By Angela Caraway-Carlton
Searching for what’s hot for the holidays for him, for her, and for them? Whether you enjoy power shopping through a traditional mall on Black Friday, scooping up deals at an outlet shopping center, or prefer supporting local boutiques and even museum gift shops, Greater Fort Lauderdale has a shopping spot to mark off everyone on your holiday list. Plus, when you’re done gift shopping, you can hit our beautiful beaches to recover.
If your idea of holiday shopping means scouring the stores of a traditional mall, fire up your credit card at The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale, located minutes from the airport, port, and beaches, and packed with more than 100 stores. Flanked by towering reindeer and decked out in festive decor, the longtime shopping mall will instantly get you into the holiday spirit. Navigate two floors to find high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus, anchor stores such as Macy’s and Dillard’s, along with other popular stores like H&M, Free People, Apple, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Michael Kors, Sephora, and home store Williams-Sonoma. When you need to refuel with caffeine, make a pit stop at the Starbucks inside Macy’s, or regroup with a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants including the new Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants, which also offers an array of gifts for the wine lover in your life. Treat yourself at Mynd Spa & Salon, where you can pick up a spa gift certificate to pamper that person who has everything.
Those looking to score serious deals should head to Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in the United States. Slip on a pair of comfortable shoes and plot a course through the maze of 350 stores and outlets, which includes a mix of high-low retailers from Forever 21 to Saks OFF 5TH. The Colonnade Outlets boast luxury retailers like Neiman Marcus Last Call, Jimmy Choo, Versace, and Maje, along with an array of restaurants. A huge new parking lot will make parking a breeze, and to cut down on extra walking, free shuttles will drop shoppers off at various main entrances. Multilingual “mall ambassadors” will assist with finding a particular store or reveal the best shopping deals of the day.
Move on to the always-bustling Las Olas Boulevard, where you’ll find a broad mix of stores from Lilly Pulitzer, Tommy Bahama, and cosmetics-mecca Bluemercury to locally owned boutiques such as Moda Mario, Elektrik Boutique, and Carroll’s Jewelers. Indulge in a chocolate lover’s dream at Hoffman’s Chocolate, which always has sweet gifts. Take a shopping break at Ann’s Florist, a florist/coffee shop/wine bar/gift boutique, for a coffee and a plate of macarons, and then wander their well-curated gift shop fitted with a Champagne vending machine meant for celebrating a successful shopping day.
If your attitude is geared toward shopping small, Fort Lauderdale is sprinkled with locally owned boutiques like Etiquette Boutique with two locations, Briny, and Lilac and Lilies, where you’ll find all the latest trends in women’s clothing and accessories; or pop into La Vie En Blanc, a lifestyle boutique that’s filled with one-of-a-kind furnishings, home gifts, and European clothing and accessories. More boutiques that cater to our year-round sunny vibe can be found in the beachy-chic neighborhood of North Beach Village, like the Turquoise Turtle for breezy sundresses, denim, jewelry, and cute gifts.
Looking for a special present for that person who has everything? Peruse the gift shops at the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, NSU Art Museum, and Stranahan House for books, handcrafted items, and unique baubles that you won’t find anywhere else; or you can give the gift of the arts with tickets to a show at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. And, if you’re staying at one of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s chic resorts, make it easy and stop by the gift shop or spas for something that will keep you in a vacation state of mind during the hectic holidays.