Best Shopping Malls and Centers in Orlando

Mall In! Melt your credit card at Orlando's top shopping centers.

Shopping is not a spectator sport, but with Orlando’s tourist throngs coming out en masse to sack the city from outlet mall to retail mega-center, it can sometimes be a contact sport. The cool part? Venues such as the Buena Vista Factory Stores and Orlando Premium Outlet on International Drive are often microcosms of sorts – modern day bazaars where travelers from distant lands, speaking different languages come to buy the things they need. Of course, True Religion jeans and Nike cross-trainers – for most of us, anyway – are not necessities, but they sure are fun to score on deep discount. More traditional malls, the indoor, climate-controlled variety, are in no short supply, either. Luxury shoppers will find themselves easily sated at the beautiful Mall at Millenia while Altamonte Mall – and it’s lovely adjacent oasis of Cranes Roost Park – give divided parties two different ways to spend the day. They can meet up for dinner and a movie later. Mixed-use venues continue to proliferate. Winter Park Village is among the prettiest. Its streets, benches, flower pots and fountain create a village-like atmosphere. So much so that many choose to live in the on-site apartments and enjoy the dining and entertainment venues in their tiny “town.”


Waterford Lakes is relatively sprawling for a walkable, outdoor shopping center, and it could use some shade, but the "camouflaged" rock speakers piping in music as you stroll its sidewalks are a nice touch. The concentration of shopping, however â€" big-box operations like BestBuy, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Super Target, mall-staples that include Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, chain restaurants such as Five Guys Burgers, California Pizza Kitchen and Miller's Ale House, and even small, specialty food shops like Sweet! By Good Golly Miss Holly â€" makes it a natural one-stop venue for area residents looking to knock a few errands off at once and grab something to eat in the process. Interestingly, Waterford Lakes also hosts quite a few events, farmer's markets, carnivals and festivals, which can make your regular weekend visit into a more pleasant diversion than expected.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Waterford Lakeshas everything from Super Target and Bed Bath & Beyond to a place to grab a wine flight (Cooper's Hawk)!

A.D.'s expert tip: The Regal Waterford Lakes Stadium 20 also has an IMAX theater. Good to know if there's a particular feature out that lends itself to the medium.

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South Orlando

The Florida Mall is an international, family-friendly shopping destination that welcomes more than 20 million visitors per year. Spanning nearly 1.8 million square feet, shoppers enjoy more than 250 stores and restaurants, including many exclusive to Central Florida, such as a Zara flagship store, American Girl, The Disney Store, and one of only five M&M's World stores worldwide. The Florida Mall also features Dillard's, JCPenney, and Macys, as well as fashion-forward concepts such as Michael Kors, H&M, A/X Armani Exchange and XXI Forever. A new Dining Pavilion will join the fray in the summer of 2015 and is projected to feature more health-conscious options. The new Crayola Experience will be opening around the same time.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Between the shopping, dining and the on-site, 511-room Florida Hotel & Conference Center, the Florida Mall is just one glass dome away from biosphere.

A.D.'s expert tip: Got kids? The Crayola Experience offers up a host of fun activities all inspired by these colorful instruments of creativity!

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Orlando International Premium Outlets

There are 16 places to eat amid the 700,000 square feet of shopping space at this Orlando Premium Outlets installment, but if we were you, we'd run our engines on coffee and Pinkberry and save room to discuss the day's spoils at one of I-Drive's zillion options for eats and drinks. This outlet center (perhaps better be described as a campus) is comprised of two larger malls and four strip centers. As you navigate, you'll happen upon familiar names including Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Juicy Couture, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Chico's and many, many ... many more.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: OPO-I Drive has ranked on several ranked lists of outlet malls in the United States," often within the top 10, five or higher. Not bad.

A.D.'s expert tip: Post-season deals often abound, making this an excellent place for shoppers who hail from colder climes with longer winters or locals planning a cool-weather trip.

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With venues that include the Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, Marlow's Tavern, Ra Sushi, the upscale Oceanaire Seafood Room and Taverna Opa, most locals think of Pointe Orlando as a dining and entertainment venue but make no mistake: there's quality shopping a'plenty. Clothing (Armani Exchange, Chico's, Hollister, Victoria's Secret, Tommy Bahama), accessories (Tharoo & Co., Charming Charlie's) and other interesting venues. But if you want to just chuck it all for popcorn, soda and a movie at its Regal 20 + IMAX theater, you can beat the oft-oppressive Florida heat and likely save money at the same time.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: A location convenient to the Orange County Convention Center make Pointe Orlando a no-brainer for business travelers looking for downtime without a long haul.

A.D.'s expert tip: If you decide to make Pointe Orlando your retail therapy destination and have options, make it an afternoon jaunt so you can hit one of it's many drinking, dining and/or dancing establishments to soothe your weary swiping hand.

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Altamonte Mall sits just 10 miles from the center of downtown Orlando and practically on top of I-4, a prime location allowing for extensive shopping, dining or even a leisurely stroll around the lake in adjacent Cranes Roost Park, where many events and festivals are held. Altamonte's anchor stores include reliable names like Sears and Macy's, while in its well appointed confines you'll discover some diverse gems. For women, venues like White House Black Market showcase an impressive collection of clothing and accessories while Wet Seal, Justice, Hollister and Gymboree are among those covering the young ones in your traveling party. Others, like H&M, appeal to both male and female shoppers with aplomb. Food court options notwithstanding, shoppers can imbibe and dine just outside at venues including the Ale House and Seasons 52.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Just a stone's throw from the delights of downtown or nearby Winter Park, Altamonte Mall makes a great day-to-night option if you've got staying power.

