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Tampa's top shopping venues: from historic districts to outlet malls



Tampa hosts a variety of shopping experiences from luxury shopping malls to quaint, historic shopping districts. To help you find the experience that's perfect for you, 10 Best has put together a list of your best options.

Many of Tampa's shopping malls and centers are open-air to take advantage of warm weather and beautiful sunny days. If you're looking to experience Tampa's rich ethnic history while exploring unique gift stores and eclectic boutiques, then Ybor City is where you should go. After enjoying a day of shopping and exploring, you can sample the neighborhood's popular restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

If you're looking for an open-air option that is a little more manicured and orderly there are a couple of planned shopping villages as well. The most popular is Hyde Park Village. Located in one of Tampa's most exclusive neighborhoods, this shopping district features a mix of trendy shops and boutiques with some high-end dining options.

For convenience, accessibility, selection and most-importantly, air conditioning, there are several well-designed and well-maintained modern options to choose from. For the best of both worlds, check out the upscale and conveniently located International Plaza. This large indoor mall features a great mix of luxury retailers and department stores with an outdoor area called Bay Street that hosts a few really good restaurants and bars as well.


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The biggest and best of all Tampa's flea markets, Big Top is a colorful, festival-like market with over 500 vendors, more than 1,200 booths and the Bay's most intriguing people watching. After energizing at the food court located in the central hub, venture down the aisles that radiate out from the center like spokes of a wheel. A small sampling of the wares to be found include gardening supplies, eyeglasses, toys, swords, artwork, jewelry, fashion for every style, fresh produce, collectibles and even pets. Make an offer, and make out like a bandit with armloads of treasure.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: If you're looking for a bargain, the Big Top is the biggest of Tampa's flea markets with over 500 vendors.

Skye's expert tip: Don't lose your car! Keep track of where you parked by noting the letter marked above your entrance.

Read more about Big Top Flea Market →


9
North Tampa


University Mall is conveniently located neighborhood shopping center near Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, USF and the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). Fondly referred to as "U-Mall," the complex underwent an $11 million renovation in 2008 and popular amenities were added such as a play area and Wi-Fi lounge. The Mall offers Sears, Grands, Dillard's and Burlington Coat Factory as its anchor stores along with 140 more shops featuring men's and women's apparel, jewelry, sports equipment, and much more. If you get hungry there is a variety of dining choice in their large food court.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: University Mall, located near the University of South Florida, is anchored by Sears and Dillard's with 140 additional stores to choose from.

Skye's expert tip: If you're looking for bargains, this is a good place to find them as prices are generally lower than at other mall locations.

Read more about University Mall →


Westfield Brandon


Washed in light, this glass-filled mall invites shoppers to browse among palm trees, sculpture and water features. Open since 1995, the TownCenter is one of the area's most popular venues. It's anchored by four department stores; Macy's, Dillards, JCPenney, and Sears. Included in 120 additional specialty stores are a mix of retailers that includes premium options such as bebe, Swarovski, Lush, and Coach. There is also a great mix of popular dining options waiting for the shopping-weary including the Cheesecake Factory and Bahama Breeze. Families are welcome here and the mall sponsors a variety of fun events and activities throughout the year.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Westfield Mall Brandon is a large, pleasant mall with great shopping and dining located just south of Tampa on I75.

Skye's expert tip: This is a popular mall and gets really busy on weekends which can lead to traffic backups in the area.

Read more about Westfield Brandon →


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Airport Area


Convenient to the airport, Westshore Plaza is a slightly less intimidating shopping mecca than the exclusive International Plaza but it maintains a great selection of upscale shopping and trendy dining options. The mall is anchored by Macy's, JCPenney, and Sears. Complimenting the department stores is a 14-screen movie theater and popular retailers such as The Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and White House Black Market just to name a few. Almost as impressive are their dining options that include Maggiano's Little Italy, PF Chang's China Bistro and Seasons 52 among others. There is also a food court for an easy place to pick up a quick bite.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Westshore Plaza is an upscale shopping center close to Tampa's airport with a great mix of trendy shopping and dining options.

Skye's expert tip: This is the closest full-service mall to downtown Tampa.

Read more about Westshore Plaza →




The goal in the design of Citrus Park was to lend an outdoor feel to an indoor mall, with wide boulevards, lots of windows, and burbling fountains. Amidst this delightful "Main Street" decor, a variety of 150-plus stores, including Dillard's, Gap, Macy's, Abercrombie & Fitch and the area's largest Pottery Barn, enable visitors to shop 'til they drop into a plush movie theater seat to catch a flick. If you need a break, the food court is one of the best in town and there are also 5 sit-down restaurants including BJ's Brewery and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Located about 20 minutes northwest of downtown Tampa, Westfield Citrus Park features over 150 retail stores.

