If you are the type of shopper who loves searching for antiques and browsing through a collection of unique stores in a historic downtown district, then Ocala is the place you should be targeting for your next shopping trip.
While the region surrounding Ocala is famous for breeding thoroughbred horses, the shopping and dining options in the area are equally impressive.
Because it is located only 30-40 minutes away from the Villages of Citrus Hills, a quick trip to Ocala for dinner is not out of the question, but if you have the time to spend an entire day here you won’t run out of interesting shops to explore.
There are also plenty of interesting cultural attractions and great nightlife featuring live music throughout the town.
Shopping in Ocala
The first stop for antique lovers should be Digger’s Antique Mall, which features an impressive collection of high-end antiques in their 12,000 square foot showroom. Don’t be afraid to negotiate here, because Digger’s is known as one of the best places for wheeling and dealing!
Another great option for antiques and other used home furnishings is White Elephant, which is known for having some really interesting pieces.
Ocala shoppers will also find some great fine gift shops like Shannon Roth Collection, Olivia & Company Kids, and Ocala Tradition. These stores have everything from jewelry to collectibles, so if you are looking for the perfect gift for that special someone there is a good chance you will find it here.
For more traditional big store shopping Ocala offers all of the favorites including: Dillard’s, Macy’s, Dick’s, Target, Kohl’s, Steinmart and dozens of other clothing stores and specialty store such as Ulta, Greiner’s, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble.
Art lovers will want to check out the First Friday Art Walk, held the first Friday of each month from 6-9 p.m. between September and May. The First Friday Art Walk spans fifteen city blocks within Ocala’s historic downtown and includes several restaurants, businesses and open spaces hosting both visual and performing artists. More info: http://www.ocalafl.org/artwalk/
One of the most popular times to visit downtown Ocala is Saturday mornings because that is when the local farmer’s market is open.
The Downtown Ocala Farm Market is held in Ocala Square every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There are typically more than 60 vendors selling great items such as seasonal fruits & vegetables, dairy, meats, seafood, baked goods, preserves, honey, nuts and much more.
Ocala Dining & Nightlife
While the shopping is a great reason to visit Ocala, the unbelievable selection of fantastic restaurants is the thing that will keep you coming back again and again.
The local dining options in Ocala cover a wide range of styles including Indian food at Amrit Palace Indian Restaurant, sushi at Asian Pop, Cuban food at Cafe Havana, Thai cuisine at Royal Orchid, and French dining at La Cuisine.
If you are looking to celebrate a special occasion, Cuvee Wine & Bistro is one of the best fine dining restaurants in the area. Entrees like Lamb Porterhouse, Roasted Duck, and Cedar Plank Wild Coho Salmon jump off the menu, but there are also great appetizers and cheese flights available for lighter appetites. Wine lovers will be extremely impressed with the wine menu here as it contains nearly 50 pages of options! Another specialty, fine dining restaurant is Mark’s Steakhouse on the Square. It’s another great spot to celebrate a special occasion.
Bonefish Grill in Ocala is a favorite among Villages of Citrus Hills residents, and it’s only 30 minutes away from our doorstep, and Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille is a New Orleans style restaurant not to be missed.
If you are still in the area after the sun goes down, you will find that the activity in Ocala tends to heat up after dark.
Just as there are plenty of great options for shopping and dining, there is also no shortage of bars and nightclubs to relax in every evening. Many of these local establishments are known for hosting great live music.
Whether you are looking to spend an entire day filled with shopping and dining or just looking for a quick antiquing trip, downtown Ocala is close to Citrus Hills, Florida and filled with plenty of great options.
For more detailed information on shopping, dining and entertainment visit www.feeldowntownocala.com.