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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.

For funky, urban kitsch, hit downtown Miami's main shopping areas, which include Flagler Street and Biscayne Boulevard. The Bayside Marketplace (www.baysidemarketplace.com), along Miami's downtown waterfront, offers live entertainment, several retail shops as well as art and craft stalls. In the Design District (www.miamidesigndistrict.net), which is located just north of the city centre, upscale furnishings and art can be found. For luxury and designer stores, visit the Shops at Merrick Park (www.shopsatmerrickpark.com) located in downtown Coral Gables, south of Miami. And for a large outlet mall situated on the city's western extremity, visit Dolphin Mall (www.shopdolphinmall.com).

For other South Florida shopping options, check out the pedestrian-friendly Lincoln Road Mall (www.lincolnroadmall.com) located on Miami Beach. For Tiffany & Co and other luxury shops, visit Bal Harbour Shops (www.balharbourshops.com), which is situated just north of Miami beach. Las Olas Boulevard (www.lasolasboulevard.com), situated in the heart of Fort Lauderdale near the waterfront, is home to many boutiques. And the world-famous Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall (www.sawgrassmills.com) is located in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Sunrise. If you are ever in Palm Beach, head to Worth Avenue (www.worth-avenue.com), which is considered the Rodeo Drive of the east coast, for upscale and luxury shops.

In Orlando particularly, you can take advantage of the 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, Hyde Park Village (www.hydeparkvillage.net), in Tampa, offers a unique combination of upscale and local boutiques set amidst restored 19th century mansions and bungalows.

Shopping hours

The main shopping hours are Mon-Sat 1000 to 2100 and Sunday 1200 to 1800. However, you should check individual stores for specific hours.

Nightlife in Florida

Miami’s always-raucous nightlife scene starts early and ends late. Downtown Miami, especially, is home to warehouse-sized mega clubs where the party continues until almost noon. In South Beach, electro and salsa music can be clearly heard in 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 Universal Studios and Walt Disney World have built high-energy, night-time entertainment complexes to pull in the adults while the children are asleep. Universal CityWalk (www.universalorlando.com), for example, features themed nightclubs, stage shows and live concerts. 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 primarily on Seventh Avenue, which closes to traffic on 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: Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. 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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