A.D.'s expert tip: Altamonte Mall has great stores and myriad dining options in and out, but parents especially appreciate the kids' play area with cushioned banquette seating around its perimeter and a hand-sanitizing station. Sometimes it's the little things....

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With a multitude of well known stores from Carter's to Converse, Gap to Guess, and Izod to Old Navy, the Lake Buena Vista Factory Shops is a favorite for local outlet shoppers as well as tourists â€" for their ample parking as much as their retail offerings. Merchandise here is factory direct with savings of up to 75 percent off every day. For those with wee ones in tow, an open-air playground gives the kids a place to blow off steam between their parents' bouts of spending. Additionally, Lake Buena Vista Factory Shops provides free shuttle service from some 60 Orlando and Kissimmee area hotels.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Lake Buena Vista Shops' location near the parks, it's just four miles from SeaWorld, for example, make a day of shopping-and-Shamu entirely doable.

A.D.'s expert tip: Follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook for extra savings. Coupons and other discounts are posted regularly. You can find them in those free local travel books around town, as well.

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Winter Park Village
Photo courtesy of Winter Park Village

Winter Park Village enjoys a prime location, just minutes from the city's verdant Central Park and long-lauded Park Avenue. Dining comes in all forms from easy-breezy, inexpensive options like Pizzeria Valdiano and Menchie's Frozen Yogurt to familiar faces including P.F. Chang's and the Cheesecake Factory. Those looking for a more up-market experience might opt for a hefty rib-eye at Ruth's Chris Steak House. Moviegoers will enjoy the Regal Winter Park Village Stadium 20, which offers reduced-price children's matinees in the summer (check their website for details). Winter Park Village is pedestrian-friendly. Benches, streetlights and even "on-street" parallel parking give it a Main Street-style appearance, one that might inspire you to enjoy that fro-yo outside while listening to the gurgle of the fountain.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Mixed-use malls don't always get it right. Winter Park Village does such a nice job you'll wish it were a little bigger.

A.D.'s expert tip: Catching a movie? Grab your tickets early online or at the kiosk and grab an al fresco cocktail or two at Taps.

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Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets

Doubt the awesome power of the outlet mall, do you? You'd have to hit 30 separate boutiques just to get through the roster of shoe stores at Orlando Premium Outlets' Vineland Ave. location. I hope you had a good breakfast. Indeed power-shoppers, both local and imported, find impressive savings on preferred brands at this, one of two such centers in town. From Burberry to Barney's New York, Coach to Cole Haan, Talbots for the preppies, True Religion for the trendies and Armani for the fashionistas (not to mention more than a hundred other venues), if your plastic doesn't melt, you could easily spend a day â€" and a reasonable percentage of your kids' college tuition savings â€" perusing its breezy passageways.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: OPO offers luxury for less. $200 for a pair of hot shoes is doubtless pricey; you'll feel better when you see them retail for $695.

A.D.'s expert tip: Visiting from abroad? No worries. Orlando Premium Outlets - Vineland Ave. has an on-site currency exchange. Note that parking can be a challenge if you don't come early.

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The Mall at Millenia really is something else. Glittering, soaring, rife with luxury shopping that boasts the likes of Chanel and Emporio Armani, Tag Heuer and Rolex, Jimmy Choo and Cartier alongside familiar department stores like Macy's and Bloomingdale's and mall staples such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor, this is where the well-heeled go to spend en masse and the rest of the world goes to splurge â€" or just ogle, dream and enjoy a latte from Starbucks. With its tony ambiance, tonier brand names and a veritable Milky Way of satellite shopping venues and eateries, it's a favorite of locals and a must-do for the most mall-inclined of visitors.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Does the Mall of America have a Prada or Tiffany & Co.? Mall at Millenia is upscale and luxurious and yet, it's still a mall.

A.D.'s expert tip: Is your party divided between theme parking and luxury shopping? Universal Orlando is less than five miles from this mall. Divide, conquer, then meet up at CityWalk for drinks and dinner.

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Disney Springs ®
Disney Springs

Disney Springs is the umbrella name for this walkable, lakeside strand of shopping, dining and entertainment within the Walt Disney World complex. Its expansion has brought with it a host of new venues well suited to part you from your cash. There is literally something for everyone on your gift list. You can find fancy shaving gear at The Art of Shaving, stylish headwear at Chapel Hats and collectables at Crystal Arts by Arribas Brothers. There's of course every kind of Disney memorabilia you could ever think of. You can even cross off items for the foodie in your family. Disney Springs has a bunch of famous chef-owned restaurants, making gift cards or delicious goodies, good present options. Think cupcakes from Sprinkles, a bottle from Wine Bar George or Spanish food-truck fare from Pepe by Jose Andres.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Disney Springs has many magical qualities but perhaps best is what it lacks: an admission fee. Spend big or simply soak it in, your choice.

Michelle's expert tip: Disney Springs' parking garages are amazing, but even these and the ample lots can fill at peak times. Valet is available.

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Meet Michelle Spitzer

Michelle Spitzer grew up in South Florida taking many family vacations to the Orlando area. For the past 14 years, she's called central Florida home.

A journalist for more than two...  More About Michelle