While we all know it's usually best to spend our dollars at small businesses, sometimes it can be helpful to get all your shopping done at once at a place with multiple major retailers. This is why we go to Dadeland Station, a three-level shopping center off US-1 and Snapper Creek. Dadeland Station is home to some of the biggest names in retail around, including Target and Best Buy. Other tenants of the center include Bed, Bath, and Beyond; Michael's; Sports Authority and Petsmart. With one visit to this plaza, you can easily shop for your home, clothing, groceries, sporting good needs, arts & crafts, and even bring something home for Fido. There is also an Avis car rental center and a Subway sandwich shop on site, plus a few other small restaurants, including LAN Pan Asian.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: When all other shops are long closed on Christmas eve, this shopping center may just save the day.
Priscilla's expert tip: Parking is almost impossible on the Target level, so just move on up to one of the shop-free garage levels to make it easier on yourself. Conversely, you can also take the Metro Rail here.
Florida Keys Outlet Center is an outdoor shopping center in Florida City, just past Homestead and right before Key Largo. The outlet mall has beautiful Spanish architecture and all of the stores have friendly staff and quick cashiers. Stores located here include Aeropostale, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap Factory, American Eagle Outfitters, Levi's, Van Heusen, and Nautica; shoe stores like Nike, Nine West, Converse, Skechers, and Bass; plus children's stores like Osh Kosh Bigosh, Carter's, and Gymboree; and specialty shops like Coach and Sunglass Hut. Florida Keys Outlet Center even allows patrons to bring pets in with them. There are 55 different stores but be warned that eating options are limited to a small handful of eateries.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Great bargain shopping can be done at this outlet mall just north of the Keys, without the hassle of large crowds even on Christmas Eve.
Priscilla's expert tip: Unlike, say, Dolphin Mall, this place is relatively deserted the days before Christmas.
In the Design District, new trends are being set every day. The neighborhood is a conglomeration of design outlets, art galleries, home decor stores, antique shops, restaurants and clubs. In recent years, the city's creative contingent has migrated here, and it's becoming a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. Stores devoted to design and architecture occupy warehouse-like fronts in the area between North Miami Avenue and North Second Avenue. Although the district covers just a few blocks, it offers a wealth of shopping and design opportunities. Check out stores like Espacio, Alessi, Holly Hunt, Moroso, and Versace Home Miami to get an idea of what we mean.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: With high-end, specialty, and one-of-a-kind shops, it's the place to go to shop for that person on your list who already has everything.
Priscilla's expert tip: Looking to impress your folks? Get them a piece of designer furniture or an off-the-runway outfit from one of these luxury shops.
While the Falls Shopping Mall is just a few blocks away, this strip mall is a complete hidden gem filled with all kinds of wonderful, locally-owned shops. If you're the type to want to shop away from the crowd, this is definitely the place for you. Some of the more popular tenants at this plaza include the new age shop Five Sisters, Elegant Stitches (a yarn and knitting shop), Sun and Ski Sports (for all your skiing and skate boarding needs), Little Green Moppet (children's consignment boutique) and Upscale Furniture Consignment Gallery. Each of these stores offers something different from what you'll find at your local Wal-Mart, with lots of personal attention from staff members that understand quality customer service. Plus, the deals found at many of these consignment stores can't be beat.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: In the era of super hero movies and binge television show watching, you're likely to find great gifts here for your superfan friends.
Priscilla's expert tip: Make sure to call ahead or look up store hours before arriving. Many close all day or early on Sundays.
Lincoln Road is where the trendy and fashionable shop. At this upscale, open-air mall right off Collins Avenue at 17th Street, you'll find some of the most exclusive shops of South Beach. Many of the top art galleries and specialty stores are located here, but most browsers are here to see and be seen. There is a mixed and diverse crowd – it's not unusual to find people (and even models) dressed "to the nines" being passed by inline skaters and SoBe locals walking their dogs. You'll also find some of the most outstanding dining choices in the area, along with plenty of thriving nightlife options.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Scotch & Soda, Alvin's Island (tourist gifts), Taschen Books, Lulemon, Anthropologie, New Era, H&M, plus loads of restaurants (hello gift certificates!) are ALL located here.
Priscilla's expert tip: Park in the south garage, it's cheaper!
