Shopping at The Falls in Kendall, Fla.

    By Janet K. Keeler

    Sometimes a day at the mall is just what the doctor ordered. And The Falls in Kendall, south of Coral Gables, is an enticing mix of high-energy shopping and restorative hangouts.

    That’s because the open-air complex of 100-plus stores and restaurants is designed around water features, among them a lagoon, pools, waterfalls and bridges adorned with sculptures such as jumping dolphins. After hours of full-tilt shopping, perch (or plop) on a bench or restaurant chair and soak up the relax.

    Speaking of doctor’s orders, we aren’t sure if an apple a day for health includes the Apple store, but there’s one here. This is where you’ll find people of all ages plugging in and trying out new phones, tablets, computers and accessories. Belly up to the genius bar to gets assistance on what you just bought.

    If you haven’t gotten your fill of playtime at Apple, check out PlayLive Nation, a gaming lounge that specializes in high energy. Regular tournaments and other events get gamers out of the house and into a more social environment. It’s also a cool place for the gamers in your group to test their reflexes on new releases before they buy.

    Another big attraction at The Falls is the American Girl Store and accompanying American Girl Bistro where real-life dolls sip tea and feast on fancy French toast. American Girl dolls, which debuted in 1986, have become a favorite with doll lovers across the country, each girl’s background based on an American story. Melody, for example, with her cool sunglasses looks ready-made for South Florida. Be prepared to spend some time here if you’re with someone whose heart swells at the sight of Tenney, Felicity or Emerson.

    If you’re still in the mood for frilly fare, check out the multitude of cookie flavors at Le Macaron, purveyor of the delicate French sandwich cookie. Typically made of almond flour, macarons are gluten-free and come in flavors as wide-ranging as lavender and salted caramel. Oh, and they sell French madeleines too, the cake-like, shell-shaped confection.

    Fashion conscious-shoppers can get lost in mall-anchor Bloomingdale’s, one of the nation’s premiere department stores. “Bloomies” started in New York City in 1861, and has since migrated across the country allowing shoppers everywhere to browse the designer duds. Established designers, such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan, can be found among the racks with newer designers showcasing the latest fashions. Trendy handbags, men’s wear and hot club clothes are just some of what shoppers will find in this classic American store. (Bloomies has come along way since its start on Manhattan’s Lower East Side selling hoop skirts!)

    Designer clothes can also be found at Michael Kors. The designer’s luxury brand features clothes and accessories, and the MK logo remains a status symbol 30 years after Kors started his design empire.

    Food is a natural way to break up all that shopping. A quick pick-me-up can be had at Pasion del Cielo, a chic coffee bar that features beans from the Americas, or at Churromania, which specializes in the twisty, flaky pastry. Be prepared to get a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar down your shirt and as you snack on this Latin specialty.

    For a fuller meal with sit-down service, check out Los Ranchos Restaurant, Brio Tuscan Grille or P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. They are among the restaurants that bring the flavors of the world to The Falls.

    And that’s what the good doctor ordered, too.

    When you go…
    The Falls
    8888 SW 136 St, Miami, FL 33176-5883
    (305) 255-4571

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