Shopping - Sarasota County Blog

Shop Sarasota County's Mall Scene

Sarasota County's mall shopping scene is endless. From major shopping destinations such as The Mall at University Town Center or Westfield Sarasota Square, to the boutique shops of Southgate Mall, enjoy an overview of the Sarasota County mall scene.

One could spend days, weeks -- even months -- making the journey through Sarasota's endless array of shops, boutiques and department stores. Lucky for you, we've simplified the process and selected five shopping venues that include Sarasota's newest mall, two staple malls, one outlet mall and a shopping plaza.


The new kid on the block
Brace yourself for a world-class fashion-and-dining destination that has taken Sarasota County by storm. The Mall at University Town Center, located on east University Boulevard near I-75, opened its doors October 2014. The 880,000-square foot, two-level shopping center features more than 100 fashion-and-lifestyle retailers and restaurants where you can shop, eat, drink and be merry!

The mall features three two-level anchor stores: Saks Fifth Avenue, which occupies 80,000-square-feet; Macy's, 160,000-square-feet; and Dillard's, 180,000-square-feet. Retailers such as Anthropologie, H&M, Lilly Pulitzer, Lululemon Athletica, Aldo, BCBG Max Azria, Bebe, Calypso St. Barth, J. Crew and local clothier Jackie Z Style Co. have also taken up shop in the beautiful University Town Center, as well a chic Apple store.

For the beauty addicts, there's Aveda, Bath & Body Works, Brow Art, Diventi Bella, Kiehl's, L'Occitane, LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, MAC and Sephora -- and the list keeps going, all the way to The Art of Shaving. If you're looking to spruce up your home, check out Crate & Barrel, LoveSac, Pottery Barn and Z Gallerie. And for stylish children's fashions, Gymboree, Gap Kids and Jamie & Jack should do the trick.

But the shopping options don't end there. In addition to yoga apparel chain Lululemon Athletica, which closed its small showroom on Pineapple Avenue and reopened an enormous showroom at UTC, athletes can find the perfect gear for sweaty workouts at Champs Sports, Fit2Run, Foot Locker and Tina Stephens.

The culinary delights range from BRIO Tuscan Grille, The Capital Grille and The Cheesecake Factory to Kona Grill and Seasons 52.


Sarasota County staples
Located just minutes from the downtown city of Sarasota, Westfield Southgate continues to remain a shopping epicenter. The mall, which opened in 1956, recently completed an $8 million renovation that features upgraded furnishings, fixtures, landscaping and color schemes and offers dedicated seating areas for shoppers to relax.

Westfield Southgate continues its upscale transformation with the addition of specialty shops to the existing 36 and a new movie cinema.

Slated to open in 2015 is a luxurious seven-screen Cobb CineBistro cinema. Prepare to be pampered, wined and dined in ultra-chic leather rocking chairs, in-theater dining featuring a fresh, chef-created American Bistro menu, a full bar-and-wine list and specialty cocktails. The Cobb CineBistro will feature first-run movies and independent films in a 35,000 square-foot theater with 3D capabilities for adults age 21 and older. Guests can also enjoy a bar, dining lounge and patio.

In December 2014, Southgate welcomed upscale jeweler TreborStyle, featuring exclusive and unique jewelry handcrafted by European merchants. This year, three new stores will also join Southgate: Abercrombie and Fitch, an American retailer selling casual wear for young adult consumers, is scheduled to open a 4,700-square-foot space this May; beach-themed retailer Island Purveyor featuring Tommy Bahama will open a 4,200-square-foot shop in June; and Alexander's, men and women's fashion retailer with a European twist, will open a 4,400-square-foot space also slated for June.

From the Macy's anchor store, Ann Taylor, Coach, White House Black Market, Francesca's Collections and Chico's to Cali Day Spa, Bare Minerals and the delightful Ziti restaurant, Southgate mall truly is a resort-shopping destination.

But Southgate isn't the only Westfield location. Situated south Sarasota, Westfield Sarasota Square features a comprehensive collection of favorite stores ranging from Sephora to the Suncoast's only Costco. The center also features the Suncoast's largest and roomiest IMAX movie theater. Hosting shops such as Hollister and Co., Charlotte Russe, American Eagle, Buckle and Forever 21, the mall is a popular shopping venue for young adults -- especially now that the Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy shop are open. Dining options include Hurricane Grill & Wings and Ruby Tuesday and Yoder's Marketplace, while food court options range from Charley&'s Grilled Subs and Chick-fil-A to the Panda Express.


On a budget
Just a hop, skip and a jump from I-75's Exit 224 lands you at Ellenton Premium Outlets, a collection of 130 designer and name brand outlet shops in a charming outdoor setting. The shopping possibilities are endless, for guests have their pick of Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, J. Crew, BCBG Max Azria, Coach, Kate Spade New York, Banana Republic Factory Store, Aeropostale, Under Armour, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, and more -- all with savings of 25% to 65%.

For lengthy shopping days that require treats, snacks or lunch-and-dinner breaks, visit the food court, where you'll find options like Fresh Burger, Hawaiian Grille, Ramo's Deli, Quality Street Café and Villa Pizza. Stationed throughout the mall grounds are Starbucks Coffee, Auntie Ann's Soft Pretzels, Hershey's Ice Cream, and Kilwin's Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream.

North of University Boulevard on Cooper Creek Boulevard -- directly across from the UTC -- are the Shoppes at University Town Center. This shopping plaza features an eclectic mix of national retailers and top restaurants. In addition to Nordstrom Rack, Total Wine and Pier 1 Imports, anchor stores include JoAnn Fabrics, Marshall's HomeGoods and Ross Dress for Less. The center boasts more than one dozen restaurants including BoneFish Grill, LeeRoy Selmon's, Carmel Café and Pei Wei, plus other retailers such as Fit2Run, Shoe Carnival, Guitar Center, Party City and LA Fitness, with BJ's Wholesale Club just around the corner.