In Miami, when shopportunity knocks, you head outside and flex your retail muscles. Al fresco shopping in Miami is a Vitamin D-rich experience mixing sultry, sexy city heat and air conditioning. While Miami has some of the country’s most epic indoor malls, what follows is a short and sweet guide to getting your retail therapy in the great outdoors. These three places offer excellent sights, sounds, scenery, and, of course, buys—lots of excellent buys.
Miami Design District
At last, the Miami Design District, once a sleepy hub of interior design, has embraced its name on a different level, transforming into an urban atelier featuring the who’s who of high-end couture. The list of tenants reads like an issue of Women’s Wear Daily or GQ, a boldfaced beacon of ready-to-wear wonderment. Basically, the Design District is a name dropper’s delight. Whether you’re window shopping or actually purchasing things, you can delight in the juxtaposition of urban grit and utter glamour, not to mention a slew of stellar restaurants—MC Kitchen, Harry’s Pizzeria, Michael’s Genuine, The District—where you can swap stories from the front lines of fashion.
While the Design District is the ballroom-ready grande dame, Wynwood is the hipster with the ironic facial hair. There’s a layer of grit here that makes the Design District seem Swarovski-plated, but this is where to go to find the next big thing—or at least a T-shirt featuring some cool street art. After marveling at the graffiti on Wynwood Walls, you can examine the price tags on scupltures (that don’t incorporate silicone, saline, or Botox) in one of the area’s galleries. Or you can find limited-edition jeans at places like 1 of K Denim, a dress that an US Weekly regular hasn’t worn yet at MVM Miami, or even a chair that looks too pretty to sit on at Elemental. Whether you took a skateboard or Uber there, make sure to refuel with a caffeine jolt at Panther Coffee before heading out for the impending art walk and a stop at Gramps that night.
Lincoln Road Mall
Whereas the two previous shopping spots may offer the occasional whiff of scooter fumes or construction dust, Lincoln Road Mall provides an ocean breeze and a motor-vehicle-free al fresco shopping experience. Yes, the names may be found in Peoria, but the sights are #onlyinMiami, as drag queens in stilettos sashay past young families pushing strollers. Here, the H&M resides in a former concert hall, and one of the city’s most popular cafés is now full of yogis stocking up on Lululemon. Fear not, there’s still plenty of places to grab a tea, or a beer, or even a paperback at an annex of the city’s best indie bookstore, Books & Books. The Lincoln Road Mall is a people watcher’s, sun worshipper’s paradise, and one that will having you swearing off malls with actual roofs forever.