June 2 2011 by Claudia Kunkel
My girlfriends and I are planning our annual 4-day getaway. We like to pick a place where we can do some heavy-duty discount shopping with a side of sightseeing. We want no distractions for the main event: finding deals.
We love outlet malls because there are so many different kinds of stores grouped together--we can all find something we love. The bargains are easy to find and we like the outdoor walkability of most modern outlet malls.
One destination we've visited several times is Carlsbad, California. The Premium Outlets are a must for any deal seeker on the West coast. We all loved the Crate & Barrel outlet, and I stocked up on shoes at the Merrell store. The Coach and Doony & Burke stores were downright dangerous. My kids scored with my finds from Gymboree Outlet and Converse. Even with three straight days of shopping, it was hard to hit all the stores that intrigued me. Of course, we did take a little time out for a nap by the pool at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Beach View Lodge. Just across the street from the ocean, this deluxe hotel was immaculate, had a fantastic breakfast, very helpful staff and gorgeous views. Soaking in the hot tub overlooking the ocean was the perfect end to a day of deal combing.
Last year, we chose to hit the east coast and stayed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Our target was Sawgrass Mills Outlet Stores where we all made a worshipful pilgrimage to the Kate Spade outlet store. I'm pretty sure I heard angelic singing when I walked through those doors! I found great deals at the J. Crew and Last Call stores, while my kids were thrilled with the things I brought back from Aeropostale and the Lego store. One of my friends was sure she'd died and gone to heaven when she found the perfect pair of True Religion jeans CHEAP at their outlet store. After walking the largest outlet mall in the southeast, boy was I glad to float in the heated pool at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Oceanside Inn. The staff at this hotel was extra friendly and attentive and it was close to everything. The beach was so tranquil and soothing, that even after all the mall walking, we couldn't resist a stroll on the sand every night. An altogether fabulous trip!
This spring we're headed to Chicago. After a quick detour to the American Girl Place, we're going to try the Chicago Premium Outlets. The stores we have in our cross hairs are 7 for all Mankind, Talbots, Juicy Couture, Sketchers and Lancôme.
Where are your favorite destinations to shop at?