Ruby
 

Florida shopping: Exploring Sawgrass Mills

By: Jen Karetnick

December 29, 2015

Savvy travellers routinely leave a little extra room in their luggage for the return trip. They know they’ll be buying souvenirs of all sorts that need to be packed. For visitors who intend to spend their time in South Florida shopping, Sawgrass Mills is known as the largest outlet and value retail-shopping destination in the United States. However, a little designated suitcase space might not be good enough.

Florida shopping: Exploring Sawgrass Mills
The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills is an expansion that debuted in winter 2015, and its third and final stage will be complete, with seven restaurants and a free parking lot, by summer 2016  © Simon Malls

In fact, leaving the case half empty might not even do the trick. That’s because Sawgrass Mills currently offers more than 350 name-brand outlet and cut-price retail stores, including Calvin Klein, Disney Character Warehouse, Escada Company Store, Gap Outlet, Guess Factory Store, Hugo Boss Factory Store, Michael Kors Outlet, Nike Factory Store and TUMI, as well as a trio of department anchor outlet stores (Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Bloomingdale’s – The Outlet Store). But that’s okay, because those who get carried away can always purchase a new piece to cart all those goods home at Coach.

Florida shopping: Exploring Sawgrass Mills
The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills offer shoppers more than 70 luxury-brand outlets, such as Alexis Bittar, Rag & Bone and Vince, at least 60 of which can’t be found anywhere else in South Florida © Simon Malls

Still, shopaholics should know that the hundreds of stores in the main section of the mall, as attractive as they are to the purse strings, are only a drop in the drawstring bag. Beautifully landscaped, a new, open-air expansion of the complex, called The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills, is putting shop-“˜til-you-drop diehards into a veritable swoon. Built in three planned stages and decorated with eclectic alligator sculptures that honour the mall’s in-the-Everglades location, The Colonnade debuted in October, 2015 with luxury tenants Alexis Bittar, Ted Baker London and Vince, followed by CH Carolina Herrera, Helmut Lang, John Varvatos Outlet, Marc Jacobs, Rag & Bone and Tod’s – all of which are exclusive to Sawgrass Mills in the South Florida region. Additional inclusions will eventually result in seven restaurants and more than 70 retailers, including 60 that are singular to Sawgrass, such as Brunello Cucinelli, La Perla, Montblanc, The Webster and Zadig & Voltaire. Currently, The Colonnade Outlets feature five restaurants and 50 stores; come summertime 2016, pizza bistro Matchbox, which hails from Washington, D.C., will have moved in, and a free, 1,700-space parking garage will have been completed.

TFlorida shopping: Exploring Sawgrass Mills
Town Center at Sawgrass Mills is going to be a new area, to be completed in 2018, that will feature full retail stores and sit-down restaurants © Simon Malls

Like The Colonnade, The Oasis at Sawgrass, which is the outdoor dining and entertainment hub of the complex, is also undergoing a transformation that will be completed in 2016. Annually, visitors from more than 100 countries flock to full-service restaurants such as The Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen, amusements such as GAMEROOM and the Billiard Club, and cinema Sawgrass 23 Stadium & IMAX.

 

In addition, Sawgrass Mills – notably, Florida’s second-largest tourist attraction – is planning yet another addition: Town Center at Sawgrass, a full-price retail and dining plaza. Construction on this section will begin in 2017 and be completed in 2018, adding four new sit-down restaurants, 25 retailers and parking for 2,000 vehicles.

Florida shopping: Exploring Sawgrass Mills
Sawgrass Mills’ Fashion Row is where shoppers exult in bargains from popular designers such as Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Escada and Hugo Boss © Simon Malls

Clearly it’s impossible to cover the entire mall in one day; even the most serious bargain hunters have admitted defeat here on occasion. And carefully consider when to go: When you realize that an average of more than 2 million people trek to Sawgrass daily, then you get an inkling of what holidays and weekends can be like. Early mornings during weekdays are the most valuable timeframes.

 

To make the most out of a visit to Sawgrass Mills, it’s wise to check out the website first, examine the map and have a plan. Consider breaking up shopping expeditions with meals, movies and a game or two of billiards. Or make several stops within a week. After all, you’re the one who eventually, regretfully, has to leave. Sawgrass Mills is staying put.

Florida shopping: Exploring Sawgrass Mills
Sawgrass Mills is the second largest tourist attraction in Florida, and sees visitors from more than 100 countries annually © Simon Malls

Located at 12801 West Sunrise Blvd., Sunrise, FL at the crossroads of West Sunrise Boulevard and Flamingo Road, Sawgrass Mills is 15 minutes from Fort Lauderdale and approximately 35 minutes from Miami and Palm Beach. Regular mall/retail hours are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

 

Connecting you to numerous destinations across the United States and Canada, our partnership with Delta makes it simple to book a trip to Fort Lauderdale, or direct to Miami with Virgin Atlantic.

 

Have you been on a Florida shopping spree? Did you visit Sawgrass Mills? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Written by Jen Karetnick

Jen Karetnick

Miami-based poet, writer, critic and educator Jen Karetnick’s fourth chapbook of poetry, Prayer of Confession, is out now from Finishing Line Press, and her cookbook, Mango, is due October 7, 2014 from University Press of Florida. She also has a full-length book of poems, Brie Season, forthcoming from White Violet Press/Kelsay Books in late 2014. She works a million jobs, including Creative Writing Director at Miami Arts Charter School, dining critic at MIAMI Magazine, contributor to TheLatinKitchen.com, mom of two teenagers, fur-mom to six rescue pets and caretaker of 14 mango trees. Jen is currently working on her twelfth book, From the Tip of My Tongue (Story Farm Press), a cookbook with Miami and Caribbean chef Cindy Hutson.