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Fort Lauderdale

las olas boulevard

Fort Lauderdale has a fun mix of shopping spots that go beyond the usual all-American malls (though you'll find plenty of those too). Flea markets, art galleries, outlets and trendy boulevards are just a few of the offerings here -- and best of all, you'll rarely be too far from the beach when you're ready to trade in your shopping bags for some sandals.

With its boutiques and art galleries, Las Olas Boulevard is one of Fort Lauderdale's most popular shopping spots. When you tire of browsing housewares and fashions, you can grab lunch and do some people watching at one of the boulevard's many restaurants and cafes. If you're in town on a Sunday, check out the Las Olas Sunday Market, an outdoor farmer's market offering local produce and unique handmade goods.

Sawgrass Mills is a huge outdoor outlet mall that houses more than 300 stores, including Burberry, Calvin Klein, Coach, Jimmy Choo and many more at uber-discounted prices.

There's also the upscale Galleria Mall, which is located minutes from the beach and offers name-brand stores like Macy's and Neiman Marcus, as well as restaurants and refuge from the sun.

For an entirely local experience, head to the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop. The Swap Shop is a flea market with thousands of vendors selling the usual bargain wares including perfumes, cell phone cases and dirt-cheap clothing; there's also an arcade and a small sports car museum. But the real stars of the Swap Shop are the huge farmer's market, offering up local produce including tons of tropical varieties, and the large, old-fashioned drive-in movie theater showing all the latest releases.

Go early to the Festival Flea Market Mall in Pompano Beach, where more than 500 vendors are featured. Weekends are busiest, but any time is fun; you can browse stalls with antiques, new electronics and designer clothing.

Take a drive north along Interstate 95 to Palm Beach, about 50 minutes away. Here you'll find unrivaled shopping and the world's priciest boutiques and designers lining Worth Avenue, also known as the Rodeo Drive of Florida.

Antiquers shouldn't miss the Art and Antique District in Dania Beach. You'll find oodles of antiques, art and collectibles in a quaint downtown neighborhood, just a few minutes south of Fort Lauderdale by car.

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