Shopping

By SUSAN B. BARNES

What’s a vacation without shopping?

Pull out your credit cards and get ready to fill your bags at the International Plaza and Bay Street in Tampa. It features the only Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom on the Gulf Coast, as well as all-time favorites, Dillard’s, the first RH Gallery, Gap, J. Crew, Banana Republic and H&M, and over a dozen restaurants. Families will also love the Busch Gardens indoor play area for kids. 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 shopping opportunities here, too.

Tree-lined streets, historical 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.

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 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.

If you admire arts and crafts, don’t miss the Annual Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival in February, or the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in downtown Tampa in March. Just a short drive from Tampa, the small coastal town of Dunedin attracts some of the country’s finest artists and crafters to its annual event. If you miss it, the town hosts additional craft festivals throughout the year, so don’t despair!