Deciding which mall to go to in Miami is never an easy proposition. Are you going to go to the good mall or the good good mall? Then there are the too-good-for-you malls and the so-bad-they're-good malls. Because we're always helpful, we've decided to rank the major malls in Miami-Dade for your shopping-trip-planning convenience (and not at all because it's a fun but ultimately futile debate).
13. Mall of the Americas
This place is best known for three things:
1. Being the spiritual home of chongas everywhere.
2. That time the DEA busted a 200-plant marijuana growing operation in a storage area.
It is, however, not known for its shopping. Old Navy is one of the better stores. Forever 21 opened its first store outside California here back in the day, but even it moved out once it realized it was too good.
12. Bayside Marketplace
The very existence of this place is a cruel joke. It sits on some of the most enviable real estate in the world and offers nothing but crap meant more for cruise ship passengers than locals. There's a Chili's, for crying out loud.
11. Mall at 163rd Street
First of all, no one even bothered to give this mall a real name. The sign literally just reads, "Mall Shops." Second, no one bothered to build this place a roof either. It's just a giant tent in the middle. We're not even sure if it really qualifies as an actual mall and not just two and a half strip malls cobbled together, but why would that "Mall Shops" sign lie to us?
10. Southland Mall
Listen, Hurricane Andrew was a dick, and this place has seen better days.
9. Miami International Mall
This is like the most basic suburban mall in all of Miami-Dade.
8. Sunset Place
This place is where teenage clichés go to die. The only reason anyone of legal drinking age goes there (besides to pick up their kids) is for Z Gallerie or Barnes & Noble. Plus, now with the old Virgin Megastore space sitting empty again, Nike Town gone, and Urban Outfitters recently closed, the entire west side of this place is like a no-man's land controlled by roving groups of middle-schoolers you're too afraid to make eye contact with.
7. Westland Mall
How do you feel about chintzy retro mall interiors? Because WE LOVE THEM. A pretty basic mall otherwise, but if you want to feel like you're back in the early '80s, this is where to go.
6. Village of Merrick Park
This place is like the one wonky Real Housewife in every cast. Fancy but slightly off, probably with more financial worries than its peers, she can never quite seem to figure out who she's supposed to be.
5. The Falls
A mall that bravely says, "Dammit! People down south have some money and taste too! We drive Lexuses!" It really is accordingly pretty and pleasant, though.
When we shop there, we forget we're technically in Kendall.
3. Bal Harbour Shops
How can a place so breathtakingly gorgeous make us feel so bad about ourselves -- or at least our bank accounts? The only thing we can afford there are those overpriced Marc Jacobs flip-flops and whatever weird underwear Saks has on sale. That being said, it truly establishes Miami as an international destination for the the jet set. Blah, blah, blah, blah, rich people be shoppin'!
2. Aventura Mall
This place can be a pain because it's always so crowded, yet once you're inside and shopping, you really do understand why it's so crowded. Let's face it -- it's one of the top malls in the nation by most standards, and it really is South Florida's signature shopping destination. Yet...
1. Dolphin Mall
Oh yes, we just did!
This is real Miami right here. A reminder that the Miami image of luxury and elegance is just a tourism-friendly façade tacked on to one helluva crazy town.
Sure, it's basically an outlet mall, but it's got a great selection of stores, is laid out in an easy-to-navigate loop, has a bowling alley, IMAX movies, regular movies, movies where they serve you food, that kids' party place, a Dave & Busters if that's your thing, and we already told you how we feel about unapologetically chintzy mall décor.
Dolphin Mall is basically Miami's soul in shopping center form.
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We will also never be able to get over the fact that a Versace store was once right next door to a Ross: