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Florida Shopping and nightlife

Shopping in Florida

As many a Latin American or European tourist knows, Florida is a shopper’s paradise. In Miami, for funky, urban kitsch, hit downtown Miami's main shopping areas Flagler Street, between Biscayne Bay and Miami Avenue, or Biscayne Boulevard, between Flagler Street and north to 16th Street. The Bayside Marketplace (www.baysidemarketplace.com), along Miami's downtown waterfront, offers live entertainment as well as a mix of retail shops and art and craft stalls. Upscale furnishings and art can be found in the Design District (www.miamidesigndistrict.net), just north of the centre. Luxury and designer shops can be found at Village of Merrick Park (www.villageofmerrickpark.com) or in downtown Coral Gables, south of Miami. Dolphin Mall (www.shopdolphinmall.com), on the city's western extremity, is a large outlet mall popular for its close proximity to the airport.

Other South Florida shopping options include pedestrian-friendly Lincoln Road Mall (www.lincolnroadmall.com) on Miami Beach, with stylish clothiers and an Apple store. Just north of Miami Beach, über-luxe shopping centre Bal Harbour Shops (www.balharbourshops.com) houses one of the area’s two Tiffany & Co. locations. World-famous Sawgrass Mills Factory Outlet Mall (www.sawgrassmills.com) is located in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Sunrise and many boutiques can be found near the waterfront on Las Olas Boulevard (www.lasolasboulevard.com). Upscale shoppers in Palm Beach head to Worth Avenue (www.worth-avenue.com), the Rodeo Drive of the east coast.

Shoppers in Orlando can take advantage of a vast range of retail outlets from factory outlet malls such as Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores (www.lbvfs.com) to designer malls such as Orlando Premium Outlets (www.premiumoutlets.com) and the Mall at Millenia (www.mallatmillenia.com). Meanwhile, Tampa’s Hyde Park Village (www.hydeparkvillage.net) offers a unique combination of upscale and local boutiques set amidst restored 19th century mansions and bungalows.

Shopping hours

Main shopping hours are Mon-Sat 1000-2100 and Sun 1200-1800; check individual stores for specific hours.

Nightlife in Florida

Miami’s always-raucous nightlife scene starts early and ends late. Downtown Miami is home to warehouse-sized mega clubs where the party continues until almost noon. The Coconut Grove area, with its trendy nightclubs and cocktail bars, offers a swinging nightlife both inside the clubs and on the streets where many people just come for a stroll, in order to be where the action is. Glamorous South Beach pulses with salsa and electro from trendy dance clubs along Washington Avenue and swanky hotel bars on Ocean Drive, with the hip crowd spilling onto the streets and cruising the boulevards. South Beach is also home to several of the city’s legendary gay and lesbian clubs.

Unique to Orlando, both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando have built high-energy, night-time entertainment complexes to pull in the adults while the kiddies are asleep. Disney’s Pleasure Island (disneyworld.disney.go.com) and Universal CityWalk (www.universalorlando.com) both feature themed nightclubs, stage shows and live concerts. Downtown Orlando’s Church Street Station has long been the go-to night spot for locals in the know. On the Gulf Coast, the best nightlife can be found in Ybor City (www.yborcityonline.com), Tampa's lively and historic Latin quarter. The action centres on Seventh Avenue, which closes to traffic at weekends to allow the party atmosphere to spill out on to the streets.

Note: Florida’s nightlife scene is largely limited to these three cities. Tallahassee offers collegiate night spots whilst Daytona Beach and Panama City are Spring Break meccas. Bars aside, quality nightlife options in the rest of the state are few and far between.

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