In Tampa Bay, great buys are in the bag
By Dana Damato
Tampa Premium Outlets
From the moment I slid my feet into the simple-but-chic black, slingback heels, I knew I found the perfect pair. For people like me, finding lust-worthy shoes or a pair of jeans is almost like winning the lottery. Sometimes it’s luck, and sometimes it’s knowing where to look. Fortunately, I always know where to go shopping in Tampa Bay to find exactly what I’m looking for. Tampa Bay is home to some extraordinary things—professional sports teams, world-class restaurants and pristine beaches. But, the one thing that draws in both locals and visitors is the wide range of shopping. With high-end boutiques and thrifty outlet stores, Tampa Bay is a shopper’s dream.
When it comes to variety, there’s no denying how popular national brands make WestShore Plaza a local favorite. Whether you’re on the hunt for wardrobe essentials at major retailers like H&M or Macy’s, or adorable kids’ outfits at boutiques such as Lily & Max, WestShore Plaza has it all. Walking around WestShore Plaza is a treat in itself. Grab a cup of coffee from Starbucks and make your way through the spacious shopping mall. You’ll likely find the perfect gift for a friend at Francesca’s or the latest fragrance at Yankee Candle. The best part about spending the day shopping at WestShore Plaza is the excellent dining choices when you’re ready to refuel. Stop by Mitchell’s Fish Market for some of the best seafood on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Another excellent shopping choice is the Tampa Premium Outlets, which is 20 minutes north of downtown. You can’t go wrong when looking for the best deals—because they are all right here! Every outlet store you can imagine is located at the Tampa Premium Outlets—Billabong, Adidas, Michael Kors, Converse and Guess, to name a few. You may leave with a whole new wardrobe that complements every part of your lifestyle.
Make your first stop at Hyde Park Village, a charming outdoor destination that’s perfect for an afternoon spent enjoying some of the best stores in town beneath the Florida sunshine. Choose from high-end favorites such as lululemon athletica, Anthropologie and Brooks Brothers, but also explore local gems like Salt Pines, too. The Floridian-lifestyle outfitter offers apparel, accessories and home goods essentials inspired by the charm of Southern life. Blue Moon Trading Company, a home furnishing boutique and design service, works with artisans to create distinctive, rustic statement pieces you won’t find anywhere else. If you have a furry, four-legged friend, the award-winning Downtown Dogs has the best products, from organic treats to beds as fluffy as your beloved pup.
For more high-end stores, International Plaza and Bay Street houses the crème de la crème of designer stores: Burberry, Gucci, Tory Burch, Lilly Pulitzer, Louis Vuitton and so many more. You’ll feel fancy just walking through it. Workout enthusiasts will especially like Fit2Run and The Runner’s Superstore. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab a fresh bite at Fit2Run’s FITNESS Bar or head outside to Bay Street, the plaza’s open-air bar and dining area. There you’ll find everything from the chef-driven Life Time LifeCafé to the charming ambiance of TAPS Restaurant Bar & Lounge, which always has a new beer or wine to discover.
Tampa International Plaza, located directly adjacent to the airport
There’s nothing else in Tampa Bay quite like the famous and historic Ybor City. The National Historic Landmark District blends authentic cigar shops with unique boutiques and upbeat nightlife. A must-see is witnessing cigars being hand rolled, a tradition that has kept the Cuban enclave spirited and draped in sweet smoke since the 1880s. Take in the aroma at the famous King Corona Cigars and Café where you can find some of the world’s finest handmade cigars as well as grab an imported beer or a café con leche and lunch while enjoying a fine cigar. Other specialty cigar shops that are local favorites include La Herencia De Ybor and Metropolitan Cigars. There are also several gift shops and fashion boutiques to browse through such as La France and Revolve Clothing Exchange, offering the best in modern and vintage clothing. And if you love antique shops with piles of one-of-a-kind treasures, Jezabelle & Her Wandering Gypsies is the perfect spot for you.
The TECO Line Streetcar brings riders between Downtown Tampa, Channelside, and Ybor City
Whether you’re a Floridian or just visiting, shopping in Tampa Bay is one that offers the latest fashion trends for all occasions. There’s much more to this famous Florida city besides the sunshine and sandy beaches.
Put on some comfy shoes—or buy some while you’re out—and make a day for the ultimate shopping experience.