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Is Sawgrass Mills still a thing? We went to find out

Just about everybody at the Dolphin Mall has a suitcase. We asked why.

Every time you enter the Dolphin Mall, you see them everywhere: The Suitcase People.
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Every time you enter the Dolphin Mall, you see them everywhere: The Suitcase People.

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who will drive all the way to East Naples to shop at Sawgrass Mills and those who wouldn’t venture within a mile of the outlet mall that ate Sunrise.

But Sawgrass Mills is not just any outlet mall. It’s giant. It’s shaped like an alligator. It’s a tribute to the 1990s and all that is glorious about beautiful western Broward County. It carries a whiff of Beanie Babies, a scent of boy bands, a hint of the Macarena. And it has remained as relevant as all of those magical things.

But believe it or not, people still flock to this place. Go there on the weekend and you will need to use Google maps to get back to your car. Tourists dragging suitcases clog the mall; tour buses take up space in the parking lots. Between Black Friday and Christmas, the swell of humanity grows to unfathomable size. Don’t even think you’re getting a table at The Cheesecake Factory. Even California Pizza Kitchen is a stretch.

But it’s really no wonder, because here are all the marvelous things you can do at Sawgrass Mills.

Buy luggage

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We couldn’t help but notice there were many places to buy luggage. Also many people dragging suitcases around with them. It was almost like they were at the Dolphin Mall.

No, seriously, buy some luggage

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In case you forgot to get suitcases at the first store you saw.

Eat at one of the stylish food courts

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No high-end food hall nonsense here. Just good old fashioned mall food like Subway and Nathan’s Hot Dogs. Hope the line at Burger King isn’t too long.

Visit the Oasis

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It’s not much of an oasis inasmuch as it’s less a fertile spot in the desert where you find water than a searing hot outdoor hell that is largely uninhabitable until December.

Sit in these relaxing chairs

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Relax in the Oasis! It never gets hot enough to sear the skin off the back of your legs in Florida.

Shop

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Did we mention there are lots of places to buy luggage?

Frolic in The Rainforest Cafe. Really.

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We told you the dream of the ’90s is alive in Sunrise.

Buy stamps

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This place is so big and sprawling it clearly has its own zip code.

Exchange currency

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As one does at the mall.

Revisit the ’70s

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Spencer’s is alive and well and still selling lava lamps.

Spend money on things you definitely shouldn’t spend money on

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It is not now nor will it ever be OK.

Succumb to the inevitable

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You can’t fight it.

Sawgrass Mills

  • Where: 12801 W Sunrise Blvd, Sunrise
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday

Two women at Sawgrass Mills, a customer and a store manager, traded blows after the customer wanted access to the temporarily closed store. There were fists and water involved.

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