Bazaar: Miami Shopping Guide

Miami is a shopper's heaven, with a dizzying variety of small boutiques, vintage shops, ethnic markets and internationally renowned designer shops.

Shopping information

image: KT Comer lounges in style on South Beach, Miami

KT Comer lounges in style on South Beach, Miami

Miami is a shopper’s heaven, with a dizzying variety of small boutiques, vintage shops, ethnic markets and internationally renowned designer shops. The city also offers the stunning South Beach, unique Art Deco district and some of the beautiful Florida landscapes only a short drive from the city. The year-round sunshine means that Miami natives are always sun-tanned and smiling!

Getting around

If you’re staying mostly in the South Beach, you’re best off on foot as most things in this area are within walking distance. Or you could do as the locals do, and get yourself a pair of roller-blades. The rest of Miami is spread out in areas like Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and North Miami. Local city buses run to most areas for a fare of about $1.25, but for the most flexibility it’s best to rent a car for your stay.

Opening Hours

In Miami you can truly shop all day and night, as most major shops and malls are open until 9pm, and some outlets have later opening hours on particular days up until 11pm. Miamians aren’t big on early mornings, and most shops don’t open until around 10 or 10.30am in the morning.

Payment

The currency is the US dollar, and major credit cards are accepted widely excluding street fairs and flea markets. Bank machines are also readily available for withdrawing money on your account at home. Some of the bigger shopping malls offer a discount card for tourists – be sure to ask at customer information when you arrive.

Markets

Espanola Way Market

Espanola Way is a unique Sunday event that takes place every weekend in the heart of the South Beach area. The market covers about three blocks of the tree-lined Espanola Way near Collins. There’s an eclectic array of arts and crafts from all over the world, as well as local artists and designers who make jewellery, accessories, and paintings. There are outdoor cafes and restaurants along the market and an amazing stall with tropical fresh fruit juices. It’s a great way to spend a relaxing Saturday or Sunday as a break from the beach.

Shops

Bal Harbour Shops

Fashion is big in Miami, and the city is home to a huge population of models, photographers and designers. Celebrities like J. Lo, Julio Iglesias, Gloria Estefan and Madonna have all had homes in the city’s Star Island, so it’s no surprise that Miami has some top-class designer shopping.

For some really exclusive boutiques, take a visit up north to Bal Harbour Shops. The atmosphere is refined and exquisite with palm trees and exotic water displays. Boutiques like Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Cartier and Saks Fifth Avenue all carry the latest and most exclusive items. As for the price range, well, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it! Bal Harbour has the distinction of being one of the richest shopping malls in the country.

KT Comer finds the perfect fit at Absolutely Suitable

Bal Harbour Shops
9700 Collins Avenue
Florida 33154

Absolutely Suitable

With the beach being one of Miami’s main attractions, the city also has one of the largest designer swimwear shops in the world. Absolutely Suitable on Collins houses a beautiful collection of men’s and women’s swimwear from exclusive designers. The best thing about the shop is owner/manager Eduardo Lora who will gently guide you to find the most flattering swimsuit to suit any body shape. The price tags are expensive, but well worth the quality and service that you receive.


Absolutely Suitable

Suite 2, 1560 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
Tel: 305 538 4361

Nikki Beach

The ultimate South Beach locale to show off your designer duds is Ocean Drive’s Nikki Beach. Nikki Beach is a bar, restaurant, beach, and clothing shop all rolled into one and it is where all of Miami’s young and beautiful people come together. By day, you can lounge on the sand in one of the luxurious beds or teepees, by night fire torches come out and the place becomes a lively club with DJs, music and fashion shows.

Nikki Beach
1 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach
Florida 33139


Furnishings: Interior Design District

To keep up that Miami style in the home, visit the Interior Design District – an 18-square block of design – and home to antique shops, art galleries, photography studios, and costume shops. The perfect place for browsing and finding a unique gift to take home, as well as seeing some cutting-edge designers. The most famous landmark of the area is The Living Room Building, a giant oversized outdoor living room which makes for a great photo opportunity.

Design Benedict has some interesting pieces from designers from South Africa, combining a contemporary feel with African influence. There are some fun and unique pieces, and many of the prices are affordable, considering you are getting specially designed pieces.

