Orlando is definitely best known for its theme parks, but did you also know that you can spend hours, no actually days, shopping? It’s true! There are so many shopping destinations in this part of sunny Florida and you can take advantage of them all in between your trips to the theme parks and all your favorite rides!
Here are the best places to go shopping in Orlando:
No one can visit the city of Orlando and not spend any time down in Disney Springs! This shopping and restaurant mecca can be found next to a lake and you will find yourself wandering around here for hours. Children of all ages will love perusing the small pieces inside the LEGO Imagination Center, while little girls will want to be pampered inside Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Of course, you will want to grab all things Disney, whether it is clothes, home décor, or a simple souvenir from all the stores. Just don’t forget to grab a bite to eat when you are there. T-Rex Café, The Boathouse, Raglan Road Irish Pub, and D-Luxe Burger are a few excellent and delicious options.
The Mall at Millenia
It is all about the glitz and the glamour at The Mall at Millenia, where there may be more higher-end boutiques than regular big box stores. However, that doesn’t mean that you will not have the experience of a lifetime as you wander through these stores thinking of how fabulous you would look if you owned it all. Window shopping might be the only thing that you do at this mall, unless you are prepared to splurge. We do recommend simply soaking in the ambiance of it all and reveling in the fact that you are at an out of this world destination.
Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores
If you are very budget conscious, then you will love the deals that you will find as you peruse the stores at Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores. All your favorite stores are here and there is a good chance that your hotel offers a free shuttle to this little piece of shopper’s paradise. The little ones will enjoy the experience as well, because there is a playground where they can run around and play in between.
Orlando Premium Outlets on International Drive
More outlet stores can be found over on International Drive, seven hundred thousand square feet of them to be exact. This shopping destination requires a bit of work though, as the stores are scattered amongst two malls and four shopping strip centers. You’ll want to stay organized and know where you are going, so that you do not miss any of the deals that can be found at the Orlando Premium Outlets. These stores are a big hit with international visitors, who can find amazing deals on iconic American brands and fashion clothing lines. They are known to purchase new luggage (at outlet prices, of course) just to carry all their purchases home.
The Florida Mall
This mall is a little more reasonably priced, which is evident with the twenty million plus visitors that go there each year. Situated just minutes from the Orlando International Airport and the Central Florida attractions, including Walt Disney World Resort, this is the area’s largest shopping mall. You’ll find over one and a half million square feet of space filled with over two hundred and fifty stores and restaurants. The Florida Mall is the only place in Central Florida where you will find the M&M’s World store, American Girl, Carlo’s Bakery and The Disney Store. If you have a family, you will love all the child-friendly options, including the Crayola Experience attraction.
Winter Park Shopping and Dining District
Park Avenue can be found in the quaint and charming village of Winter Park. This totally walkable area will take you back in time as you stroll along the cobblestone streets and ponder what it would have been like there when the area began to take shape more than a century ago. Unique boutique shops mix with upscale versions of favorites like Pottery Barn and The Gap. Excellent restaurants and sidewalk cafes offer everything from gourmet meals to a quick coffee or adult beverage.
Special art events and seasonal festivities held under the oak canopy of Central Park add to the appeal. Held in the historic train depot, the Winter Park Farmer’s Market offers Saturday morning visitors fresh produce and handmade foodstuffs from cheese to baked goods to specialty hot sauces.
This area can get crowded, so be prepared to search for parking on the street or simply park in one of the nearby garages. We recommend getting here early, so you do not need to wait in line at the stores or the local restaurants and cafés. Although, everything that you see and do will be well worth the time that you spend acquiring it.
The East End Market
If you want to only have unique experiences when you are down in Orlando, they we suggest avoiding the main shopping areas and venturing over to the East End Market instead. This market is open seven days a week, but the hours do vary according to the day. The market has two stories and it is full of works of art, freshly selected produce, and a large variety of ready to eat food. You will love the live cooking area, as they will show you how to prepare numerous types of different foods.
If you have never been to this market before, you will want to check out Gideon’s Bakehouse. This bakery uses recipes that were discovered in a diary from 1898 and they urge people to preorder their baked goods if they want more than a couple of items. They sell out of everything that they make each day, which is why it is a good idea to get there as early in the day as possible for the largest selection. Their cookies are massive and weigh just under a half pound each, so it is not likely that you will need more than one for your treat of the day!
These are the best shopping destinations in Orlando and Central Florida, and as you can see, you will find yourself doing much more than shopping when you are at any of them! Take a break from the Florida sun and the rush of the Central Florida theme parks to experience some retail therapy and maybe go home with a suitcase full of memories.