Living in Miami
The greater Miami area is absolutely huge; it can take well over an hour driving from one end to the other. There are 36 municipalities all butting up against one another, each with their own little subtleties. As many travelers or potential residents likely know, Miami is prime real estate, particularly in areas like Southern Miami where the shopping is hard to beat. There’s a lot to see, especially if you don’t mind driving a bit to the good places. Here are some of the best of them.
Village at Merrick Park – http://www.villageofmerrickpark.com/
The first thing you need to know about Miami, regardless of what you want to do there, is roughly 70% of people speak Spanish. Learning at least some basic things will aid you greatly, even in the shopping world. And Miami has a big, spread out shopping scene. Most of the nicer areas are south of Flagler Street (the dividing line between Northern and Southern Miami) and some of the best are concentrated around the University of Miami in the Coral Gables/ South Miami Area.
The Village at Merrick Park is an excellent, albeit high-end shopping area. It is outdoors and features stores like Tiffany, Cole Haan, Banana Republic, Louis Vuitton, etc. If you can afford to spend some money, it’s a beautiful outdoor mall with a nice fountain in the middle.
I would probably go here sparingly, minus a sale, between the months of May and August, it’s just so flaming hot you’ll sweat just walking from store to store. Thankfully, these retailers are high-end and keep the temperature near arctic levels in the summer so it’s at least refreshing. It also sports a parking garage so your car won’t turn into a sauna while you park.
Lincoln Road – http://lincolnroadmall.com/
It would be a sin to mention shopping without going into some detail about Lincoln Road. The buzz word here is unique shops; plus it’s on South Beach. Well, not all of them but you will see some stores here that are tough to find elsewhere. You can blaze through Lucky Brand, Vogue Italia, Anthropologie, and a deluge of cosmetics shops. Along with the small, local shops are your standard, Macy’s, Lids, Gap and the like if you prefer. You can start up by Alton Road, west of the beach and walk down to South Beach to get your feet wet after you finish shopping. There are even some restaurants or hookah bars on the way also to take a break.
Aventura Mall – http://www.aventuramall.com/
This one is one of the most highly rated shopping areas nationally and for good reason. I also had to mention an inside mall since the previous two were outside affairs. You can find this complex North of South Beach over the causeway (South Beach and the northern shoreline are on a small island-like piece of land just offshore) so it will take you about 40 minutes to get there if you live South of Flagler, possibly longer with traffic.
The scene is gorgeous, however, but also quite busy. Tons of great stores like Brooks Brothers, Cartier, Tag Heuer, True Religion and other niche brands.
The food court is even nice and dispenses with most of your standard fast food to instead incorporate places like Five Guys, Ruby Thai Kitchen or Tony Roma’s.
There’s plenty of parking available also, though you’ll have to walk on a weekend or around the holidays and the restaurants get absolutely packed at mealtimes. People will wait over an hour at least around peak times for a place like Cheesecake Factory at this mall.
There’s a lot of shopping to be done in Miami and this really only scratches the surface. There are other fantastic malls like Dadeland, the Falls or Dolphin Mall out west. You need not to worry about the availability of great products if you’re looking to relocate to the Miami area. Though it’s big, the places you can go are pretty spread out.