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Expert Tips

 

Retail Therapy at Some of the Area's Best Shopping Centers



If you like indoor mall shopping – especially popular during the intense heat of summer - you won’t have to go far to indulge in a very satisfying shopping spree in beautiful settings. There are many options, some of them recently opened or refurbished.

Downtown St Petersburg for instance, is home to the popular and beautiful Sundial St Pete, now in its most recent reincarnation, where you’ll find a large selection of shops for the whole family, along with restaurants and a multi-screen movie theater.

A newcomer on the retail complex scene is Seminole City Center, which offers an all-inclusive “destination” experience with a host of shops, boutiques and restaurants.

The tried-and-true enclosed Tyrone Square Mall  has been around since 1972 but keeps re-inventing itself, keeping up-to-date with anchor stores, boutiques, restaurants and an ample Food Court.

Both locals and visitors alike still flock to the waterfront John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk where you’ll find a host of souvenir shops, locally-made goods and restaurants just before hopping on board a local cruise boat for a sunset cruise.

If you like a very casual outdoor scene, don’t miss Wagon Wheel Flea Market. The setting is nothing to write home about, but the bargains are!


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Wagon Wheel Flea Market
Photo courtesy of Wagon Wheel Flea Market


What started out in 1966 on a then-two-lane road has exploded into one of the area's most popular shopping venues. And while it may not be upscale or sophisticated, the fact that you can score bargains galore is a huge incentive to indulge in retail therapy. Set under cover or outside with more than 2,500 vendors offering a vast array of merchandise – both old and new – you're sure to find something for the whole family. Vendors come from all over, showcasing antiques, artwork, electronic merchandise, clothing, shoes, bedding, fresh produce and lots more. Wear comfortable shoes and plan to spend the whole day there because there's so much to see. An on-site food court provides sustenance during this unusual shopping adventure.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: It's not at all fancy but it's an amazing shopping experience. The merchandise is endless and you'll find bargains galore.

Michelle's expert tip: You only pay one dollar for parking and that even gets you a free hot dog and cold Pepsi. How can you go wrong?

Read more about Wagon Wheel Flea Market →


Largo Mall
Photo courtesy of Largo Mall

Located in Pinellas County, Largo Mall offers something for everyone with a wide selection of more than 70 shops with something for the whole family. Options range from Target, to Marshall's Bed & Bath, PetSmart, Bealls and smaller stores. For gamers, Game Stop offers new and used video games, controllers, consoles and related gear along with a friendly and helpful staff. Dining options are many and include: Sweet Tomatoes, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Chili's, Panera Bread and others. The Regal Largo Mall 8 Cinemas features reclining leather seats, multiple screens featuring new release films and a concession stand, offering the perfect pause along your shopping spree.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: You'll find one-stop shopping here with a variety of stores, very popular restaurants and a multiple-screen movie theater.

Michelle's expert tip: If you're looking for a comfy venue in which to watch first-run movies, be sure to visit Regal Largo Mall 8 Cinemas.

Read more about Largo Mall →


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St. Petersburg
Bealls Outlet
Photo courtesy of Michelle da Silva Richmond

Name brand merchandise for the whole family can be found at this popular outlet store, which has branches throughout the state of Florida, Georgia and Arizona. You'll find shoes, clothing, accessories, jewelry, make-up and bath amenities for the whole family as well as bedding, toys and more at about 70 percent off department store prices. The free Monday card entitles customers 50 and older to 15 percent off their entire purchase, while the free Friday card does the same for anyone 49 and younger. The merchandise is seasonal and the selection is enough to keep you happy - and in the store - all day.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: The variety is endless and always changing and the prices are hard to beat.

Michelle's expert tip: Sign up for the free Monday or Friday card, which gives you additional discounts according to your age.

Read more about Bealls Outlet →


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HSN Retail Outlet
Photo courtesy of Michelle da Silva Richmond

Shopping tends to varied, fun and full or surprises at the various HSN Retail Outlet stores scattered around the area. You can find everything from make-up and health and beauty supplies to women's and men's apparel, shoes, accessories, jewelry, luggage, cookware, bedding and more. Merchandise comes from HSN TV and HSN.com and it changes all the time. Depending on the product, shoppers will be treated to daily discounts ranging from 25 to 75 percent off of the original on-air-price. Senior discounts of an additional 10 percent are given on Tuesday for anyone 50 and older. Employees are extremely helpful, which adds to the pleasant experience.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: You'll find some really good deals here and merchandise is always changing.

Michelle's expert tip: If you're 50 and older be sure to go on Tuesday to receive an additional 10% discount.

Read more about HSN Retail Outlet →


Westfield Countryside Shopping Center
Photo courtesy of Westfield Countryside


Formerly known as Countryside Mall, this refurbished popular shopping center located in Clearwater is one of the area favorites for shopping, dining and entertainment. You can shop till you drop in some 120 premium stores, designer boutiques and four anchor stores offering a plethora of colorful merchandise. Movie buffs are sure to enjoy the state-of-the-art 12-screen movie theatre with top-run films. When you need substance the roster of restaurants includes P.F. Chang's, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and others. Take a break from shopping and chill out with the whole family on the ice-skating rink, centrally located in the middle of the mall.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: It's a one-stop shopping experience with fun entertainment - such as movies and an ice-skating rink - along the way.

