Archive - March, 2012

International Plaza: The Go-To Place For Shopping In Tampa

International Plaza is the epicenter of shopping for the Tampa Bay area. It’s beautifully designed, with an open-air marketplace area, many elegant stores, and an inspiring environment.

This mall is big, bold and beautiful, and it has some of the usual high-end mall stores like Apple, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Victoria’s Secret. But this mall is worth a visit because it has so much more to discover. Skip the Starbucks and try something new- the Nordstrom e-bar offers incredible seasonal pastries and perfectly crafted espresso drinks.

 

Bay Street is an open-air dining and entertainment district that’s attached to the mall.  One of the highlights of Bay Street is this little Italian gelato shop: Gelateria Del Duomo. They have a full array of authentic Italian gelato, which is very hard to find in Florida!

Tory Burch is another new arrival to Florida, and her International Plaza store is just divine.  Hipsters and teens love Urban Outfitters for their quirky-chic clothing, toys, home decor and accessories. The International Plaza Urban is big, bright and chock full of everything cool.  Zara is a Spanish clothing store that offers well-crafted, reasonably priced apparel for men and women. Zara can be pricey, but they have really great sales, so it’s always worth checking out!

Ballard Designs’ luxurious French country home furnishings and accessories offer plenty of inspiration for home decorators. Z Gallerie is another hard-to-find home furnishings shop, and they have a large, attractive showroom in International Plaza. They offer oversized furnishings and accessories at reasonable prices.

Forever 21 is your go-to place for affordable, trendy teen fashions. Their International Plaza store is big and splashy, with a full range of merchandise for work, school, and play.  Gucci only has a few stores in Florida, and one of them is right here in Tampa. If you’re craving some incredible shoes or a sexy python bag, this is your place!

H&M recently began opening stores in Florida, much to the delight of Florida fashionistas. They have edgy, current merchandise that they turn over quickly, so when they want to clear it out, they have amazing sales. On the day I visited, they had cocktail dresses for $7 and winter coats for $5!  Only a few H&M stores in the US get the limited-edition designer merchandise, and the International Plaza store is one of them. This is the recently featured Donatella Versace collection.

 

The entire mall is bright and  open, with elegant courtyards and relaxing, plush seating areas.  Even the food court is beautifully designed, featuring hand-blown glass art from local artists at the Dale Chihuly gallery. International Plaza is great for all ages- I saw senior citizens mall-walking, fashionistas doing serious shopping, and moms with kids enjoying the bright, uplifting atmosphere- and this fun playground in one of the courtyards!  If you’re looking for the best place to shop in the Tampa Bay area, your first stop should be International Plaza and Bay Street. Enjoy your visit and let me know how you like it!