ShoppingValua Vitaly/ShutterstockBy B Ang

Between you and I, I think most people enjoy shopping (to some extent that even applies to men). Why?

a) It makes us feel good to treat ourselves to something nice
b) It makes us feel good to buy things for others.

In this edition of CT’s A Canadian’s Guide To Shopping, we take a look at some of the shopping destinations that make it worth a visit.

Shopping centres have certainly evolved through time. Remember when parents used to drag their sulky kids to the mall to get new clothes for school? These days, although one cannot guarantee no sulky children, more are willing to make that trip with their parents as they now have myriad distractions available so that they can meet up with the parents later. Then there’s the food element. Many malls feature the ubiquitous food court – an excellent solution that caters to different tastes. Plus, there are also those that offer full service restaurants and specialty shops like The Cheesecake Factory. Shopping has now become an outing for the whole family.

One-stop shopping destinations are always a good way to while away the time without the need to drive elsewhere to pursue other activities. In some malls, all activities will go on come rain, hail or shine, thanks to the fact that everything is located indoors – shopping, dining and entertainment. A good example is New York’s Destiny USA Mall where, besides shops galore, an entire floor is solely dedicated to entertainment pursuits ranging from golf simulators to a ropes course and the 17-theatre Regal Cinemas. Two new additions, Regal Premium Experience (RPX) and IMAX provide even more options with the RPX screen featuring a high impact giant screen and an immersive 3D experience.

West Edmonton
Alberta’s West Edmonton Mall allows you to literally, shop till you drop. With a hotel conveniently located within the Mall itself, you can shop, head to your hotel room for a rest and then return to the Mall for yet another round of shopping. The Mall also provides a multitude of activities to keep non-shoppers occupied including the world’s largest indoor amusement park and world’s largest indoor wave pool.

At The WinnerMercer CountyFor men who “loathe” the idea of hanging about with their shopping partners, one store has an area specially made up for them. At The Winner – World’s Largest Off-Price Fashion Store in Sharon, Pennsylvania, the Men’s Lounge provides ample distraction with its TV, popcorn and beer, allowing their partners loads of time to shop to their heart’s content.

Outlet malls are the best places to get great deals at discounted prices. At such venues, famous brand names offer both full price merchandise and value retail outlet stores. What’s the difference between the two? The former touts the latest and current offerings while the latter may carry past seasons’ fashions. Major outlet malls are situated just across or not far from the Canada-US border. This means, one can make a day trip outing to the mall simply by hopping into the car. Considering the cheaper deals to be had across the border, this seems to be a viable option.

The Colonade Outlets at SawgrassSimon Malls

To entice visitors to contribute to the local economy, some US malls offer reward cards for non-domestic patrons, providing discounts at its stores and may include further deals for eating establishments in the area. Big shopping centres also tie in with hotels in the vicinity to offer packages dedicated to those on a shopping mission.

From May 24 to 27, the 1st Annual USA Outlet Shopping Festival will be held nationwide. Shoppers stand to receive special offers and promotions, plus a gift with purchases of a minimum of US $150 using a MasterCard. Look up for the locations of those participating in this event.

We’ve heard that shopping can be an elixir to any problem. How true is this claim? One can only wonder but judging from the happy faces and arms loaded with bags of items purchased, it can be safely concluded that shopping certainly does wonders to lift one’s spirits up. It’s time to hit the stores. Happy shopping!