International Plaza, Tampa
Normally, I avoid malls like the plague. I hate shopping like that. However, I have a severe addiction / obsession with Sanrio products (you know, like Hello Kitty, Pochacco, etc.), and this mall houses the only Sanrio Suprises in town.
This mall is the "classy" mall of Tampa, what with stores like Saks gracing it's presence. It's right by the airport, so if you are hungry for some shoe shopping and California Pizza Kitchen right off the plane, you're in luck.
Tampa isn't exactly a shopping mecca -- nobody has ever flown here from Paris to go on a whirlwind tour through our malls. But if you really must take something home with you, there are a few places you can go. (Actually, we'd appreciate it if you spend some money here. We need the sales tax $$$...)
International Plaza is the area's "upscale" mall, centrally located near the airport. Nearby in both distance and class is Westshore Plaza. Citrus Park Town Center is another relatively nice choice in the NW suburbs.
Smaller attempts at upscale shopping areas are Channelside next to the cruise terminals downtown, Centro Ybor in Ybor City, and Hyde Park VIllage in south Tampa.
Check out http://travel.yahoo.com/p/travelguide/551867/sc/malls_and_shopping_areas for an incomplete list.
This mall is cram packed with high end stores like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Dillards, , Robb & Stucky Interiors, Aveda, Brookstone, Discovery Channel Store, Harry and David, Kenneth Cole, Kenneth Cole, Montblanc, Helzberg Diamonds, Swarovski....
In fact, I have friends who fly into Tampa just to go to this mall.
If you're not into shopping it is beautifully done and is a great place to get out of the Florida heat and go for a walk and do some people watching. Mall has several indoor playgrounds for children and comfy chairs for men to sit while waiting on the woman.
While you're here be sure to visit the Bay Front Plaza which has some wonderful restaurants and clubs. All of the clubs and restaurants here are pretty hot here in Tampa for the 28 to 45 set.
Mall also has a high end hotel - RENAISSANCE TAMPA HOTEL INTERNATIONAL PLAZA - if you're interested check for special shopping weekend packages
International Plaza is probably the mecca of high-end shopping in Tampa. I used to work at this mall, and let me tell you, it is probably THE best place in town for quality people-watching. Most natives probably wouldn't admit it, but people dress up to go shopping at this mall like they're going out for a night on the town. Tourists who visit International Plaza must think that everyone who lives in Tampa is beautiful and/or carries a Coach bag.
The mall has a Nordstroms, Dillards, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany's, Louis Vuitton, Oakley, Lladro, Abercrombie,etc.
In the evenings the Baystreet outdoors area, with all of its bars and restaurants, is very popular. One of the most entertaining ways to spend a Friday or Saturday night is to get an outside table at one of the restaurants, have dinner and a few cocktails, and watch the inevitable parade of fabulous and entertaining people who walk by.
What to buy: Expensive purses, fabulous shoes, anything your heart desires.
What to pay: It depends what you're looking for. The stores in this mall are expensive, however you can catch sales.