Michelle's expert tip: Valet parking is available for $5 at Restaurant Row, making shopping even easier - especially during the busy shopping season.

Read more about Westfield Countryside Shopping Center →


Ellenton Premium Outlets


Located about 30 miles south of St Petersburg, Ellenton Premium Outlets offer a host of tempting outlet stores where shoppers can literally shop till they drop in 130 designer and brand outlet stores for the whole family. Covered walkways lead past sparkling water fountains and lush, tropical landscaping to deliver you into the hands of shops including Coach, Nike Factory Store, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Chico's, Bose, Fossil, Saks Fifth Avenue, Off 5th and many more. Deals can be had throughout the year but - as you would expect - the holidays draw the most traffic as well as additional discounts. A small food court offers a respite along the way.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: You'll find some real deals here in a vast array of designer stores.

Michelle's expert tip: Experts claim that the best bargains can be found here during the summer.

Read more about Ellenton Premium Outlets →


John's Pass Village and Boardwalk
Photo courtesy of John's Pass


A hurricane in September 1848 led to the opening of this pass, which was first discovered by pirate John Levique. The rest, as they say is history, opening the door to a quaint turn-of-the-century fishing village which has since morphed into a popular entertainment complex. The look remains "rustic," but the collection of restaurants, souvenir shops, boutiques, bars, nightclubs and boat rentals are definitely 21st Century. If you feel like taking a walk on the wild side, you can feed and even hold live alligators, book a fishing charter, or a dolphin-watching cruise, pirate cruises or shelling tour adventures. You'll find something for the whole family here as shops cater to all ages and tastes.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: This is just a fun experience for locals and visitors alike with lots to do for the whole family.

Michelle's expert tip: If you want to plan one of the cruises, be sure to book ahead of time as they tend to fill up.

Read more about John's Pass Village and Boardwalk →


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St. Petersburg
Tyrone Square Mall
Photo courtesy of Tyrone Square


Open since 1972, Tyrone Square Mall has undergone several "face-lifts" since that time and remains one of the area's most popular shopping centers. Located just four miles from the Gulf Beaches, it houses a host of stores and is anchored by Macy's, Dillard's and JCPenney. In addition, there are more than 170 specialty shops throughout the mall as well as a slew of restaurants including Ruby Tuesday, Red Robin, Bonefish Grill and others. The recently expanded Food Court and Dining District offer more casual dining choices. Movie-goers will love the Cobb Tyrone Luxury 10- Theatres with reclining seats and the attached Cobbster's Kitchen & Bar, where you can dine there – or take your meal into the theater with you.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: It's one of the area's landmarks and, with each expansion, just seems to get better and better.

Michelle's expert tip: If you're a movie-goer, be sure to catch a movie at the ultra modern Cobb Luxury 10 Theatre with reclining seats and its own restaurant.

Read more about Tyrone Square Mall →


Seminole City Center
Photo courtesy of Seminole City Center

The recently debuted Seminole City Center located in the heart of Seminole is more than a shopping experience, it's a "destination." Plan on spending several hours here because between the vast array of interesting shops and boutiques, you'll be treated to a variety of dining options including the popular Chicken Salad Chick with abundant variations of "the best chicken salad in the south," Applebee's, Chipotle, Pollo Topical and many more. Another big draw is Studio Movie Grill, which combines affordable, reserved seating with a delightful movie-viewing and dining experience. Menu offerings are brought right to your seat and include signature cocktails, microbrews and spirits.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: It's the newest shopping center in the area and offers not only dining and retail experiences but it houses the amazing studio Movie Grill.

Michelle's expert tip: If you're a fan of chicken salad be sure to visit Chicken Salad Chick.

Read more about Seminole City Center →


Sundial St Pete
Photo courtesy of Sun Dial St Pete

You'll find enough to keep you busy for hours on end in this open-air, two-story shopping and dining center in downtown St Petersburg. Formerly known as the Shops at St Pete and Bay Walk, Sundial St Pete houses a variety of upscale shops, boutiques, dining venues and AMC Sundial 20, a multi-screen movie theater. There's a host of selections for men, women and children, promising a dream-come-true for shopaholics. Some of the local favorites include White House Black Market, Tommy Bahama, Swim 'n Sport and many more. When you're done with your shopping frenzy, fortification awaits in eateries such as Ruth's Chris Steak House, Sea Salt and the popular Locale Market which features freshly made artisan goods.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: The setting is beautiful and the shopping and dining options are bountiful. There are also a host of free events throughout the year.

Michelle's expert tip: Valet parking is $5 with validation from a Sun Dial merchant and $10 without validation. There is also a parking garage.

Read more about Sundial St Pete →


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Meet Michelle da Silva Richmond

Michelle da Silva Richmond is an award-winning travel editor and member of the Society of American Travel Writers and other journalism organizations. 

She has written hundreds of articles...  More About Michelle

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