Design Benedict
54 NE 40th Street
Miami, Florida 33137
Tel: 305 576 6620
Fax: 305 576 6638
Raul Carrasco

A great local designer in the area is Raul Carrasco. Raul is tremendously talented and creative and his pieces are bold, chic with an earthy feel. He has provided specially designed pieces for a number of celebrity clients and interior designers.

Raul Carrasco
74 NE 40th Street
Miami, Florida 33137
Tel: 305 573 7889


Vintage clothing: C. Madeleine’s

For history buffs, drop into one of Miami’s largest vintage designer shops C. Madeleine’s. A walk through the boutique is like taking a trip through time, as owner Madeleine has used her impeccable taste to amass a beautiful collection of fashion through the ages. From the 1920s to the 1980s, C. Madeleine’s has everything from handbags, shoes, accessories and has become a favourite for celebrities like Lenny Kravitz and fashion stylists. You’ll be sure to pick up a special and unique buy here.

C. Madeleine’s
13702 Biscayne Boulevard
North Miami Beach, Florida 33181
Tel: 001 305-945-7770

 

Other places to visit

Art Deco District

image: KT Comer in a C Madeleine's dress hangs out in Miami's Art Deco district

KT Comer in a C Madeleine’s dress hangs out in Miami’s Art Deco district

Miami’s famous Art Deco District in South Beach is full of distinctive buildings done in the art deco style of the 1920s and 30s. The city owes it’s famous landmark to a hurricane that destroyed much of South Beach in the 1920s. As a result the new buildings that were put up at the time were done in the predominant style of the day – art deco, which originated in Paris. The facades have all been given a facelift and some interiors have been preserved.

A Miami landmark is Jerry’s Diner which is housed in an amazing art deco building. The diner is open 24 hours and has an astonishing 800 items on its menu, specialising in classic American fare from burgers, bagels and old-fashioned milkshakes.

Jerry’s Diner
1450 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
Tel: 305 532 8030

Galerie d’Arts Decoratifs

To find out more about real art deco from Europe, drop into the Galerie d’Arts Decoratifs. The gallery carries different shows with true art deco pieces from Europe and is definitely worth a look.

Galerie d’Arts Decoratifs
1630 Jefferson Avenue
Miami Beach
Florida 33139
Tel: 305 674 0123

Everglades Safari Park

For a break from the action of Miami and South Beach, take a trip out to the Florida Everglades. It’s only a 30-minute drive outside the city along the Tamiami Trail into the unique marshland, which is a national park. The best way to experience it is to take an air boat ride into the Everglades where you’ll be able to spot a wide variety of birds and of course the state’s famous alligators. Get your guide to teach you an alligator call to attract them! Failing that, you can always buy a real alligator head as a souvenir. But don’t worry, they come from farmed alligators, which are used for meat and are not endangered.

For the best air boat rides:

Everglades Safari Park
26700 SW 8th Street (Tamiami Trail)
Miami, Florida
Tel: 305 226 6923 Fax: 305 226 6923

 

Accommodation, travel & tourist information

Hotels

There is a whole host of interesting accommodation options in Miami, from the most stylish revamped art deco hotels to less expensive motels. One favourite is the Aqua Hotel and Lounge where ‘The Jetsons meets Jaws’. This hotel has all the Miami style without the pretension and it’s situated in a prime South Beach location minutes away from the beach, bars, and restaurants. The hotel is a favourite with international film crews and fashion shoots, so don’t be surprised to find a music video or fashion magazine shoot going on inside. It’s charming, international staff really pull out all the stops to make you feel at home and you’ll find the owner and designer Eric Gabriel behind the front desk (which is made out of a surfboard). The Aqua has great friendly and chilled vibe compared to the larger hotels in Miami and is good value for the location and atmosphere.

Aqua Hotel and Lounge
1530 collins Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
Tel: 305 538 4361 Fax: 305 673 8109

The Raleigh Hotel is worth a visit just to see it’s famous landmark swimming pool – an art deco classic.

Raleigh Hotel
1775 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
Tel: 305 534 6300

Travel

For good deals on hiring cars in Florida, try www.floridahirecar.com.
Tourist centres

For great information about events and general city information contact:

Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

701 Brickell Avenue, Suite 2700
Miami, Florida 33131
Tel: 305 539 3099

Guide by Bindu Mattur