Naples Puts the Ho, Ho, Ho in Your Holiday Shopping

Naples celebrates the holidays with all kinds of Santa Claus, parade and musical events at its various shopping centers throughout the area. So if you believe you need snow to get in the holiday mood, just try doing your holiday shopping here to experience festive in a whole new way. Fifth Avenue South in particular makes the holidays jolly throughout the month of December with special events. Most shopping centers extend their hours. Coastland Center imports Santa for pictures with your kids or pets. The Village on Venetian Bay hosts a tree-lighting ceremony with a snow show, photos with Santa and stories with Mrs. Claus. This list leads you to the best shopping arenas for holiday spirit and buys, and it also ferrets out a few stand-alone gems you will not want to miss when you are shopping for friends and families – particularly the kids. The Naples area does not have a lot of non-chain toy stores, but you will find one of a kind toys and clothing for the little ones at stores throughout the region. When it comes to jewelry, you will not have to look far for stunning variety and quality. With its complement of unique stores, Naples is the place to shop for someone who has everything.


Cleopatra's Barge Fine Jewelry
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Nothing says "Naples" like jewelry. The town is virtually dripping with gold, diamonds and precious gems. Nothing says "Naples jewelry" more specifically than downtown's Cleopatra's Barge. When Marilyn Janss first opened her jewelry shop on Third Street South, the street was so quiet she would often hang a "Gone Fishing" sign on the doorknob and grab her rod and reel. Nearly 50 years later, Janss is still designing gold pieces and selling jewelry of all sorts in the small shop. She is most famous for her Naples Medallion, which depicts the Naples Pier in gold for bracelets, charms and exquisite diamond-wreathed pendants. In recent years, she has also designed medallions featuring the Marco Cat, an ancient, iconic archaeological find from Marco Island.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Nothing says "holiday giving" like jewelry. And nowhere does Naples-style jewelry like Cleopatra's.

Chelle's expert tip: Besides Naples Medallion jewelry, the sealife line of charms, earrings and pins make lovely wearable mementos.

Read more about Cleopatra's Barge Fine Jewelry →

Ship's Store
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Marco Island, as the jumping off point for Florida's Ten Thousand Islands, runs on boat horsepower. So it follows that the most apt souvenirs you can buy would be found at a marina. You will be surprised to discover that the ship's store at Rose Marco River Marina carries so much more than boating and fishing supplies. It is the best place in town to find boating, fishing and Florida-appropriate men's and women's wear. It starts with a line of Columbia shirts - the unofficial fishing uniform shirt of Florida. From there, you can find everything from sandals and shorts to dresses and jewelry. Oh, and by the way, you can also find fishing gear and boat supplies.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: From practical fishing and boating supplies to Florida-appropriate outdoor fashions, this is the place to shop for water sports enthusiasts.

Chelle's expert tip: Don't expect to find bargains here, but the line of clothing is unlike anywhere else on the island.

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Coastland Center
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

With more than 150 stores - including anchor stores Dillard's, JCPenney, Sears and Macy's - the indoor, air-conditioned mall is a good place to shop on hot summer Naples days – if you are looking for chain stores. You will find Abercrombie & Fitch, Old Navy, American Greetings, Bath & Body Works, Game Stop and more of the usuals, plus a tidy selection of one-of-a-kind or small local chain shops. The mall also boasts a food court plus a few chain sit-down dining restaurants.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Santa is on hand for pet and kid pictures through Christmas Eve. Stop at Candy Grandy for your holiday sweets.

Chelle's expert tip: The shopping center is extremely family friendly with a kids' play area and kiddie rides, family restrooms and stroller rentals.

Read more about Coastland Center →

Old Naples
Tin City
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Once a tin-roofed dockage facility for the downtown Naples area, Tin City retains its rustic, salty charm and its dockage. What's changed is its reinvention into a fun shopping and dining complex. Most of the shops and eateries carry extremely casual and inexpensive wares with a nautical, beachy backbeat. The 30 or so shops occupy two ramshackle buildings and tend to be a little on the touristy side. It's a good place to find souvenirs in all price ranges. When it's time to dine, Riverwalk and Pincher's Crab Shack are favorites with water views and local seafood on the menu.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Every Saturday Dec. 5 through 26, Candy Cane Cruises depart from Tin City.

Chelle's expert tip: Don't miss Naples Soap, a local franchise that started here with handmade soaps and other bath products.

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Village Shops on Venetian Bay
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Lining the waterfront on two sides of the road (a tunnel allows you to drive or walk under the bridge instead of having to cross the busy road), it effects European style architecture. A well traveled district for shopping and dining, its stores are of the upscale ilk selling jewelry, art, home accessories and clothing - nearly 60 businesses in all. Aqua Beachwear for women and Mondo Uomo for men are popular fashion stops. Try a Horse of a Different Color and Fabec-Young & Co. for gifts and home decor items. Five jewelry stores specialize in everything from watches and pearls to estate jewelry.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Starting with a post-Thanksgiving tree lighting, Village on Venetian Bay decorates to the nines. A lighted boat parade happens Dec. 15.

