Shopping in Orlando is as much an attraction as the attractions. Even with the slightly weaker pound that we’ve had to come to terms with on our travels, a day (or three) of retail therapy is still excellent value for your money. It is often that you will pay in U.S. dollars what you would in sterling if you purchased the same item in the U.K - so don't be put off, shopping in America can still be as luxurious a treat as ever.
For your high end shopping...
Mall at Millenia - The newest and classiest of Florida’s great shopping malls. Opened in 2003, it specialises (although not exclusively) in some of the finest names in the retail business, and any trip here is a truly luxurious affair. Nowhere else in central Florida will you find such a presence of high fashion and high quality merchandise.
- Ann Taylor
- Z Gallery
- Hugo Boss
- Jimmy Choo
- Louis Vuitton
- Tiffany & Co
- Bloomingdale’s (the only store in the region)
Orlando Premium Outlets (International Drive and Lake Buena Vista) - If you are looking for some serious bargains in the fashion world, you should head for one of the two Orlando Premium Outlets. Admittedly some of their stock may be last year’s designs and collections, but you will find some genuine savings on big-name brands.
- Banana Republic
- Calvin Klein
- Perry Ellis
- Polo Ralph Lauren
- Salvatore Ferragamo
- Tommy Hilfiger
Park Avenue - Possibly the most distinctive shopping experience in town is to be found on Park Avenue in Winter Park, a beautiful suburb just to the north of Orlando. Just for a change, there are no malls, discount centres or flea markets, and the shopping style is distinctly upscale. The line-up of women’s apparel includes Thread, Lily Pulitzer, Eileen Fisher, and smart department store Jacobson’s; menswear includes John Craig, Siegel’s and J. McLaughlin. More than anything, though, Park Avenue specialises in distinctive, one-off boutiques that reward the casual shopper, and you can find a veritable treasure trove of art galleries, gifts and other items. Check out the likes of The Doggie Door, Ten Thousand Villages, and Peterbrooke Chocolateier.
Winter Park makes a wonderful day out and change of pace from the theme parks. It is an exclusive neighbourhood in its own right, with many homes in the $1million-plus bracket (some of which can be seen from the Winter Park Boat Tour), and features some outstanding dining and shopping, as well as several worthy museums. They have a well-staffed Chamber of Commerce information centre on New York Avenue, parallel to Park Avenue, where you can pick up various walking tours of the area, as well as some fine dining recommendations.
Thornton Park - For a similar, if smaller scale experience try the boutiques of Thornton Park, in downtown Orlando. Here, adjacent to beautiful Lake Eola, you can wander through the park area, try the tasty Panera Bread or Tijuana Flats, and browse the various upmarket shops.
Closer to the main tourist area, just off Highway 192, you’ll find the small town of Celebration, where strolling is a pleasure and the boutique shopping offers something a bit special. Browse Market Street Gallery (Disney collectables, Swarovski crystal), Woof Gang Bakery (yes, a bakery for dogs!), Unique Boutique (clothing and accessories), Soft As A Grape (casual wear) and Lollipop Cottage (children’s clothing).
Mount Dora - Further off the beaten track, but well worth the 30-40 minute drive, lies the charming town of Mount Dora. Antique buffs can easily spend the best part of a day perusing distinctive antique shops, including the Village Antique Mall with more than 60 vendors. Gift shops include Whispering Winds, the homespun Country Cottage Crafts and Piece of Mine Home Boutique, Inc. Stop for dinner at the spectacular Pieces Rising, a beautiful Key West inspired restaurant with a fantastic sunset view.
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If you're looking for the exclusive shopping experience book a Shoping Extravaganza tour here.