The Best Places to Go Shopping in Orlando: Our 5 Favorites
Shopping in Orlando is just as impressive as any of the city's other major attractions. Learn where to find your favorite stores with this list.
In a city that is often packed with tourists, it is no wonder that there is a ton of incredible shopping to be found. Orlando is as much a shopping destination as it is a getaway hot spot, and visitors and locals alike flock to the many stores and shopping centers that dot central Florida’s landscape. The next time you are in Orlando, check out these five best places to go shopping, and discover a side of this city’s fun that you might not have explored in the past!
The Florida Mall
There is no Orlando shopping experience quite like the Florida Mall. This is where tourists come to truly experience the pinnacle of everything Orlando has to offer, and where locals visit for day trips and kid-friendly excursions. There is something for everyone at the Florida Mall, provided you are willing to look for it! With over 250 stores, restaurants, and more, this mall can take a long time to explore, so be sure to give yourself a half day or more to fully experience its wonders.
The Florida Mall brings in over twenty million guests a year. With numbers like that, it is fair to expect a crowd when you visit. January and February are the least crowded months at this mall, excluding President’s Day weekend. If you are in town right before the holidays, it can be a chaotic mess trying to get in here. Otherwise, the crowds stay pretty steady and manageable. There is a massive parking lot with free parking, so as long as you don’t mind a bit of a walk from the distant spaces, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a place to park.
This mall is full of exciting stores. Check out common mall staples such as Aeropostale, American Eagle, and Pandora, and then head over to the kid-friendly inclusions such as Build-A-Bear Workshop and the American Girl store. Kids can also explore the Crayola Experience, a fun-filled, hands-on store with plenty of activities to keep them busy all day long. There is even a hotel inside the Florida Mall, which is most commonly frequented by overnight visitors from the airport. Truly, there is always something to see in this exciting shopping venue!
The Florida Mall is located at 8001 South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando.
The Mall at Millennia
Orlando’s other major mall experience, the Mall at Millennia, is very different from its sprawling cousin down the street. This is a chic, classy, and sophisticated mall frequented by wealthy locals and visitors who want to purchase something from a more specialized store. Despite its catering to an affluent group of customers, the Mall at Millennia remains one of the most popular places for middle-class locals to simply walk around and enjoy. It is very clean and crisp inside, and beautifully decorated. Window shopping is a must here, even if you can’t afford to shop in most of the stores!
Step into the Mall at Millennia and you’ll feel like you’re in some kind of shopping spa. A small waterfall greets visitors in the main entrance, and the two-level shopping center is lined with bright, open windows and plenty of beautiful design characteristics as well. Even the parking lot, with its landscaping and water element, is a beautiful welcome to this stylish mall.
While visiting the Mall at Millennia, be sure to stop in the Apple Store and experience the fun that it has to offer. You can play with all of Apple’s latest products right in the store, whether you have any intention of buying one or not, and check out all the newest tech gadgets to hit the shelves. On the second floor, visit Tiffany & Co., where you can admire all the glamorous, sparkling jewelry for sale. This mall also features a large Vera Bradley store, a Michael Kors galleria, a Louis Vitton shop, and, for your dining pleasure, a beautiful P.F. Chang’s. For something a little less classy, more kitschy, and just as entertaining, visit the massive IKEA that shares a parking lot with this mall.
The mall at Millennia is located at 4200 Conroy Road in Orlando.
Head over to Artegon for a pseudo-farmer’s market shopping experience at a recently converted indoor shopping center. This rustic shopping experience calls itself an “anti-mall” and prides itself on featuring unique Orlando merchandise from local vendors and small businesses. Artegon is all about keeping Orlando shopping in the family, so to speak, by including as few larger chain corporations as possible in its store roster (although there are a handful, such as Bass Pro Shops). It may be more accurate to call Artegon a regional marketplace. After all, it offers one-of-a-kind shops that can only be found in central Florida.
