Posted October 27, 2015
By ANDREA FERNANDEZ BRAVO
NAPLES, Fla. — “It truly is a fun and beautiful day walking on this strip,” tourist Lauren Pontigas said at 4 in the afternoon as she tries cooling herself off with a freshly scooped ice cream from Kilwins while wearing shorts, a blouse and sunglasses to protect her eyes from the blazing sun.
The strip that she is referring to is known as the one and only Fifth Avenue South located in Downtown Naples.
With more than 37 restaurants, stores, unique galleries, spas, countless happy hours, exhibitions, live-bands and festivals, it is no wonder that Fifth Avenue has been Naples’ “main street” since the early 1920s.
Another great quality that this main street offers is that both, locals and tourists can walk just a couple of blocks over to the beach.
Even though it is the middle of October (it is hot during the day and chilly at night), Lauren enjoyed her mint-chocolate chip ice cream while numerous tourists and locals pass by as they stare in amazement at the Kilwins’ line.
But, Kilwins isn’t the only thing that brings so many people to this gorgeous strip that is surrounded by palm and oak trees that light up at night, colorful flower-filled bushes, and brick-paved floors. Restaurants such as Chops City Grille and stores such as Island Trends bring tourists and locals alike to the avenue.
Chops City Grille head marketer Jennifer Chin is always ready for the swarm of people that start piling into this open-kitchen restaurant by 5 o’clock in the evening.
“October is the beginning of Fifth Avenue’s season for tourists. All the snowbirds start pouring into Naples and, while they are here, they love to eat our famous steak and pair it with a good glass of wine,” Chin said.
Topped with homemade and thin onion rings, the juicy steak that is tender on the inside comes with any delicious side of your choosing that is on the large menu. And as mentioned, it tastes even better with a freshly opened and good-size glass of wine. Wine prices range from $9 to $2,000, depending on the bottle, so Chops City Grille has an array of options for all kinds of customers. It is advised to make a reservation ahead of time if one wants to eat at this delicious restaurant because Naples’ season is October-March and this restaurant is very popular.
As it grows darker with nighttime’s arrival, the day starts cooling off with Southwest Florida’s beloved and refreshing fall weather. With temperatures at a low 70, locals cover their tank tops and light-fabric blouses with sweaters and snowbirds sit outside enjoying their “warm” weather. Even though the cool night is crawling in, stores like Island Trends are still open, offering the nautical style that is a signature look for Fifth Avenue South.
Island Trends sells clean smelling creams, soaps and other scent-filled bathroom and home accessories that remind users of the beautiful and crisp Naples scenery. The store sells casual clothes for the beach and beautiful picture frames that are filled with shells, starfish and sand dollars.
Besides the restaurants and stores, Naples’ “main street” has another great quality that some visitors may not know about — Naples beach. Naples beach is a quintessential location that exemplifies the mood that Fifth Avenue has to offer for locals and visitors.
One can have a romantic stroll with their loved ones during the sunset, jump into the clean water of the Gulf of Mexico, take pictures of the animals that surround the beach, and/or just sit and tan under the sun and take in the view.
“This is so far my favorite part of all of Naples,” visitor Natalia Fernandez said. “I can spend the entire day here at the beach and then just go eat at Fifth Avenue when I get hungry.”
The only thing to keep in mind when wanting to go visit Naples beach is that parking can become a problem. The recommended time to go is usually early morning or later afternoon to ensure a good parking spot. Depending on where you park, you either pay through a meter or by credit card. If you cannot find a spot that is directly adjacent to the beach, you can park your car on Fifth Avenue South either on the street, in a garage, or with valet.
Fifth Avenue South offers a large variety of activities to do. Eating at one of the 37 restaurants, shopping at stores, going to the art galleries, or heading over to Naples beach, this attraction will keep you and your family entertained for hours and get the true Naples feeling one would expect to get when visiting this beautiful and calming destination. Fifth Avenue South is definitely worth the trip.
If You Go
- Address: 5th Avenue South, Naples, Fla. 34102
- Head southeast on I-75 and take exit 101 for Florida Route 84 toward Naples/Marco Island. Keep right at the fork, merging onto Collier Boulevard and use the right two lanes to turn right onto Florida Route 84 and West Davis Boulevard. Turn right onto 5th Avenue South.
- Hours: Earliest 10 a.m. to latest 11:30 p.m.
- No admissions fee (unless going to a festival)
- Meter, garage, and valet parking available
- All major credit cards and cash accepted
- The Inn on Fifth, Bayfront Inn, Naples Bay Resort and Marina (prices vary from $114-$219 per night)
- Family friendly
- For more information visit http://www.fifthavenuesouth.com