Aventura Mall hacks: How to win at holiday shopping despite the crowds

Aventura Mall hacks: How to win at holiday shopping despite the crowds

BY CONNIE OGLE

Aventura Mall is the gleaming star in the Miami mall firmament, a small city unto itself not unlike Bethlehem, except for the fact that the traffic is terrible and not even a star rising in the east will help you find a parking space.

But be not afraid, intrepid shoppers.

We know you need to get to Aventura Mall at some point this holiday season. It’s practically a requirement and not just because there are a million stores. You’ve also got CandytopiaNickelodeon’s Slime City and the outdoor slide for the kids; an Apple Store the size of AmericanAirlines Arena; Instagrammable spots just for the holidays; and Treats Food Hall, which makes most food courts look like that dumpster out behind your office complex.

There are ways to make a trip here easier, though. Here are a few things to consider before you head out.

Be sure to check out the LED Snowfall Installation in front of Nordstrom.
Be sure to check out the LED Snowfall Installation in front of Nordstrom.

MAKE A PARKING PLAN

Parking at the Aventura Mall strikes fear in every shopper’s heart. The drivers are something out of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” only cleaner and less principled.

But for $10 you can valet at several different mall entrances: The Piazza, Bella Luna/Grand Lux, Nordstrom, the Aventura Slide Tower and on the fifth level of the Bloomingdale’s parking garage. We are generally opposed to valet parking, but in this case it might be worth it just to avoid the guy wedging a Range Rover into motorcycle spot.

Don’t want to spend that 10 bucks? Park in the garage next to the slide tower. The garage displays the number of open spots available and has indicator lights above each space to help you find openings easily.

SHOP EARLY

We can’t stress this enough. Go when the doors open. If you wait until afternoon or evening, pack patience and possibly a few Xanax because you’re going to be shopping with thousands of new friends just as cranky as you are. Or you can go late; the closer we get to Christmas, the later the stores stay open. Check the holiday mall hours before you head out.

AVOID PARTICULARLY CROWDED TIMES

Remember there’s a busy movie theater in Aventura and that the new “Star Wars” movie comes out Dec. 20. Not even the Force can help you navigate this mall at peak movie times on Fridays and Saturdays.

KNOW WHERE TO GO FOR HELP

The concierge desk on the lower level, between Pomellato and David Yurman in the center of the mall, can help with questions – and help you find your car if you’ve managed to lose it (stuff happens).

FUEL UP

In addition to the aforementioned Treats Food Hall, which includes Shake Shack and Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy!, here’s a full list of dining and drinking options. You’re going to need your strength and possibly a glass of wine. Godspeed.

 

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