Christmas is coming up fast! With less than 4 weeks to go until the big day, shoppers all over the Tampa Bay area are gearing up for the great race of gift buying, and this city certainly has no shortage of options! The plethora of malls, shopping villages, and markets make it easy to find the perfect present for everyone on your list, but did you know you could be putting yourself at risk every time you go out to shop? Parking lots, parking garages, and busy roads are more hazardous to pedestrians around the holidays than any other time, due to the increase in traffic and the higher likelihood of distraction. Some hot spots for heavy traffic and extreme shopping in Tampa include:
Hyde Park Village
Tampa shoppers love Hyde Park Village! This shopping experience covers 6 entire city blocks around W. Snow Ave., and offers a huge array of restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, and more. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy a daytime stroll or an evening out shopping with friends. Unfortunately, it also means walking along busy roadways. Be vigilant as you cross streets or head to your car! Look twice before stepping out, and be sure to use crosswalks and follow the traffic signals to protect yourself!
Ybor City Saturday Market
Is a smaller, more “local” shopping experience your thing? The Ybor City Saturday Market is for you! Located at 1901 19th Street in Tampa, this market offers free admission and takes place every Saturday from 9 AM – 3 PM. Many local vendors are represented at the market, offering specialty breads and culinary items, handmade goods, collectibles, and more. It’s a unique way to give gifts unlike anyone else this Christmas season! Because the market takes place in a busy area, be mindful when parking and walking to/from the blocked off market area. Drivers can get confused attempting to find parking, and you could end up paying the price for their distraction.
International Plaza and Bay Street
International Plaza is THE premier shopping mall in the Tampa region. Right beside TPA (Tampa International Airport) it’s a hot spot for Tampa residents and tourists alike. The mall boasts over 200 high end shops and department stores, along with more than 30 restaurants and bars. Because of its reputation, International Plaza always has a crowd during the holiday season, and that means its parking lots are BUSY. Be careful when walking to and from your vehicle, especially if you have young kids in tow. Put down your phone and keep a clear mind and a sharp eye while you’re walking, and keep little ones secured in a stroller, or have them holding your hand.
Westshore Plaza is a great, more family-friendly alternative to International Plaza during the holiday season. This fully enclosed mall is also near the airport, but is slightly smaller and offers more accommodations for those who have children or want a more laid back atmosphere. With plenty of shopping and dining options to choose from, it’s still crowded during the weeks leading up to Christmas, especially on weekends. Opting to shop on weekdays if possible could save you the hassle of dealing with the crowds, and mean a (slightly) safer parking lot experience for you (and, if applicable, your kids).
The Shops at Wiregrass
Who doesn’t love over 800,000 square feet of Christmas shopping options? Throw in the “Symphony of Lights” show and SNOW (yep, you read that right!) and it’s the ultimate holiday experience for families wanting to make Christmas gift-giving a little more fun. While the shopping experience might be enjoyable, getting there might not be. Known as “Malfunction Junction” to many of us around here, the junction of I-75 and I-275 is precisely where this shopping center is located. Avoid rush hour if you want to shop here, and be prepared for heavy traffic if you head that way on the weekends! Drive with caution and be alert as many drivers will be distracted with Christmas tunes in the car, excited kids, and their shopping list running through their minds.
Stay vigilant and focused when you’re out this holiday season to protect yourself and your family while you shop. Whether you’re on foot, or behind the wheel, minimize distractions, and be aware of drivers around you. If you or someone you love is injured because of the negligence of another, we’re ready to help you get the justice you deserve and the compensation you need. Call our Tampa team to discuss your case with our FREE, no-obligation consultation. We know you don’t expect to end up facing an accident or injury during the holidays, but if you do, Look to Brooks and trust us fight for you.