There’s a lot more to buy in Orlando beside the gaudy t-shirts and cheap souvenirs you’ll find in the theme parks. In fact, for many foreign visitors, high-end shopping excursions are a big part of Orlando’s appeal.
The major upscale shopping destination is the Mall at Millenia (Exit 78 on I-4), a super-deluxe mall anchored by three major department stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus. Elsewhere among the more than 100 merchants you’ll find familiar names like Tiffany, Gucci, Burberry, Christian Dior, Kenneth Cole, Jimmy Choo, and Hugo Boss. There’s art, too, including the fine collectables at Lladro and Swarovski. When you’re ready for a break, fine dining at McCormick & Schmicks or the Brio Tuscan Grill beckons and when your shopping day is done you can unwind at the Blue Martini, which features live entertainment. The mall’s web site is www.mallatmillenia.com.
Another major shopping destination is the Florida Mall, Central Florida’s largest, at the intersection of Sand Lake Road and South Orange Blossom Trail. It is conveniently located between the airport and the major tourist districts, so don’t be surprised to see tour buses lined up outside. There are five major department stores here, including Nordstrom’s and Saks Fifth Avenue along with 250 other stores that run the gamut from Abercrombie & Fitch and Banana Republic to Victoria’s Secret and Zales Jewelers. There’s even a large shop devoted entirely to M&Ms candies! There’s no fine dining here, just a large food court.
For a more traditional, less frenzied shopping experience head for Park Avenue in Winter Park, just north of Orlando. Here, under the shade of moss-draped live oaks, you can stroll past upscale boutiques like the Golden Rabbit, Cody’s, John Craig, Nicole Miller and Patchington. There’s also an outpost of Williams Sonoma, as well as The Wine Room, which sells fine wines by the bottle and by the glass, using a state-of-the-art dispensing system, the only one of its kind in Florida. There are some terrific restaurants as well, including Chef Justin’s Park Plaza Gardens. At the end of the street is the gift shop of the Morse Museum.
Speaking of museums, don’t overlook the gift shops of museums listed in Chapter 15 as sources for one of a kind gifts for you or for that special someone. Even theme parks like SeaWorld and Discovery Cove offer some upscale items, usually art pieces, to lure the discriminating shopper.
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