If Orlando conjures images of mouse ears and rollercoasters, you may be surprised to discover the city is also home to quite the shopping scene. You’ll find everything from high-end Chanel and Louis Vuitton garms at the Mall of Millenia to one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry at East End Market here. Most visiting shopaholics may flock to the Orlando International Premium Outlets to turn up a bargain, or all-encompassing Florida Mall, just near the theme parks, but locals tend to hang out along other shopping strips scattered across the city.
Venture a touch north of downtown and you’ll stumble upon Winter Park’s tree-lined streets, where you can splurge on one-off pieces at haut de gamme boutiques. Continue north to Sanford, and Renninger’s Market is where to head for the best bric-à-brac. Whatever your budget, Orlando boasts an incredible range of shopping experiences – so next time you find yourself in the theme park capital of the world, take a break from the obvious attractions and kick back with some retail therapy.
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Best places to go shopping in Orlando
Undoubtedly the best place to turn up a bargain, the Orlando Premium Outlets on International Drive are a shopaholic’s dream. Florida’s largest shopping destination offers cut-price deals of up to 50 percent off across everything from souvenirs to high-end clothing brands. You’ll find 180 stores including Coach, Adidas, Ted Baker London, Bose and Disney. And thanks to the many hotel shuttles, cabs and trolleys that service the area, getting there is a breeze.
Orlando’s upscale shopping mall, the Mall of Millenia, is a rollcall of big designer names – Saint Laurent, Chanel, Emporio Armani, and so on. But even the wallet-conscious can get their shopping fix at more budget-friendly stores such as Forever 21, J. Crew or Macy’s Department Store. The Post Office, on the first floor, offers foreign currency exchange and the opportunity to ship your merch home.
If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind high-end pieces, head to Park Avenue. This charming street in leafy Winter Park bursts with eminently visitable boutiques – Tuni, for luxury women’s clothing; Tugboat and the Bird, for the best threads for tots; and John Craig Clothier, for dapper duds for guys. Reward your shopping endeavours at the end of the day with a knockout al fresco meal.
Come to this 250-store, two million-square-foot mall to browse its comprehensive array of homewares, electronics, fashion and beauty products, and choose from a range of brilliant dining options. You’ll find everything from American Girl Dolls to anchor stores such as Dillard’s, Macy’s and the Crayola Experience.
Nestled in one of Orlando’s most historic areas, Ivanhoe Village draws shoppers with its eclectic range of craft stores and antique shops in dated buildings along Lake Ivanhoe. Flick through a truly epic vinyl selection (starting at $1) at Rock and Roll Heaven, grab a craft beer and browse one-off design pieces at Washburn Imports, and pick up a fab bottle of Bordeaux at Tim’s Wine Market.
Very much in keeping with Disney standards, Springs raises the bar when it comes to food, entertainment and shopping. More than a place to find the ideal Disney souvenir, here you’ll find a retail wonderland with some 120 shops. Adults should head to Anthropologie, Lilly Pulitzer and Johnny Was, while kids will take to the Lego Store and Build-a-Dino Workshop. Not forgetting Fido – drop by Happy Bound to pick up a treat for your fave four-legged pal.
Historic Downtown Sanford has been revitalised in recent years. Now more than 50 independent shops, eclectic dining options and craft breweries make the 20-minute drive from Orlando well worth it. Magpie’s Modern General Store puts a fresh spin on the general stores of yesteryear with handcrafted items ranging from socks to jewelry, while retro Rosie Lee Co. makes like a five-and-dime from the ’50s.
The largest market in Lake County brings together more than 200 vendors across two large buildings and a variety of outdoor shopping areas. Set amid the rolling hills of Mount Dora, around 40 minutes from downtown Orlando, Renninger’s brims with everything from antique china to pet products. For those who love the flea market circuit, this is your place.
Every Sunday, downtown Orlando hosts one of the state’s best farmers’ markets. Rotating vendors sell seasonal produce, plants, handcrafted jewelry, soap, and more. The atmosphere here is fun and laid-back – you’ll often see locals knocking back beer on the lawn under the sprawling oaks, and local singers sometimes entertain the crowds.
This two-storey neighbourhood staple may well be Orlando’s coolest, and most creative, shopping spot. Located in the quaint Garden District, East End Market plays host to Central Florida’s trendiest food entrepreneuers, tradespeople and artists. Sample the city’s tastiest cookies at Gideon’s Bakehouse, find the perfect homeware gift at Porch Therapy, and splash out on handcrafted leather products from Freehand Goods.
Got something to celebrate? Try here for presents. This quintessential American town boasts a striking promenade complete with town hall and post office, plus plenty of shopping and dining destinations. Pick up comfy resort wear at Soft As a Grape, craft essentials at The Little Thimble Craft Shop or delish cookie dough treats at the Wonderland Cookie Dough Company.
Seasoned shoppers will find a vast array of familiar retailers at Pointe Orlando. We recommend FLOW, for both men’s and women’s wear; Bowes Signature Candles, which sells more than 40 heavenly scents; and Design by U, where you can customise everything from hats to shirts. If you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll find no less than 18 excellent eateries here, too.
Need more sightseeing inspiration?
Beyond the perfectly manicured theme park grounds, Orlando boasts a world of excitement waiting to be explored. For this city overflows with charming cafés nestled along tree-lined streets, extraordinary museums, a thriving art scene, and a seemingly endless programme of world-class sporting events.