It's all about malls in Broward County and, while most of the best shopping is within Fort Lauderdale proper, other areas are also worth browsing.
Dania is known as the antiques capital of the South because within 1 square mile of Federal Highway, the city has more than 100 dealers selling everything from small collectibles to fine antiques. Parking is best along Federal Highway, on the "row," where Federal Highway meets U.S. 1. For information on "Antique Row," call tel. 954/924-3627. Also in Dania is the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA), at the intersection of I-95 and Griffin Road (tel. 954/920-7997; www.dcota.com), a 775,000-square-foot interior-design center with furniture showrooms (featuring everything from ultramod to classic), designer studios, and, from time to time, fabulous sample sales. You'll never know who you may see here: just before he got hitched Matt Damon and his then-fiancée (now wife) were there furnishing their zillion-dollar Miami Beach manse.
For bargain mavens, there's a strip of "fashion" stores on Hallandale Beach Boulevard's "Schmatta Row," east of Dixie Highway and the railroad tracks, where off-brand shoes, bags, and jewelry are sold at deep discounts. Hollywood Boulevard also has some interesting shops, with everything from Indonesian artifacts to used and rare books, leather bustiers, and handmade hats. Dozens of shops line the pedestrian-friendly strip just west of Young Circle. The art galleries are clustered along Harrison Street, just east of Dixie Highway.
The area's only beachfront mall, the Gallery at Beach Place, is in Fort Lauderdale on Florida A1A just north of Las Olas Boulevard. This 100,000-square-foot giant sports the usual chains, such as Sunglass Hut, as well as chain bars and restaurants such as Hooter's. While views of the ocean are fantastic, the shopping isn't so great, with only about 12 stores, one of them being a CVS Pharmacy.
Other more traditional malls include the upscale Galleria, at Sunrise Boulevard near the Fort Lauderdale Beach, and Broward Mall, west of I-95 on Broward Boulevard, in Plantation.
If you're looking for unusual boutiques, especially art galleries, head to quaint Las Olas Boulevard, located west of A1A and a block east of Federal Highway/U.S. 1, off SE Eighth Street, where there are hundreds of shops with alluring window decorations (like kitchen utensils posing as modern-art sculptures) and intriguing merchandise such as mural-size oil paintings. On the edge of the Arts and Science District is Las Olas Riverfront, a retail complex on the water with a few restaurants, nightclubs, bars, and boutiques. While it's not worth a trip on its own, if you're in the area, you may want to take a quick stroll there.
For bargains, there's no better place than Sawgrass Mills, 12801 W. Sunrise Blvd. (tel. 954/846-0179), featuring over 350 name-brand outlets such as Off Fifth and Nordstrom Rack. Nearby is Florida's first ever Ikea, 151 NW 136th Ave. (tel. 954/838-9292; www.ikea.com), purveyor of all things sleek and Swedish -- everything from furniture to meatballs.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.