From Schmatta Row to Sawgrass Mills
By Zipporah Sandler
It was a yearly tradition.
Our family would come to Miami Beach to stay with my grandmother. She'd cook our favorite pinwheel cookies, filled with lots of butter, cinnamon, and sugar, and while my brother was digging sandcastles and playing in the surf, the women would go off shopping.
We'd pile into the Cadillac and drive to what my grandmother lovingly called "Schmatta Row." Known also as Fashion Row, the bargain fashion district that ran down Hallandale Boulevard east of Dixie Highway was our "secret." For me, it always meant one-on-one time with my grandmother and at least a few dresses for back to school. Even back in the 1970's and 80's the shopping district provided off-priced shopping on everything from high-end designer labels to names I'd never heard before.
My love of shopping in South Florida hasn't waned, and while I no longer venture to Hallandale, I find myself at the mecca of all discount shopping often - Sawgrass Mills. With more than 400 stores and kiosks, Sawgrass offers an incredible array of brands, including Prada, Burberry, Gymboree – even a Ron Jon Surf Shop, and all at outlet pricing. I ventured back to the mall to see what was new, convincing myself that this was a work assignment for this post, which is sponsored by VISIT FLORIDA.
Sawgrass has become a major destination for shoppers from all over the world. You'll marvel at the number of people with suitcases rolling behind them, filled with bargains to carry back home.
Whether it's stealing a day for yourself while on vacation, or grabbing the girlfriends for a shopping getaway, I know of no better place to satisfy all sizes, styles, and types of shopping divas than Sawgrass Mills. My first inkling that this was "a thing" was came while I was visiting a Caribbean Island. The receptionist at the hotel regaled me with stories of flying to Fort Lauderdale from the island with her friends to shop twice a year.
If it's high-end designers at a discount that you're looking for, you'll find 40 exclusive outlets not found anywhere else in South Florida, also including, Diane von Furstenberg, GUCCI, Jimmy Choo, Salvatore Ferragamo Company Store, Tory Burch and Versace. I know moms who fly 1,700 miles from New England to do their children's back-to-school shopping at, O'Neill, The Children's Place Outlet and others.
If you’re driving, the mall is a mere 15 minutes from Fort Lauderdale and a little over half an hour from either Palm Beach or Miami. If you're staying at a hotel in the area, shuttle service to and from Sawgrass (Miami $30 roundtrip, Fort Lauderdale $25) is available from some hotels.
Where to Dine
There are nine sit-down (wait staffed) restaurants and more than 30 with counter-style service in the Colonnade courtyard, We tried and liked Zinburger, in The Colonnade courtyard, which offers a selection burgers and milk shakes in a contemporary casual setting. If you're in the midst of a girlfriend getaway, stop in on Wednesday for half-price wine by the bottle.
- Sawgrass Mills has more than 2.4 million square feet and growing, so dress comfortably with good walking shoes.
- Head to one of the information desks and pick up a map; the mall is divided into four avenues, fashion row, the Oasis, and the Colonnade Outlets, with new expansions to come, including a full-price Town Center at Sawgrass
- Shop by avenue or section, or you could find yourself logging a LOT of miles on your FitBit
- Shop and drop your bags off at the "Shop and Drop by Bags to Go" for more hands-free shopping. The Check It - Store It - Ship It service can have your bags sent to the airport or shipped anywhere in the world. (Shipping fees apply.)
- If you've brought the kids, take a break at the children's play area located across from the Rainforest Cafe.
- Don't pass up the sales! Yes, this is discount shopping, but get even deeper discounts by shopping the sales. You can find them online, or just look for the big SALE signs in the store windows.
- If you've got the time, break your shopping trip up into a couple of days (yes, it's that large).
If you're like me, you love sharing your finds. Have you found a great deal at Sawgrass Mills recently? Feel free to share it for our readers in the comments, because we all love a great deal.
- Sawgrass Mills is located at 12801 West Sunrise Blvd in Sunrise, Fla.
- Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- For more information visit: Sawgrass Mills
- For where to stay and what to do in the area visit: VISIT FLORIDA
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA. The opinions and text are all mine.