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By: Terry Galvin

Shopping destinations in Greater Miami & Miami Beach offer far more than bikinis and haute couture – they also offer a warm welcome to all visitors, including those with mobility challenges and other disabilities. Miami offers thousands of retailers: big and small, with local, national and international brands. Here are a few of Miami’s major retail centers, with information about their barrier-free features.

Bayside Marketplace, Downtown Miami

Bayside Marketplace – on Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami near PortMiami, the FTX Arena and an adjoining marina – has one of the most enviable locations of any shopping center in the world. It’s not surprising, then, that Bayside Marketplace’s waterfront retail spaces offer fishing charters and boat rentals, as well as casual and resort clothing stores.

Designed by Benjamin Thompson (a co-founder of the Architects Collaborative) and opened in 1987, Bayside Marketplace has a casual open-air structure. Elevators reach its second floor, and two van-accessible parking spaces are available on the south service road in front of the property.

The signature attraction at Bayside Marketplace is Skyviews Miami, a large wheelchair-accessible observation wheel with air-conditioned gondolas. Skyviews Miami offers 12- to 15-minute rides that take visitors nearly 180 feet in the air. The gondolas are wheelchair accessible, but people with power chairs must transfer to a manual wheelchair (available on request).

Brickell City Centre Interior
Find four floors of shops and a helpful concierge and security team, ready to accommodate special needs at Brickell City Centre

Brickell City Centre, Downtown Miami

Brickell City Centre, completed in 2016, is one of the newest shopping destinations in Miami. Part of a development that includes two residential towers, two mid-rise office buildings and a hotel, the four-level luxury mall covers three city blocks.

Designed by the Miami-based international architectural firm Arquitectonica, the center is crowned by what developer Swire Properties calls a Climate Ribbon, an undulating glass-and-steel trellis that spans 150,000 square feet and connects every part of the open-air mall.

Brickell City Centre is anchored by a 107,000-square-foot Saks Fifth Avenue and a CMX luxury movie theater that offers high-end drinks and chef cuisine served at your leather movie seat. Retailers at Brickell City Centre will clothe you head to toe and accessorize and equip you until you glitter. Stores run the gamut from an Apple Store and Swiss luxury brand Bally to the globe-spanning, stylish-but-affordable Zara.

The concierge and the center’s security teams are available to escort anyone who needs to take a break from the hustle and bustle and relax in the quiet, back-of-house office spaces, and they are happy to accommodate other special needs.

ADA-compliant restrooms are on Level 2 of each of the center’s three retail blocks. Visitors may borrow a complimentary manual wheelchair at the retail concierge on Level 2 of the East Block.

Brickell City Centre operates 17 elevators, plus one dedicated to the Metromover station on Level 3. Metromover, a free, elevated, light-rail service that has many accessible features, also has a street-level entrance.

Dadeland Main Entrance
Enter Dadeland's main entrance with the push of a button

Dadeland Mall, Kendall

Opened in 1962, Dadeland Mall in Kendall has been expanded and remodeled several times. Today, the mall covers 1.5 million square feet and its anchors are an Apple Store, Florida’s largest Macy’s, a Macy’s Home Gallery & Kids and a Saks Fifth Avenue. It has more than 150 stores and restaurants, plus a new AC Hotel.

Accessible parking spots are available near all major entrances in every parking garage and surface lot. Elevators reach the upper level of the garage and those parts of the mall that are more than one story. All elevator controls have Braille.

Getting into the mall is eased by push buttons for doors at the main entrance and at the entrances through JCPenney and Macy’s Fashion. Other entrances, such as those leading to the dining pavilion and dining terrace, have automatic sliding doors.

All restrooms have wheelchair-accessible stalls. Borrow a complimentary manual wheelchair Monday through Friday during office hours at the Mall Management Office, or call the security team at 305-665-6227.

Fifth & Alton, Miami Beach

This enclosed, seven-story mall helps keep people who live in or are staying in Miami Beach from having to cross over the causeway to the mainland for essentials. Anchored by a Publix Supermarket, Fifth & Alton (located at the corner of Fifth Street and Alton Road) also has Ross Dress For Less, TJ Maxx, Petco, Total Wine & More and Best Buy.

Although its footprint isn’t huge, Fifth & Alton has seven elevators divided between 5th and 6th streets. The elevators provide access to the three levels of stores from the street or from the center’s six parking garage levels, which have spaces reserved for people with disabilities. The center has no common-area bathrooms, but retailer bathrooms are all ADA-compliant.

The center, completed in 2009, is currently undergoing a four-year upgrade project that includes plans to add Braille to the elevator controls.

Lincoln Road daytime
Spend a day exploring Lincoln Road

Lincoln Road Shopping District, Miami Beach

Lincoln Road is a half-mile pedestrian-only street lined with more than 60 shops and restaurants. Its 10 landscaped blocks are filled with gardens and sculptures. The section of Lincoln Road that became the mall was closed to traffic in 1960, but it was envisioned as a unified shopping district even earlier. It was redesigned in the 1950s by renowned Miami Beach architect Morris Lapidus, pioneer of the Miami Modern style.

Shoppers who have mobility challenges or other disabilities might expect Lincoln Road to be an obstacle course, but the City of Miami Beach has long pursued a program of accessibility, ensuring that pavers are smooth and curb ramps are ubiquitous. Crosswalks have audible cues, and accessible parking spaces are free whether they are on the nearby streets, surface lots or garages.

Merrick sculpture
Discover three levels of shops and borrow a complimentary wheelchair at The Shops at Merrick Park

The Shops at Merrick Park, Coral Gables

The Shops at Merrick Park has Mediterranean design touches that help it blend in with the architecture of Coral Gables. The open-air shopping center, which opened in 2002, wraps around a beautifully manicured courtyard.

The three-level mall has elevators in four convenient locations. It has an on-site, multi-level parking garage. Call the security team at 305-529-1238 to request a complimentary loaner wheelchair wherever needed on the property.

The 90 stores and restaurants at The Shops at Merrick Park are generally upscale. Anchors are Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. The shops include a number of smaller boutiques. National fashion brands include Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Chico’s, Gymboree, J. Crew, Lilly Pulitzer, Tommy Bahama, Victoria’s Secret and White House Black Market. On the more luxe end of the scale, you’ll find Carolina Herrera, Gucci, Hugo Boss and Jimmy Choo.

Shops at Midtown Miami, Wynwood/Miami Design District

The Shops at Midtown Miami, part of a 26-acre development, is an outdoor shopping area located between the Wynwood Arts District and the Miami Design District. Built in 2007, the center features such value-oriented retailers as Target, Nordstrom Rack, HomeGoods, a GUESS Factory Store, Marshalls and Ross.

Accessible parking spaces include dedicated spots on the parking deck and near a green space by the Negroni Bistro & Sushi Bar. The center has elevators in front of Target, one by Party City and one on North Miami Avenue, to ensure everyone can reach the second floor of its buildings.

Miami-Dade County’s Metrobus service has a stop within the property near Target and the Carter’s Babies and Kids store.

Read more about all of Greater Miami & Miami Beach’s shopping scene.

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