Don’t go to Artegon if you are looking for department stores or traditional shopping experiences. If you prefer to step outside the boundaries of a normal shopping trip, however, definitely check it out! Purchase some locally-harvested organic honey made from real Florida orange blossoms, then head over to nurture your nerd side at Gods & Monsters, the second-largest comic and fandom store in the country. Pick up a carnivorous pitcher plant or a perfectly cultivated bonsai tree to bring home from Elemental Bonsai before playing a game of blacklight miniature golf inside the shopping center itself.
Kids will love Artegon just as much as adults. In the center of the marketplace there is a tightrope course built all the way up to the ceiling. Kids can strap in to safety harnesses and run and play on the ropes along the Sky Trail while parents watch from the ground below. At one end of Artegon there is a Cinemark movie theater, and kids are also sure to be intrigued by several of the stores throughout the shopping center. Where else can they find real handcrafted and hand-painted boomerangs for sale, or a food court kiosk that serves nothing but Belgian waffles?
Artegon is located at 5250 International Drive in Orlando.
Mills 50 is a downtown Orlando shopping experience focusing on the improvement of locally owned small businesses in the city. It is part of a revival of downtown Orlando, and over the past few years, this grass-roots project has greatly improved the majority of its surrounding area. Now, foot traffic is much more common (and much safer!) than it used to be in this part of town, and local businesses are able to draw in many more customers than they once could have. This Orlando Renaissance has brought several new stores to the scene as well, and Mills 50 has quickly become a favorite place for locals to shop and dine.
Mills 50 refers to an area encompassing a large chunk of North Mills Avenue and part of East Colonial Drive, otherwise known as Highway 50, in downtown Orlando. Parking is mostly on the street, often with meters, but you may be able to find a parking lot or garage nearby. Start your trip to the Mills 50 area by exploring the popular Asian market right on Highway 50, then step into the local bubble tea shop for a taste of a truly unique drink. Grab lunch at Yum-mi Sandwiches, then pick up a vegan and gluten-free dessert at Rhapsodic Bakery. Finish up your afternoon with a relaxing hour or two at the Salt Room before grabbing dinner at Ginza. Last but not least, join fellow partiers at BART, an arcade and bar combination, to finish off your night.
It is very easy to fill up an entire day with shopping and exploring in the Mills 50 area. It may be less exciting for kids, since there aren’t a lot of toy shops or kid experiences in the area, but if you are willing to walk a block or two down the street you can take the little ones to let off some steam at the nearby park. Mills 50 is also right on the Florida Trail, which is a paved biking and hiking trial spanning 150 miles throughout Orlando, Kissimmee, Winter Garden, Clermont, and more.
Mills 50 consists of the space from Summerlin to Hampton Avenue moving east to west, and from Lake Rowena to Livingston Street moving north to south.
Finally, check out Disney Springs to experience shopping the way only Disney can provide. This massive shopping area is located on Walt Disney World property, but it has free admission and free parking in a brand new parking garage. Expect to do some walking if you visit Disney Springs, as it is about 120 acres in size all total, and you won’t want to miss a single shop!
From the parking garage, you will enter Disney Springs near the Cirque du Soleil tent and Splitsville, a two-story bowling venue that also features excellent dining options (including some really great sushi). From there, head to D-Street, a hip store featuring items for teens and young adults that are, of course, emblazoned with popular Disney characters. There is also a Marvel comics store in this part of Disney Springs, so superhero fans of all ages should be happy to explore its offerings. Check out the large Harley Davidson store before crossing over into the night club and bar part of the experience (an area that used to be known as Pleasure Island). From there, you can find even more stores, cafes, and restaurants, including one of the largest Disney stores in the world.
Kids will go nuts for the big Disney store, from its wall to wall toys to its massive Stitch figurehead that spits water at passersby on hot days. The LEGO store next door allows kids the opportunity for uninhibited play with a wide variety of LEGOs, and just across the pedestrian street, there is a stage where a DJ hosts a kids’ dance party complete with Disney music several times throughout the day.
Disney Springs is located at 1486 Buena Vista Drive in Orlando.
Grab your family or friends and get shopping! For a complete tour of the finest shopping Orlando has to offer, try to visit every place on this list. It can be a challenge, but you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime! If your schedule doesn’t allow you to do that, simply pick your favorites and get going. A treasure trove of great deals and incredible items awaits!
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