Miami Beach
Developer Stanley Whitman opened Florida’s first high-end shopping center in 1965 and the Bal Harbour Shops have been one of the country’s leading luxury retail centers ever since. It’s also one of the exclusive locales that many famous European brands chose to open their first stores outside of New York.
Located on a barrier island just north of Miami Beach, Bal Harbour Shops is a far cry from your average, over-crowded mall experience. It’s an al fresco, three-story shopping center featuring whimsical public art displays, lush tropical landscaping and koi ponds — giving the property a Zen-like vibe.
Anchored by luxury department stores Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, you won’t find any run-of-the-mill brands here, only high-end heavy hitters. The current store roster includes the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Tiffany & Co., Versace and more.
The shopping center is adding 250,000 square feet of retail space, which will include up to 40 new brand-name stores. And with the collection of Forbes rated five-star luxury hotels nearby (like The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort and Acqualina Resort & Spa) the Bal Harbour Shops continues to be one of Miami’s ultimate luxe shopping destinations.
Bal Harbour Shops is located at 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour, FL 33154. Most of the shops are open from Mon. - Sat. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sun. noon to 6 p.m.
Miami Design District: An Artsy Neighborhood Near Downtown
Located less than three miles from Downtown Miami, the Design District has become a glamorous international luxury shopping destination in just a few short years. The Design District is not a mall, it’s a neighborhood; think New York’s Soho or Melrose Drive in Los Angeles.
A massive undertaking inside Miami’s urban core, the Design District is a work in progress and new stores are constantly moving in. But don’t let that stop you from shopping some of the world’s most esteemed luxury brands.
As new buildings are constructed and historic structures are given new life, high-end fashion brands are flocking to the area famous for it’s innovative art, design and construction. Today you’ll find stores like Hermès, Christian Louboutin, Marni, Maison Martin Margiela, En Avance, Cartier, Céline, Louis Vuitton, Dior Homme and Prada — with many more preparing to move into the neighborhood.
Led by local developer Craig Robins, the transformation of the Design District is far from finished. Around 100 new stores have plans to open over the next two years. And before it’s all done, there will be a 30-foot-wide pedestrian mall running north and south from 38th to 42nd streets, public art pieces, more than 300 native Florida trees planted and some of the best people-watching this city has ever seen.
The Miami Design District is located at 3841 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33137. Stores are typically open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
More Shopping Districts You Don’t Want to Miss
While the following three shopping areas aren’t strictly centered around luxury retailers, they do have their fair share of upscale stores and offer a taste of the luxe shopping experience.
Offering more of a classic shopping mall experience, Aventura Mall is ranked as one of the most-visited retail destinations in America. The mall is anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Macy’s, and features luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Burberry, REDValentino, Philipp Plein, Sandro, Emilio Pucci, Tiffany & Co. and more. To further expand its retail offering, Aventura Mall will undergo a significant expansion that will include a new three-level, 241,000-square-foot retail wing and parking garage.
Miami's iconic shopping mall, Dadeland Mall features an upscale retail mix with world class dining. Anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, and Nordstrom, Dadeland Mall brings top luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, BOSS Hugo Boss, Cartier, Rolex, Mont Blanc, Porsche Design and more. Shoppers with refined tastes can also enjoy complimentary personal shopping services, convenient valet parking and concierge package service.
Pedestrian-friendly Lincoln Road intersects with bustling Collins Avenue and both streets are just steps from the glistening white-sands of South Beach and a famous stretch of hotels that line the Atlantic Ocean. While you won’t find quite as many super luxe retailers here, you’ll find a nice mix, including a few high-end boutiques like the Kardashian’s DASH store, Intermix, Alchemist, as well as upscale brands like Armani and BCBG Max Azria.
Anchored by Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, the Shops at Merrick Park is an open-air shopping center featuring Mediterranean-inspired architecture, beautiful natural landscaping and outdoor fountains in the center of the complex. There’s a mix of classic and high-end retailers, including Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade New York, Tiffany & Co. and more.
As Miami continues to expand it’s international shopping destination status, we invite you to come visit and, of course, shop ‘till you drop.
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