What’s a vacation without shopping? Fortunately, there are plenty of spots to find just what you need in Central West Florida. Shopping in the tri-city area is the epitome of diversity. Luxury goods and high-end retailers are found at the International Plaza and Bay Street (shopinternationalplaza.com). For casual shopping mixed with fun and entertainment, head to John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk at Madeira Beach, where there are more than 100 interesting shops selling everything from souvenirs to T-shirts, shell goods and one-of-a-kind treasures (johnspass.com). BayWalk shopping and entertainment complex in St. Petersburg has a variety of shops and a 20-screen Muvico Theater (newbaywalk.com).
Pull out your credit cards and get ready to fill your bags at the International Plaza in Tampa. With anchor stores such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, as well as all-time favorites Gap, J. Crew, Banana Republic (his and her shops) and H&M, and boutiques including Burberry and Gucci, the registers will be ringing. Just down the road, WestShore Plaza counts Macy’s, LOFT, Old Navy and Dick’s Sporting Goods among its storefronts, so there are plenty of charging opportunities here, too.
Tree-lined streets, sprawling homes and shopping à la European village make Hyde Park Village one of Tampa’s hot retail spots. It’s easy to spend the day here. Shop for a bit in the morning at brand-name stores, such as west elm, Sur la Table, lululemon athletica, Brooks Brothers, Anthropologie and others. Later, enjoy a bite to eat at the re-imagined Goody Goody, nibble on a cupcake at Sprinkles or sip wine at the Wine Exchange Bistro & Wine Bar. For more outdoor shopping, slip over to The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, where boutiques and department stores entice shoppers with their wares, or Tampa Premium Outlets in Lutz for 25 to 65 percent savings on designer brands.
Explore Palma Ceia, one of Tampa’s most charming neighborhoods, to discover hidden treasures in more than 100 unique boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and cafés.
St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District is gaining popularity among shoppers, and it’s easy to see why. Spend a day leisurely strolling along the avenue lined with fine art galleries, record and vintage clothing shops and antique stores. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars along the way, so take your time and enjoy all this shopping district has to offer.
Looking for a little something to take back to friends back home? Souvenir shopping is perfected at John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk in Madeira Beach. Drop by any of the 100-plus shops for everything from T-shirts and shells to artwork and more.
St. Petersburg shopping also includes The Pier, a 1970s-era landmark featuring a collection of casual shops and restaurants as well as an aquarium. Cigar aficionados head to the Tampa Sweethearts Cigar Company in Ybor City, a family-owned operation that dates back to 1912. Here, Arturo Fuente Jr. sells his famous Dominican hand-rolled cigars.
If you admire arts and crafts, don’t miss the Annual Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival. Just a short drive from Tampa, this small coastal town attracts some of the country’s finest artists and crafters to its annual event. If you miss it, the town hosts other craft festivals throughout the year.
Ready to shop till you drop? A visit to Central West Florida will do the trick.
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