5 Great Florida Avenues for Shoppers
By Dalia Colon
New York has Fifth Avenue. Beverly Hills has Rodeo Drive. And Florida cities have their own can't-miss streets for shopping. When you visit, program these thoroughfares into your GPS, and let the retail therapy begin.
1. Lincoln Road in Miami
Ocean Drive and Calle Ocho may be household names, but South Floridians in need of shopping head for Lincoln Road. Spend a day sauntering down this pedestrians-only outdoor mall, which boasts everything from art galleries to bookstores to high-end jewelry boutiques. (Did someone say Swarovski?) If you need a break, cool off with some gelato or in the movie theater, then get back out there, champ! All the details are at lincolnroad.org.
2. International Drive in Orlando
Even if I-Drive weren't home to six theme parks, including Sea World and Universal, it would still be worth a stop. The mega-bustling road is also home to... wait for it... nearly 500 designer and outlet stores. You could get exhausted just thinking about it - which is fine because the I-Ride Trolley is there to pull you along the miles of shopportunities. Single fare is $1.25 per ride, and an unlimited day pass is only $4. Get details at internationaldriveorlando.com. Be sure to click on the "Hot Deals" tab for coupons to use along your route.
3. Snow Avenue in Tampa
Just mention South Tampa and the locals instantly picture beautiful people with perfectly highlighted hair, holding shopping bags in one hand and a tiny dog in the other. Snow Avenue is the main drag of Hyde Park Village an upscale district with a mix of indie and chain boutiques. And yes, your dog is allowed in many of them. Most of the shops even keep treats on hand for your four-legged shopping companion.
4. Duval Street in Key West
It doesn't get much more Floridian than this iconic address. Not only does Jimmy Buffett mention Duval in the song My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink and I Don't Love Jesus, but his original Margaritaville Cafe is on Duval. What better place to load up on souvenirs than in the gift shop? You'll find other shops along your route, too. And bonus: If you walk at the corner of Duval and Green streets under the Sloppy Joe's awning, you'll wind up on the Live Duval Street Web Cam. Wave to all of your jealous friends back home.
5. San Marco Boulevard in Jacksonville
Two words: shopping and neighborhood. J-ville's downtown may be on life support, but just across the St. John's River you'll find this beacon of hope. This street puts you in the heart of San Marco Square – or – as the cool people say – “The Square,” a swanky shopping district. Of course, swank has its price. But even if you can't afford to shop in the high-end clothing, jewelry and home decor boutiques, you'll feel like a million bucks strolling amid the street's Mediterranean architecture.