Naples’ reputation as a shopping mecca has as much to do with diversity and quality as it does quantity. In contrast to Old Naples’ historic, one-of-a-kind shops, newer shopping arenas in the Naples area are all about prestigious brand names and franchise stores. Waterside Shops in North Naples fits the bill, with more than 60 luxury clothing and lifestyle shops and restaurants.
The shopping center has been around for a couple of decades, but it underwent a total makeover a few years ago that stepped up its sense of style, with more than 30,000 tropical plants and impressive architectural elements such as a 550-foot-long hand-laid rock wall, dramatic lighting and cool water features. (Thus the “waterside” moniker: Waterside Shops does not front any natural body of water.)
Waterside Shops, always in fashion — Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton
Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrum department stores anchor the shopping center and set the tone for high-end shopping in elegant surroundings. Other name-dropping fashion ware shops and boutiques include Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Talbots, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tory Burch, Ann Taylor, Lacoste, MaxMara and Lilly Pulitzer.
In the jewelry department, shop Cartier, DeBeers, Swarovski, Tiffany & Co. and Tourneau, among others. Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and Williams-Sonoma count among the haute home wares and gift shops.
Papyrus sells fine papers, cards and unique gifts. There’s also an Apple store, a shop selling tea leaves and some middle-of-the-road merchants, such as Gap, Chico’s and Banana Republic.
When you feel like dropping in for lunch and dinner during your shopping spree, Waterside Shops offers California Pizza Kitchen, Nordstrom Café Bistro, Starbucks and the popular Brio Tuscan Grille, with its bar that wraps from the inside and to the outside bar, with tables in both settings.
Complimentary valet parking is available just next to the restaurant, but there's usually plenty of parking, including covered ramps, at the back side of the property.
Waterside Shops hosts seasonal events, such as Boo Bash on Halloween night. Every week, Sip & Shop Sunday serves up a complementary Bloody Mary bar from noon to 3 p.m. during the months of October through March. On the first Friday of the month, shoppers can enjoy live entertainment and cocktails in the Waterside Shops Pavilion from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
For the holidays, Waterside Shops extends its hours of operation. This year on Saturday, Dec. 20, and Sunday, Dec. 21, Weekend with Santa brings the big-bearded guy to the shopping center from noon until 4 p.m. Saint Nick will be available for visits and pictures with the kids.