Let’s just be honest – the best places to shop are also the best places to just be – where you can stroll around, grab a cup of coffee, and leisurely get your fill of retail therapy and a beautiful environment. Enter Biltmore Fashion Park to play the part wonderfully. A bunch of high-end to mid-line shops all with their doors open and the breeze blowing in, not to mention the immaculate lawns, gardens and fountains. Every little turn is a different garden area.
A couple years ago, they also renovated the exterior to harken back to the first days of the Biltmore shopping area, and now it’s a great blend of retro and modern. The Biltmore area is called such because of the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, which sits just behind the shopping center. The sprawling resort was built in 1929 by the Wrigley family (hence The Wrigley Mansion, also in the Biltmore area), and now “The Biltmore Area” refers to the resort, the shops, the surrounding restaurants and neighborhoods. “The Biltmore” can either mean the resort or the shopping center, depending on the context. Now you know the lingo.
The Center Lawn is the big focal point of the Biltmore, and it’s bigger than a camera can get. They have a bunch of events here year round (and about every day for picnics at lunch), but the most popular are the Movies in the Park, where they show generally older landmark films like Singin’ in the Rain or Breakfast at Tiffany’s. James Bond has been known to turn up on the screen as well.
As mentioned, the fountains and gardens are all over the place, mixing with the architectural lines. Lines are not found, however, at the stores. No matter how busy, there is always a certain calm feeling at the Biltmore that makes it great for strolling. And there are the signature stores like Saks and Macy’s and Pottery Barn, but there are also local boutiques like Cornelia Park, a home store that makes the best decorators swoon, and This Little Piggy Wears Cotton, which the locals know as the best kids’ shop in the area. There are also exclusive shops like Calypso St. Barth, Escada and even an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa.
When you’re there, make sure you take time to replenish your shopping fuel at one of the restaurants. True Food Kitchen was opened by Sam Fox, a local restaurateur and Andrew Weil, the doctor known for his lessons in well-being (and if you wanted to try Green Tea Noodles, this is where to do it). Also stop by Christopher’s for an upscale treat (or swing by the lounge for a really good time) and Zinburger for a one-stop wine and burger run (because they go so great together).
Can’t you tell I love the Biltmore? Now happy shopping…and movie watching…and strolling…and eating…