Unfortunately, when it comes to shopping in Miami you are faced with two problems. Firstly, the big chains of ‘I’ve seen it all before’ dominate the city. This weekend it’s Miami Fashion Fest (21-23 October) so you might notice a few good deals or discounts in the larger stores. Secondly, although the innovative interior design stores of the Design District make for fabulous window shopping, they rarely fit our humble budgets.
Once you’ve ticked off our 10 cheap things to do in Miami, find a few more bargains in our dedicated guide to shopping in Miami. And because everyone feels so much better shopping on a full stomach, we’ve found a few of Miami’s best bargain fuelling stations (cheap cafes, restaurants and budget bars in Miami) to boost your energy levels along the way. You’re most welcome.
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Antique & Flea Market
Located in Miami Beach, the market runs from October through May on two Sunday mornings a month. As with most things the best sales are for the early birds so drag yourself out of bed for old school antiques and stylish fashionistas selling thrifty homemade frocks. Admission is free and upcoming dates include 10th & 24th October and 7th & 21st November. The spot itself is rather nice for aimless wandering and people-watching over brunch.
Lincoln Road Mall.
Ice Box Cafe
Just down the road from the Antiques and Flea Market lies a little slice of heaven. Raspberry chocolate mousse, coconut buttercream cake and Florida’s own delicious deep-dish key lime pie, we say skip the mains and go straight to the decadent desserts. But if you’re coming from the morning flea market, they do a delicious brunch of home-baked granola parfait, stuffed French toast or the hearty sausage, eggs and bacon combos, some given a Mexican twist. Remember your getting 2 meals in 1 with brunch, so it’s a good budget clincher.
1657 Michigan Avenue
Douglas Gardens Thrift Shop
No doubt you’ve ogled the ornate furniture and homeware displays in Miami’s Design District but hung your head at the price tag. Located in the not-so-fashion conscious Liberty City, Douglas Gardens Thrift Store is the place to get realistic. There are real gems to be had in here, but finding them might require some light rummaging or a beady eye in this large sprawling warehouse.
5713 NW 27th Ave
Books & Books
We’re so used to large chains it’s something of a wonderland to walk into local and independent bookstores. Books & Books, established by a community of writers and readers, presents a carefully curated selection of good reads and page turners. The place is perfect for idly perusing graphic novels, coffee table staples, indie literature and an extensive range of magazines and periodicals.
927 Lincoln Road
If you find yourself in Miami on the last Friday of the month, locals descend on Little Havana particularly along Calle Ocho to celebrate the late-night gallery openings for Viernes Culturales. There’s a lively street fair, you can pick up the odd free glass of wine at exhibitions then stop for a spot of tapas at Casa Panza. They hold racy Flamenco dancing three nights a week and it’s a fun, firm local favourite.
1620 SW Eighth St.
Scrapbooks & Stuff
Like getting stuck into to a bit of gluing, folding, sewing, bookmaking and gift making? Scrapbooks & Stuff is your one stop shop for specialist craft goodies. Beautiful one-of-a-kind paper samples, different types of glue, albums and beginner kits. They even host Girls Night Out sessions every Friday and scrapbooking classes with all the latest techniques.
9854 SW 118 Ave
As much a place to shop as a place to just hang, explore everything from art, accessories, music, clothes and homeware on display. Some might call it empty, we call it editing, and for that reason, have a good nose about and see what products made it through the understated cool test and on to the shelves.
939 Lincoln Rd
For dog and cat lovers, the shop is fabulous eye candy. For the less pet enthusiastic, this place just leaves the mind boggled. “I love my two daddies” T-shirts, cowhide couches and a sweet treats doggy bar, it’s all here.
1684 Jefferson Ave
The place has gained a positively cult following. C. Madeline’s is one giant dressing-up box with all that glitters, twinkles and rings true vintage. You might be lucky enough to find one or two bargains inside the 10,000 square-foot boutique. But it has museum quality pieces with beautiful era-specific designs costing anything up to $60,000 for a mink coat for example. All good fun even if you leave empty-handed.
13702 Biscayne Blvd
Housed in an old tyre change pit stop, the brick oven bakes hearty cheap pizzas. The best tables are outside with the likes of Sinatra and other swooning crooners playing in the background.
5600 Biscayne Blvd
Shopoholics and fashion die-hards all have a keen sense of style, and there are plenty of Miami hostels to cater for the design-conscious. Of course, the more sensible reasoning is that staying at a hostel in Miami means you’ll save your money for more important things like bags, shoes and cocktails!
Located just across from the beach and right in the heart of the Art Deco District, Miami Beach International Traveler’s Hostel offers a free breakfast, lunch and free dinner! Staff are happy to take you out on the town to the nearby clubs or you can relax on the terrace with free drinks at happy hour from their own bar.
Guests are well positioned, right on the infamous Ocean Drive at the Deco Walk Hostel. There are magnificent views of the beach from their roof terrace and the hostel hosts a number of events such as beach volleyball, movie nights and BBQs. All rooms are en-suite and have security lockers, mini refrigerators and clean linen.