By Janet K. Keeler
Orlando International Premium Outlets may just have the best location of any shopping mall in the U.S.A. The complex has unmatched visibility, tucked as it is into a huge pie-shaped parcel where Interstate 4 and the Florida Turnpike meet. These are two of Florida’s busiest highways coursing through one of the state’s busiest tourism towns.
Universal Orlando (can you say Harry Potter?) is mere miles on the other side of I-4. And the House of the Mouse and its Disney theme parks, shopping, dining and entertainment complex plus oodles of accommodations isn’t far either. Plus, the outlet mall is on the north end of restaurant-lined International Drive, a curvy road that most Orlando visitors find themselves on at least once during a visit.
Visitors’ needing a break from fantasy characters and thrill rides head to the outlet mall. They will be hard-pressed to not find something to take home from the 180 stores stretched over a vast outdoor complex. Let’s face it, though, lots of designers have set up shop at the nation’s outlet malls, and you’ll see Kate Spade, Donna Karan and Michael Kors in many places.
Spend a day at Orlando Premium Outlet Mall browsing stores that aren’t as ubiquitous. You’ll find plenty of them. Like Mimmic Bijuterias, jewelry store for men and women that trades in reasonably priced baubles that give off a professional look or a bohemian vibe.
UGG sheepskin shoes remain trendy and UGG Australia offers comfort in many styles. There are the well-known (and well-worn) classic boots with the seams on the outside and the non-slip soles, but other styles are available. Pink and blue boots, comfy slippers and even wedge sandals are on the shelves.
There’s not much snowboarding going on in Florida, but both Zumiez brings the cool to the Sunshine State so visitors can take it home with them. It stocks snowboarding shoes, clothes and other equipment as well as skateboarding clothes.
Head to Kipling for some of the niftiest bags, purses and totes on the planet. Born in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1987, Kipling and its designers plugged into what a woman needs when it comes to purses and bags: long straps, easy-wear fabric and pockets, lots of pockets. Kipling makes luggage, too, a sensible buy if you need another place to stash souvenirs for the trip home.
Brahmin, an American manufacturer, specializes in handbags, mostly in leather and some with stylish detailing such as embossing and mixed media adornments. Tuck your outlet shopping savings into a sweet periwinkle wallet.
A stop into IT’SUGAR is just what a weary shopper needs to boost her flagging energy. If the candy store doesn’t have something to satisfy the sweet tooth and pump up the metabolism, it likely doesn’t exist. That includes Beast Mode Chocolates by Marshawn Lynch, NFL running back. Gummy everything, too.
Now, let’s look for clothes, and finding something a bit different here isn’t difficult. Check out Ted Baker London and Robert Graham for sophisticated collections for both men and women. These designers specialize in clothes and accessories that are appropriate for fancy evening affairs or casual beachside rendezvous.
Volcom is our last stop of the day, hot for the latest styles in the youth market. And by youth, we mean anyone who wants to look plugged into fashion but still dress age-appropriate. Soft fabrics and a casual flair are its specialties.
It won’t take much to find Orlando International Premium Outlets, but once you do, hunt for the something different.
When you go…
Orlando International Premium Outlets
4951 International Dr.
Orlando, FL 32819-9439
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