July 20, 2009
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A World-Class Destination for Shopping
Orlando is world famous for its theme parks, but one of the most popular “themes” among central Florida tourists is shopping. In fact, international tourists cite shopping as their number-one travel activity, while domestic visitors rate it fourth on their vacation “to-do” list—and Orlando is ready to oblige.
Within a 15-mile radius, visitors can not only enjoy seven of the world’s top theme parks, but also 12 shopping malls and factory outlet centers.
Fashionistas will find the world’s most sought-after brands including Burberry, Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, and about 100 other designer brands. They’ll also find major department stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macy’s, along with numerous trendy, independently owned boutiques. In all, Orlando’s shopping offerings are vast enough to fill 900 American football fields.
With luxury malls and factory outlet stores, unique boutiques, theme park stores, museum and art gallery shops, antique stores, and farmers markets, Orlando offers visitors a wealth of shopping options like nowhere else in the world.
Orlando is home to numerous world-class malls, which in total offer shoppers more than 1,000 stores, restaurants, and movie theaters, as well as countless opportunities for fun.
The Mall at Millenia is the area’s most upscale mall, with more than 150 stores and restaurants. Located off I-4 at Conroy Road. High-tech LED screens perched 35 feet high provide views straight from the runways of New York, Paris, and Milan. Mall highlights include Tiffany & Co.; the Sanrio store, home of Hello Kitty; The Apple Store; and The Cheesecake Factory.
The Florida Mall has more than 250 stores and restaurants, making it central Florida’s largest mall. In addition to stores including M&Ms World, Sephora, MAC Cosmetics, and Louis Vuitton, this mall hosts the “Flowrider,” an indoor surfing tank at Adrenalina: The Extreme Store. Dining options include Buca di Beppo.
Festival Bay Mall at International Drive—located at the north end of International Drive, just off I-4—features 80 stores and restaurants and four entertainment venues. In addition to the shopping at Sheplers Western Ware and Ron Jon Surf shop, the options include a visit to Bass Outdoor World, with a 17,000-gallon aquarium; the skateboarders’ ramps, bowls, and street courses at Vans Skate Park; and Putting Edge Fun Center, an indoor glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course.
Pointe Orlando, a recently redeveloped collection of more than 40 stores, restaurants, and entertainment options lies in the heart of the attractions area, on International Drive across from the Orange County Convention Center. Visitors can check out first-run blockbuster movies on a giant IMAX screen; try out new skincare products at the “testing hub” at Kiehl’s; sample one of 120 wines by the glass at The Grape; or design a rollercoaster—and ride it—at WonderWorks.
Other shopping malls in the Orlando area include the Altamonte Mall, Orlando Fashion Square, Osceola Square Mall, Oviedo Marketplace, Seminole Towne Center, and West Oaks Mall.
Factory Outlet Shopping
The area’s many outlet malls offer some of the best deals, along with the best fun.
Prime Outlets International Orlando, on International Drive near Universal Orlando Resort, is the area’s newest outlet mall and he largest outlet shopping destination in the southeast, with 175 stores. Its roster of stores includes the only Baccarat/Lalique outlet in the world; the only Victoria’s Secret outlet in the southeastern U.S.; and the only 7 for All Mankind outlet, as well as Neiman Marcus Last Call Clearance Center and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH.
The newly expanded Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineland Avenue, near the intersection of I-4 and State Road 535, offers 150 upscale outlet stores and dining. Author and nationally known fashion stylist Jackie Walker is available by appointment for personal consultations. The mall boasts one of only three Dior outlets in the world; the Frette outlet, featuring high-end Italian linens; a Burberry outlet; the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory; and a Mediterranean-themed children’s playground.
Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park, often called “The Rodeo Drive of the east,” is home to more than 140 stores, boutiques, salons, galleries, and restaurants. In addition to finding unusual fashions and crafts from around the world, visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch in the rose garden at Central Park.
Thornton Park, east of downtown Orlando, is an eclectic neighborhood and a favorite of locals. It centers around East Central Boulevard and North Summerlin Avenue. Urban Think! Bookstore showcases Florida authors and organic vegetarian food, while Marie-France stocks vintage-inspired jewelry and 150 styles of footwear at Marie-France and Fifi’s serves artwork-inspired cupcakes.
Market Street in Celebration, developed by The Disney Company as the ideal American neighborhood, Celebration features a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment set along a picturesque waterfront. It’s located near the entrance of Walt Disney World Resort, minutes from I-4 and Hwy. 192 (W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Parkway).
Baldwin Park mixes small-town appeal with sophisticated shopping, dining, and entertainment just off State Road 50 (Colonial Drive), minutes from downtown Orlando.
Theme Park Shops
Downtown Disney Marketplace and Downtown Disney West Side are part of the Walt Disney World Resort, featuring unique shops, restaurants, nightlife, and entertainment options in the magical Disney tradition.
Universal Orlando CityWalk is where shopping, dining, nightlife, and entertainment all centrally located at the Universal Orlando Resort. Located off I-4, exit 75A/B.
The Waterfront at SeaWorld Orlando provides a break from rides, shows, and games with nautical-themed shops. Located inside SeaWorld Orlando, International Drive, near the intersection of I-4 and State Road 528.
The Space Shop at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the world’s largest store devoted entirely to space memorabilia, with more than 8,000 items on two levels. It’s in Brevard County on State Road 405, east of I-95.
Museum Gift Shops
Get in some shopping time while enriching your mind at some of the area’s many cultural attractions. They offer original art and jewelry, as well as unique toys, books, and collectibles that shoppers won’t find elsewhere.
Orange County Regional History Center Emporium—although it offers toys, books, and collectibles, the emporium is best known for its citrus-themed products and “Florida kitsch,” a collection of humorous gifts unique to the Sunshine State.
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Art features exclusive merchandise derived from the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, including jewelry, textiles, stained glass panels, and vases, as well as a selection of decorative arts that extend beyond the Tiffany influence.
Orlando Museum of Art setts merchandise that reflects the content of permanent and traveling exhibitions, offering visitors unique and hard-to-find mementos such as books, jewelry, prints, and toys.
Q Gallery, CityArts Factory, features commercial and resident work by local, national, and international artists.
Grand Bohemian Gallery offers original paintings, jewelry, and sculptures by more than 30 nationally and internationally renowned artists.
Antiquing and Flea Markets
Shoppers who enjoy the thrill of the hunt as much as the final product will enjoy the area’s antique shops and flea markets, including:
Orlando’s Antique Row, a variety of antique shops and gift shops located on Orange Avenue near downtown Orlando.
Lake Ivanhoe Village, providing antiques, clothing, and gift shops along Ivanhoe Boulevard, north of downtown Orlando.
First Street, downtown Sanford, located just 30 minutes north of downtown Orlando along I-4.
Flea World, America’s largest flea market, is located on 17-92 between Orlando and Sanford.
Mount Dora, which features Renninger’s Twin Markets, is open on weekends, and located 30 minutes west of Sanford on more than 110 acres of rolling hills.