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Welcome to the Racked Awards, our annual celebration of the best in local shopping and stye.
Photo: Miami Design District
No two streets in Miami are alike and, likewise, no two neighborhoods were created equal. This city's shopping scene has changed drastically over the past few years, and a few neighborhoods are definitely worth mentioning.
Take the Design District, for instance. Where there once stood a luxury furniture store, there now probably stands a high-end luxury fashion house. Or South Beach, where one road's popular mom and pop shops have been swapped for mega retailers breathing a new kind of life into the neighborhood. Miami's retail scene is evolving faster and more surprisingly than we could have ever imagined, and it's up to you to choose the best one for 2014. The poll will close on Saturday at 1:30pm so you have 72 hours to vote, Miami.
Update: The poll is now closed. Aventura is the best neighborhood to shop at in 2014!
Besides being a haven for snow birds, Aventura is also known for having the largest mall in Florida. Ranked by Travel + Leisure as one of the most visited shopping malls in the country, the two story shopping center has a range of retailers to fit every budget, from Forever 21 to Louis Vuitton and once it completes its new three-level, 241,000-square-foot retail wing and parking garage expansion, it will be the second largest shopping mall in the country.
While Bal Harbour is facing some stiff competition from Miami's Design District, the lush neighborhood still dominates in the luxury retail game, thanks to the landmark Bal Harbour Shops. It's true, many retailers have boarded and headed due South, however we've seen a bevy of great shops open up this year alongside big name retailers that have been there since the 60s, including Rag & Bone, Maje, Charlotte Olympia and John Varvatos.
While neighborhoods around town have demised and rebuilt themselves, this Mediterranean-inspired neighborhood has always withheld its charm. Miracle Mile still stands strong as Wedding Row, however there are plenty of small boutiques scattered down and around Coral Way and Ponce de Leon Blvd., and there's a good chance your grandma, mom and every member in your family has had a dress designed and altered by one of the many couturiers in the neighborhood. You also can't forget about Merrick Park, another luxury mall comparable to Bal Harbour Shops, which was home to the first Nordstrom in Miami.
Design District is the quickest growing luxury shopping destination in this part of the woods, and soon it'll be as notable for its architecture as it is for the fashion and home design stores that are giving the neighborhood its name. Once guys like Louis Vuitton and Hermes threw in the towel on Bal Harbour, it wasn't long before a long list of others joined in on the rebel parade. We mean, just this year Rick Owens, Delpozo and Lanvin opened their doors here, and in the upcoming year even more stores are set to open.
What was once a barren plot of land along Miami's train tracks is now home to a major shopping plaza, where you can just as easily run errands at Target as you can visit small boutiques along Northeast 2nd Ave., like Supply & Advise, Ramona La Rue and Alessandra Gold. If you head a little west, you'll hit Wynwood, and while the neighborhood hasn't yet reached its prime, it's a catalyst for major artistic concepts in the city, especially small, independent boutiques.
South Beach has always been known as tourist trap, until now. There's been much fuss over the loss of independently owned stores and restaurants on Lincoln Road, however the strip has been transformed into a street where you can easily do your Black Friday shopping in a pleasant environment, stopping for lunch at an outdoor cafe while you're at it. It isn't without its gems though, including the only standalone Adidas by Stella McCartney store, the architectural award winning Alchemist, and Babalú, the most luxurious outdoor market you'll ever stumble upon. As a bonus, many of these mass retailers have additional stores down Collins, but if you are looking for that independent retailer experience, Sunset Harbour has got a list of stores like Frankie Boutique and Cottage, scattered between some of the city's best restaurants.
South Miami may not be as buzzed about as other neighborhoods, but it's also never lost its foothold in the shopping game either. While Sunset Place is a draw for some, the real draw in this local-oriented neighborhood are the small boutiques scattered around Sunset Drive that survived the recession, like Jenna White, Nikki's Beach House, and Studio LX, in addition to new ones that have popped up, like Ohm Boutiqe, Respice and the recently opened Market. There's a store here for every member of the family, and for every budget, and as a bonus, there are plenty of great, small restaurants to eat at in between shops.
· All Racked Awards 2014 Coverage [Racked Miami]