Being something of a party town, Miami isn't exactly skint on liquor stores. However, when you're looking for a wide selection, fair prices, and good service, you won't do better than Sunset Corners. Located right off Sunset Drive and Galloway, Sunset Corners brings quality liquor, fine wines, and craft beer selections to the masses, while also offering a wide array of gourmet cheese, breads, and other goodies. The shop originally opened in December of 1954 by Bernie and Rosalind Rudnick, where they sold whiskey to local farmers. It's undergone many changes since then and went from a small package store to a bar and lounge and now to the mega-liquor and wine shop it is today.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Pick up pre-made gifts boxes with liquor, wine, or beer and serving glasses, shot glasses, or other neat items for the lush on your list.
Priscilla's expert tip: Come by on Saturdays when they host various tastings of wines, beer, and even champagne, depending on the day. Call in ahead of time to find out more details about that specific weekend's events.
On the southeast corner of Bird Road and Ludlam, you'll find a series of interesting and eclectic shops that are perfect for off-the-beaten-path shopping. The main attraction is Miami Twice, a large, vintage boutique. The shop began as a strictly vintage shop specializing in finds from the 50's, 60's, and 70's, but now offer "modern vintage" (80's and 90's) plus retro-styled clothing and a huge selection of Halloween costumes in October. A&M Comics is the other major tenant of the strip mall, boasting one of the largest and most interesting collections of comic books, graphic novels, used books, figurines and other collectibles, vinyl, vintage newspapers, and even a large selection of vintage Playboy magazines in the back. The strip mall also features a tattoo shop, several trendy women's boutiques, a psychic, and most recently, a Vapor Shark e-cigarette store.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Gifts you'll find here include comic books for collectors, gift cards for tattoo lovers, vintage jewelry for retro souls, and vape flavors for ex-smokers.
Priscilla's expert tip: Don't bother parking in those pain-in-the-butt spots in the front. Drive to the end of the strip and pull in. Plenty of parking in the back.
Located inside of the Coral Gables Congregational UCC Church, the Miami Fair Trade Global MarketPlace is the brain child of senior pastor, Rev. Laurie Hafner, who wanted an alternative in Miami to all the shops that use child labor, sweat shops, and generally inhumane practices. The gifts found at the marketplace come from over 35 countries around the world, from Kenya to Mozambique, and include everything from Peruvian cotton shirts to Indian embroidered shawls and Egyptian trinket boxes, all made by artisans (mainly women) who are given living wages and safe working conditions. With friendly service, fair prices, and beautiful products, the Miami Fair Trade MarketPlace provides a wonderful alternative to the usual hustle and bustle of mall shopping.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: You'll find a wide-selection of hand-crafted gifts at various prices for everyone on your list while supporting fair trade. Why wouldn't you shop here?
Priscilla's expert tip: With their wide selection of jewelry, clothing, and other hand-crafted items, keep this one in mind for last minute birthday and anniversary gifts throughout the year.
As the name suggests, this is a wonderful place to find books, from instructional books on knitting and fishing to novels and poetry chapbooks to historical texts and science journals and even children's bedtime books. Regional, national and international authors often show up here for readings, book signings, and other events. Recent visitors include Dave Barry, Hillary Clinton, Stephen King and Isabel Allende. While chain bookstores continue to expand, offering loads of popular books on all topics, independent bookstores like this one in Coral Gables' Miracle Mile area stand out for friendliness, customer service and comfort. The selection of books on Florida and its unique history, architecture and culture is especially extensive.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: What makes a better gift than a book? And there's something for everyone here: sports fans, history buffs, feminists, science lovers, travelers, parents, kids, etc.
Priscilla's expert tip: Tickets to author events and signed books make great holiday gifts, both of which are available here.
One of Miami's most colorful outposts can be found right in the heart of one of Miami's most colorful neighborhoods: Coconut Grove. The Olfactory Company is Americana meets Victorian meets Steampunk and is as enchanting as its description. The small shop sells a number of curiosities, from artisan soaps to wooden toys, antique telephones and gourmet seasonings, leather kilts and beaded skull bags, aromatic soy candles, brightly colored wooden toys, and even some Monty Python memorabilia. There is something here for all tastes, making it the perfect gift shop. Check it out the next time you're in search of a unique present.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Anyone can buy their BFF a t-shirt from Target, but why do that when you can find them a one-of-a-kind 70's peasant top for Christmas?
Priscilla's expert tip: Take your time here. You'll want to have a chance to look over everything.