By Dalia Colon

Naples shopping can be as sophisticated as a night out at a high-end restaurant, as relaxed as a beach day or as family-friendly as a visit to the Naples Zoo. Known for its upscale clothing boutiques and art galleries, the town on the Gulf of Mexico offers a surprising array of options to cater to shoppers as varied as the colors in a Florida sunset.

“The shopping experience in the Naples area has great diversity,” said JoNell Modys, public relations and communications manager for the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Even with so much luxury shopping available, you don’t have to have a big budget to enjoy a Naples shopping spree.”

If you’re in the market for some retail therapy in Naples, then put these shopping haunts on your itinerary.

1. Fifth Avenue South: the Heart of Naples Shopping

Just as Fifth Avenue is the epicenter of shopping in New York City, in Naples, Fifth Avenue South is a can’t-miss destination. The downtown shopping district is home to block upon  block of locally owned art galleries, specialty shops and more.

Of course, clothing boutiques are the crown jewel of the Naples shopping experience.

“You can find fashion experts to dress you in the latest designer fashions at Marissa Collections on Third Street South or at Marilyn’s Distinctive European Fashion on Fifth Avenue South,” Modys said.The aforementioned Marissa Collections is a downtown Naples boutique that offers a curated selection of designer clothing, jewelry and accessories.

“Marissa Collections has been in Naples for over 40 years and continues to grow in style and sophistication with the town,” said co-owner Jay Hartington. “Our buyers travel the world to curate this one-of-kind selection of product for our solo location. We love that juxtaposition of living in a resort, laid-back community with offering the most exclusive and unique fashion and jewelry design the world offers.”

Many boutiques along Fifth Avenue offer similar care and customer services, enabling visitors to enjoy world-class shopping with the personal touch that small businesses provide.Along Fifth Avenue South, you’ll also recognize many national clothing and shoe retailers, like Chico’s, Sperry Topsider and White House Black Market

2. Beyond Fifth Avenue South: Citywide Passion for Fashion

Just two blocks away, another surefire Naples shopping spot for fashion finds is Third Street South. Since the 1930s, the thoroughfare has been a destination for everything from clothing and jewelry to fine art and wine.

If you prefer a mall setting, check out the Waterside Shops at Pelican Bay. It houses several dozen carefully selected shops for those with discriminating taste, including Hermes, Gucci, Lacoste and Apple. And the anchor? Nordstrom, of course. Whether you're a big spender or just window shopping in Naples, you'll enjoy strolling through the well-organized thoroughfares.

“Many of the world’s leading luxury brands are gathered together at the beautiful Waterside Shops center,” Modys notes. The center attracts shoppers with impeccable taste. In fact, TV’s no-nonsense Judge Judy Sheindlin, who owns a home on Pelican Bay, has been spotted at the Waterside Shops.

And of course, they don't call it Naples for nuthin'. The Italian-inspired Village on Venetian Bay is a Naples shopping enclave featuring high-end boutiques, galleries and restaurants with serene waterfront views, all against a backdrop of Italian-style architecture.

3. Art: Galleries Galore

Art lovers from around the world flock to downtown Naples' world-renowned galleries.

“There are some wonderful local artists that offer reasonable prices for original watercolors or for hand-painted clothing and decorative items for your home,” Modys said. “A good spot to look for this type of keepsake is the historic Crayton Cove section of downtown Naples.”

As you traverse the town’s art scene, keep your eyes peeled for actress Jane Seymour. In addition to her acting chops, Seymour is a gifted painter who occasionally appears in the Naples area for art-related events.

4. Budget Shopping: Casual Fun

While Naples is best known for its upscale shops, visitors on a budget can come away with treasures, too. Head to the Naples Design District, along 10th Street North between Fifth Avenue North and Second Avenue South. Nicknamed the Trail of Treasures, this stretch of downtown is home to antique, resale and thrift stores that can be a goldmine for furniture, home decor items, clothing and other finds.

“Since Naples is known for having many well-to-do residents, there’s always the possibility of finding designer labels on shoes, bags and clothing at stores like the Options Thrift Shoppe that supports the Shelter for Abused Women and Children, or at Audrey’s of Naples, which often has top designer clothing finds as well as an extensive vintage showroom,” Modys said.

For something different, head to Tin City Waterfront Shops & Dining. Named for a cluster of original tin-roofed buildings from the 1920s, Tin City is a destination for casual shopping and dining. Browse for sweet-smelling souvenirs at Naples Soap Company, Naples Winery or American Art and Pottery. You’ll also find plenty of clothing retailers for men, women and children, like Bondi Surf and Caribongo. And leave plenty of time for the kids to play with the toys at Tin City Magic.

Whether you’re a kid learning your first card trick, a sophisticated art collector or a beach lover looking for a new pair of bermuda sandals, Naples shopping is magical, indeed.



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