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 located close by.

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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This waterside collection of retailers, nightlife, and restaurants is centered on an attractive, European-style brick plaza that features palm trees, fountains and umbrella-shaded tables. An urban oasis of sorts, Channelside offers the downtown crowd a pleasant escape from their steel and glass offices. The popular shops here carry wares ranging from premium cigars, coffee, and wine to oil paintings and tropical apparel. In addition, the center features a handful of restaurants including the popular Thai Thani and Hooter's. If you like bowling, check out Splitsville that combines a modern, well-maintained bowling alley with an upscale restaurant and lounge.


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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, Macy's, 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.


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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.


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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. Their is also a food court for an easy place to pick up a quick bite.


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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.


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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 is 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.


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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.


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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.


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International Plaza & Bay Street


 

When International Plaza was built, it changed the shopping landscape in Tampa. Located right next to the airport, it's our "fancy" mall, with shops that had not previously had a presence in the Tampa market like Nordstrom's and Gucci. The mall features three upscale department department stores and over 200 high-end specialty shops. In addition to great shopping, International Plaza is an entertainment center featuring over 30 eateries and bars either within the mall or on Bay Street, the adjacent open-air village of fine restaurants and small boutiques. If you need a Burberry, Tiffany, or Louis Vuitton fix while in town, head to International Plaza.


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South of downtown, in one of Tampa's oldest and most affluent neighborhoods, 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 some prominent chains such as Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Bahama, and Pottery Barn.


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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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