Thursday, 28 July 2011 3:56 PM
Miami is a fantastic city for anyone hoping to indulge in some retail therapy while travelling in the US.
Straight out of Miami Airport, you will have a wide range of choice at your fingertips, whether it is high-end boutiques or charming souvenirs from street markets in downtown Miami Beach.
Miami Beach is a great place to start. The area is home to a number of residential and leisure developments, with a high concentration of swanky malls and designer shops.
Lincoln Road Mall is one location those who have booked Miami flights will not want to miss. An open-air shopping haven, it is lined with famous stores, with French Connection, H&M and L'Occitane all owning premises on Lincoln Street.
The Village of Merrick Park is one of the more recent additions to the city's collection of upscale areas. Just a few minutes from Miami Beach, this lifestyle centre in the middle of the affluent neighbourhood of Coral Gables is host to a number of couture boutiques including Hugo Boss, Burberry and Gucci.
Continuing the luxury theme, Bal Harbour is one of Miami's most esteemed shopping experiences. Not only will you be able to peruse the wares of top outlets including Prada, Versace and Chanel, it is all set against the backdrop of a lush open-air garden, with tropical greenery and waterfalls.
Department stores Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue are the places to go if you need to stock up on holiday necessities.
If you are hoping to combine your shopping with a little sightseeing, then a visit to Bayside Marketplace may be the best option. Situated between Biscayne Bay and downtown, Bayside is renowned for its eclectic mix of international cultures and restaurants.
There are more than 100 specialty shops to choose from, including Gap, the Disney Store and Victoria's Secret. However, there is much more to see and do while out on a retail expedition, such as watching street entertainers, dining at a range of eateries or taking a boat tour of Star Island.
The Falls, another open-air mall, is located in Kendall and again offers shoppers an array of top retail outlets amid stunning scenery, with the stores all anchored around a man-made lagoon in the centre.
Flagship shops here include Macy's, the Regal Entertainment Group and Bloomingdale's. The popularity of the mall has caused a number of nearby neighbourhoods, such as Briar Bay and Colonial Palms, to be generically described as The Falls.
CocoWalk in Coconut Grove is a great place to go for younger shoppers. Located between Coral Gables and Miami Beach, this shopping centre is close to the University of Miami and is a gathering spot for college students and families. The Cheesecake Factory will be popular with children, while outlets include Banana Republic, Gap and Victoria's Secret.
Looking for great value? Sawgrass Mills – the second-largest mall in Florida and sixth largest in the US – has a fantastic selection of outlet stores and clearance lines, with sportswear, gifts, fashion and shoes all popular products.
There are around 350 retailers in the district, which is located north of Miami towards Fort Lauderdale, meaning it should have something for everyone.
For the perfect shopping experience it is important you are able to get around the city easily and Miami has a number of transport options for holidaymakers keen to hit the streets and get purchasing.
If you are really eager to go shopping, the Airport Flyer express bus route will take you straight from Miami International Airport to Miami Beach. This service runs from 6am to 10pm local time seven days a week. There are also Super Shuttle vans that whisk passengers down to Miami Beach from the airport, with most journeys taking around 30 minutes.
However, for maximum convenience taxis may be the way to go. Taxi ranks are available throughout the city, with fares usually costing around $2.50 for the first one-sixth of a mile, with a further $0.40 per one-sixth of a mile after that. Tipping is expected in the US, with the standard gratuity usually being 15 per cent.
Miami also has a very popular Metrorail system – you can find 22 stations dotted around the city and its suburbs. You will need an Easy Card to travel using this mode of transport, which are available from the vending machines at the stations.