Skye's expert tip: There is a large play area for children, but the star of the show is the two-story carousel.

Read more about Westfield Citrus Park →


5
Outside the city
Tampa Premium Outlets
Photo courtesy of Tampa Premium Outlets


Located just 20 minutes from downtown, Tampa Premium Outlets offers shoppers 25% - 65% savings every day at more than over 100 designer and brand name retailers. Anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, the mall features other big names including Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger. In addition to fashion and sportswear, there are a good selection of shoe, jewelry, accessory, and leather goods stores. Shoppers will enjoy the Key West ambiance at this open-air mall that also features ample lounge and seating spaces when you need to take a break. Very family-friendly, there is a play area for the kids, nursing lounges, and stroller rentals. Food options include several counter options as well as the 50s-inspired Johnny Rockets if you're looking for table service.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Premium Outlets is Tampa's only outlet mall and features great deals on a wide variety of designer brands.

Skye's expert tip: Join their online VIP Club for extra savings and promotions - it's free!

Read more about Tampa Premium Outlets →


The Shops at Wiregrass
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


This 800,000-square-foot open-air lifestyle village is one of the most picturesque malls in the Tampa area. Wiregrass strikes the perfect balance between a hub of local activity and a shopping destination. As shoppers stroll the wide, immaculate streets, outdoor music and waterfalls create a welcoming environment while rocking chairs and pocket parks offer restful respites. Over 100 stores and restaurants line the sidewalks, so visitors can indulge in tasty treats while happily collecting armfuls of shopping bags. Wiregrass is located near the junction of I-75 with I-275 and is definitely worth the stop if you're in north Tampa.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: The Shops at Wiregrass, located in northeast Tampa, is an open-air, village-style mall with over 100 stores to choose from.

Skye's expert tip: The mall also hosts popular, family-friendly events, including a bimonthly fresh market.

Read more about The Shops at Wiregrass →


Ybor City
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


This historic district, named after a 19th-century cigar maker, lies northeast of downtown and is pronounced "Ee-bore" City. Notable for its Latin culture and historic architecture, there are also eclectic boutiques, nightclubs and restaurants lining the streets. Perhaps the most lively neighborhood in the city, Ybor is a pedestrian-friendly, people-watching haven for explorers, strollers and club-goers. The district is a great place to buy cigars, listen to jazz, and get a feel for the heartbeat of Tampa. Centro Ybor, a one-stop shopping and entertainment venue at the junction of Seventh Avenue and Nineteenth Street, attracts crowds with upscale restaurants, clubs and shopping.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: The quaint and charming streets of Tampa's historic district, Ybor City, are lined with unique and eclectic shops and boutiques.

Skye's expert tip: If you're looking for souvenirs or gifts with a Tampa flair, this is the place to shop.

Read more about Ybor City →




Tampa's International Plaza and Bay Street is the city's premier shopping mall featuring three upscale department stores and over 200 high-end specialty shops as well as more affordable stores. If you need a Burberry, Tiffany, or Louis Vuitton fix while in town, head to International Plaza. Tired of shopping? International Plaza also hosts over 30 eateries and bars both within the mall or on Bay Street, the adjacent open-air village of fine restaurants and small boutiques. Located next to Tampa's international airport, you can make International Plaza your first stop or your last stop out of town.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: International Plaza is Tampa's flagship shopping mall featuring over 200 high-end specialty shops.

Skye's expert tip: Featuring mostly upscale shopping, this is a great place to find luxury items and designer names.

Read more about International Plaza & Bay Street →




South of downtown, in Tampa's oldest and most affluent neighborhood, is one of the city's most upscale shopping destinations. The 265,000 square foot Hyde Park Village shopping district covers seven blocks of street retail, offices and dining. The open-air environment offers a park-like atmosphere with outdoor pathways and seating and is a fantastic place to people-watch and window shop. Thankfully most of the walkways are covered, so you don't have to pay too much attention to the changeable Tampa weather. Many of the shops are local and independent, but there are also some prominent chains such as Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Bahama, and Pottery Barn.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Hyde Park Village is a charming and fashionable neighborhood shopping district with unique boutiques, trendy shops and popular dining spots.

Skye's expert tip: The movie theater, Cinebistro, is also a fine dining establishment that serves your meal while you watch a film.

Read more about Hyde Park Village →


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Meet Skye Rodgers

Skye is a freelance writer that adopted Tampa as her hometown over a decade ago and never looked back. As a native of Canada, Skye has happily embraced the no snow climate, and in her spare time...  More About Skye

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