Sawgrass Mills#8 in Best Things To Do in Fort Lauderdale
Located in Sunrise, Florida – about 14 miles west of downtown Fort Lauderdale – Sawgrass Mills mall is a shopping destination like no other. Known by locals simply as "Sawgrass," it is the largest outlet mall in the United States. Within the 350-store complex, you will find a variety of retail sections with shops ranging from budget-friendly options like a Super Target, Marshalls, J.Crew Factory and Nike Factory Store to the Colonnade's exclusive luxury-brand outlets like Tory Burch, Prada, Jimmy Choo and Kate Spade. Sawgrass also houses an IMAX movie theater two Starbucks coffee shops, a post office, two food courts and several restaurants, including The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Rainforest Cafe (a great spot for families) and Zinburger wine and burger bar. If you hope to see the entire mall, plan on spending at least one full day here.
Sawgrass Mills is such a major shopping destination that it is not uncommon to see vacationers wheeling empty suitcases around the mall and filling them up with their purchases as they shop. Though Sawgrass Mills no longer offers an official tour bus to and from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, there are third-party direct shuttles and town car services available. Still, the best way to travel to and from the airport (and around South Florida in general) is by renting a car of your own. To cater to international travelers, the mall even has its own currency-exchange station.
Recent visitors note that the mall can become extremely crowded – especially on weekends and around the holidays – and you may have to search for a spot in the free parking lot. To avoid these issues, get to the mall at opening time or plan your visit for a weekday. You can also look for a parking space in a less popular corner of the mall or opt for valet parking (between $10 and $25) outside of the Oasis and Colonnade sections, or in front of the new Seasons 52 restaurant. Sawgrass is open from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Holiday hours vary. To plan your shopping expedition, visit the Sawgrass Mills website.
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#1 Fort Lauderdale Beach
Want a beautiful Florida beach without a crazy party scene? Fort Lauderdale Beach may be just what you're looking for. Here you'll find a calmer and less chaotic version of Miami Beach – but with the same sugary sands and crystal clear water. There are still parties, but you're more likely to find families relaxing or leisurely walking the waterline than raucous groups of college kids. Backing the shoreline, the palm tree-lined promenade bustles with visitors looking to shop and dine in the many establishments along it. There are also beach chair and water sports equipment rentals near the shore.
Recent visitors loved Fort Lauderdale Beach for its wide, expansive shoreline, with some noting that even when there were a lot of people, it didn't feel crowded. Many were also impressed with how clean the beach is, adding that its calm waters make it a great place to bring kids.
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