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Relive Your Memories & Make New Ones at The Market Shops

May 25, 2018 by Audrey Johnson

The year was 1985. What’s Love Got to Do With It sung by Tina Turner won the Grammy for Record of the Year. Feathered bangs were a thing. So was Rave hairspray. It was the year The Market Shops opened, and my mom and oldest sister began making frequent trips to Tooley Street.

Fast forward to present day, and a multimillion dollar renovation has reinvigorated The Market Shops as an upscale, neighborhood-style shopping, dining and entertainment center. Unique retailers, specialty boutiques and an array of eateries from casual to fine dining dot the landscape. The expanded East Lawn and Courtyard feature live music and local events, including the popular Bloody Mary Festival, bringing to mind the first days of the Sandestin Wine Festival when hosted at the lifestyle center.

In this guide to The Market Shops, we break down where to eat, shop and play in hopes that you will relive your favorite memories, and make new ones to cherish for generations to come.

Eat

Amavida Coffee and Tea opened an annex at The Market Shops, and the main courtyard is the perfect place to have a chat over a café au lait. The responsibly sourced beans are roasted and packed locally, and you can even grab a bag to take home. Loose leaf teas and small bites are also available. Amavida means ‘Love Life.’ We can get behind that.

Pizza by the Sea combines two of our favorite things. Best of all, their signature thin crust and gluten free options make for a guilt-free snack. It’s conveniently located next to Ben and Jerry’s, where you can take the kiddos to get ice cream after.

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream at The Market Shops does the highest volume in the franchise! What can we say… It’s Florida. It’s hot. Like really hot. And we all scream for ice cream! Bonus: if you’re at Ben and Jerry’s with the kids, and it’s been that kind of day, you can leave them with dad and walk next door to Pizza by the Sea for a glass of wine. It takes a village. (Just make sure to bring him one back.)

If you’re feeling like you need a night on the town, head to Bijoux for cocktails and dinner. Owner Chef Jack McGuckin is whipping out New American cuisine with influences from the Big Easy, while his wife Leslie has created a calming urban ambiance. Happy Hour at the bar is a popular ritual among locals, and the Strawberry Balsamic Mule is a must for sipping. Fine dining at Bijoux is where it’s at. Cast iron skillet steak seared in duck fat makes for good eating.

The restaurant scene at The Market Shops is exploding, and three new restaurants are coming soon. One of life’s great pleasures is eating subs under a beach umbrella, and soon enough you’ll be able to pick one up at John Smith Subs. Clean Juice (think Formula Fresh) is an all organic juice and smoothie bar with bowls and bites opening this Summer - just when temps are hot enough to encourage drinking your meals. Top secret plans are in place for a third restaurant opening at The Market Shops, so stay tuned for the latest buzz.

Shop

Sirens Lingerie and Swim has been the go-to for many locals and visitors in South Walton, offering boutique brands with a luxurious feel. Sirens carries sizes 0-20, and I have great news in four simple words: BRA SIZE SWIM TOPS!

Sunset Shoes has been a staple at The Market Shops for over twenty years! What started as a shoe store providing custom fittings and comfort brands like Birkenstock, has evolved into a beachwear boutique complete with head to toe clothing and accessories – all while staying true to their DNA. Pick up flip flops from Olukai and Sanuk, sunglasses, t shirts, hats and even a Yeti at this one-stop shop.

Wren’s Village Boutique offers chic women’s clothing and accessories perfect for a date night at Bijoux, or a presentation in the boardroom. Wren’s carries their own line, Jahaza Belle, with the softest selection of quality fabrics that marry both comfort and style. One thing you’ll notice at Wren’s is fine art from local makers adorning the walls. The art is available for purchase and makes the perfect accessory for home.

Play

They say a woman’s most important accessory is her hair. Luckily, Primp Salon’s team professional stylists is on hand to make sure you look and feel your best. It’s best to make an appointment for their full range of services, whether you’re in need of a cut, color, or a keratin treatment -chalk it up to the humidity! Primp does bridal styling and makeup and is one of only two stores in South Walton that carries Jane Iredale cosmetics, the skincare makeup.

Head over to Market Shops Nails and Spa to complete your pampering experience. The salon does manis, pedis, and waxing to prep you for a week at the beach.

Escapology is the latest game in the escape room craze, providing entertainment while honing your problem solving skills. Book an escape room experience for a birthday party, team building exercise, or just because.

Events

The Market Shops has a rich festival history, serving at the original home of the Sandestin Wine Festival and the Gumbo Festival. So, it’s only fitting that the Bloody Mary Festival would take off in grand fashion. Preparing for its fourth year, the 2018 Bloody Mary Festival is slated to be the best yet, and it’s all for a good cause. Proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity, an organization helping to build or improve places that people call home. 

Now through the end of July, skip the gym and head to The Market Shops for free Fitness on the Lawn every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-10am. Monday and Wednesdays are for yoga, with Slow Flow to kick off the week and Buti Yoga, a blend of plyometrics, Vinyasa yoga, and tribal dance, to get you through Hump Day. Friday Boot Camp led by trainer Cayce Collins is an effective bodyweight HIIT workout that will challenge your mind and help you achieve those summer body goals. And it’s fun to challenge your body and see what it can do…unlike actual Boot Camp, so I’ve heard.   

Located at the entrance of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, The Market Shops is the Emerald Coast’s premier location for specialty boutiques, signature events, and an array of eateries from casual to fine dining. To stay up to date with the latest, visit www.themarketshops.com or find The Market Shops on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Remember 1985? Prince won an Oscar for the score for Purple Rain! (He was not nominated for acting.)

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Audrey Johnson's picture

Upon realizing that life is too short not to follow her dreams, Audrey moved to the beach and became a writer. SoWal’s pristine beaches inspire her to explore further, look deeper, and do better.

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