Some people spend the weeks before they travel putting together all the best looks for their vacation destination. Others wait until they arrive to collect local treasures that make their holiday wardrobes just right. Whether you fly with full suitcases or stuff them when you get here, great resort shopping is definitely part of a perfect South Beach adventure.
Discount designer shopping (Fifth Street and Alton Road): South Beach's first official big box mall just opened on the residential west side of town. Here, fashionistas can comb through the giant ROSS Dress for Less store and T.J. Maxx's deeply-discounted big-name-designer inventory called "Runway." For hot handbags, sexy club looks, and a great variety of resort-ready swimwear, start here. For deeper discounts and a full day of fabulous outlet shopping at Neiman's, Saks, and Coach at the Dolphin Mall. From the Marriott South Beach and the Loews Hotel, a shuttle to the Dolphin Mall leaves every morning at 9:20 a.m.
Major retailers in one big clump (Collins Avenue, between Sixth and Ninth Street): Just a few steps away from the Park Central and the Beacon Hotel, you'll find everything you need to outfit a flawless vacation wardrobe in a single city block. From the quality basics at the GAP, Banana Republic, and Armani Exchange to the quirky accent pieces at Urban Outfitters, Quicksilver Surf Shop, and Nine West, it's possible to pack nothing but a credit card and have a complete South Beach ensemble in seconds. MAC, Sephora, and Victoria's Secret fill in the essentials and you're ready to roll.
Lincoln Road Mall (Lincoln Road, from Washington to Bay Road): While most cities host a collection of department and specialty stores cobbled together with a food court and call it a mall, South Beach has an outdoor, pedestrian-friendly main street that cuts clear across the island and offers not just traditional retailers but also art galleries, sidewalk cafes, theaters, and concert halls. The real heart of the city, Lincoln Mall is the perfect spot to meet, mingle, eat, and shop from sunrise to well after dark. Don't miss the weekend Antique and Farmer's Markets and the Saturday Gallery Walk. Hotels near Lincoln Road include the Ritz Carlton South Beach, the Albion, and the Sanctuary Hotel.