Chelle's expert tip: Dancing by the Fountain brings an extra measure of merriment to the Village the last Thursday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m.

Read more about Village Shops on Venetian Bay →

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Sometimes you find the best souvenirs at attraction gift shops. The Nature Store at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of the best for nature-lovers and souvenir-seekers alike. Set at the edge of Everglades habitat, the attraction celebrates local nature, and so does its store. Besides the expected logo T-shirts, hats and other clothing, it carries attire and gear featuring Corkscrew's flora and fauna. Books cover birding, native vegetation and all topics relating to South Florida nature. For kids, there are toys and games that make nature fun. Art, jewelry and other gifts are all nature-themed. And even better, proceeds from all purchases benefit wildlife and its habitat.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: On Dec. 12, it hosts its annual Holiday Market, with local artists and vendors demonstrating and selling.

Chelle's expert tip: Look in the nature shop for gifts for nature-lovers of all ages.

Read more about Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary →

Blue Mangrove Gallery
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

This small gallery is packed with goodies that will inject a sweet, potent taste of Marco Island into your home decor. Gifts and souvenirs range from simple "Gone To the Beach" signs to original landscapes and painted furniture. In between, you will find children's gifts and clothing, hand blown glass vases, distinctive artisanal jewelry, pottery and gifts in all price ranges. Handbags, beachy throw pillows, art photography, an exclusive line of Marco Island beads, lamps, candles, rag rugs - everything is one of a kind and most of it is handmade locally. Mermaids, crabs, fish, seashells and other marine motifs lend a vivid sense of place.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Marco Island doesn't have toy shops per se, but this boutique carries fun books, toys and clothing for kids.

Chelle's expert tip: Look for the photography of Clyde Butcher, often known as Florida's Ansel Adams.

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Norman Love Chocolate Salon
Photo courtesy of Norman Love Confections

Norman Love equates to the most luscious chocolates, truffles and other beautiful desserts in Southwest Florida. Possibly the country – he and his staff of merry chocolate makers regularly win awards nationwide. Started in neighboring Fort Myers, Love (really his name) has expanded the reach of his product to fine restaurants around the state. He opened his Naples salon a few years later to the joy of local residents. His desserts are eye-candy works of art that often make use of Florida and tropical ingredients such as key lime, coconut and passion fruit. His lines of product include white, milk and dark chocolate plus his signature black chocolate that features cacao from some of the most elite regions of the world, including Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Tanzania.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Love creates flavors such as candy cane and egg nog for the holidays and tucks random prize vouchers into gift boxes and baskets.

Chelle's expert tip: Norman Love also makes and sells delicious, authentic gelato.

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Coconut Point
Photo courtesy of Chris Griffith

This mega-complex north of Naples combines residential condos, big-box stores, great dining, movie theaters and name boutiques. Its 140 stores include Dillard's department store, Target, Barnes & Noble, Apple Store, Best Buy, Yankee Candle, Boston Proper (the first storefront for the women's clothing catalog), Banana Republic and Bath & Body Works. Dining ranges from Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Moe's Southwest Grill to upscale choices such as Blue Water Bistro and Ruth's Chris Steak House. In season, January through Easter, Coconut Point hosts a weekly Farmers' Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday. The outdoor mall also provides free shuttle service around its massive breadth.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Coconut Point extends its holiday hours and usually hosts a Breakfast with Santa, along with other family holiday events.

Chelle's expert tip: Coconut Point mall provides a whimsical play area for kids.

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Fifth Avenue South
Photo courtesy of Fifth Avenue South Association

Old Naples' comeback story is one of the most successful in the annals of downtown redevelopment. Reinvented in 1996 with careful planning, Fifth Avenue South was at the heart of the renaissance. What has resulted is a tony street lined with sidewalk cafes, mostly one-of-a-kind shops and galleries, vital theaters, an arts center, hotels and a city park. But let's talk shopping: Mixed in with great restaurants, the shops sell art, resort wear, jewelry and fun gifts for everyone, including the pets. You will find chains such as Chico's and Tervis, but also unique shops such as Port Royal Jewelers, where you have to ring the bell to gain admission. The restaurants of Fifth Avenue South present some of the town's most divine dining options.Throughout the year, the merchants host a number of street art and other festivals.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Besides its fine selection of one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants and its year-round festive atmosphere, downtown hosts special holiday events through December.

Chelle's expert tip: Parking is free along Fifth Avenue South and in its parking lot, but fills up fast in the high season, at which time valet service is available.

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Meet Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton – the Local Expert for Naples, Florida and the Caribbean – has been covering the destination for 30 years. Her top-selling Sarasota, Sanibel Island, and...  More About Chelle