Top Five Retail Retreats
The holiday season has begun and its time for the annual pursuit of perfect presents. Making your list, checking it twice and fighting crowds of gift-seekers can be stressful though. This year, make holiday shopping merrier by organizing a shopping trip with your favorite ladies!
It Pays to Plan
Planning ahead is essential for a successful holiday shopping adventure. After all, you want to be productive while you have fun! Before leaving home, check the hours of the stores you plan to visit; some specialty shops close for a day during the week so they can stay open on weekends. Also, bring cell phones so you can get in touch if someone gets separated from the group No one wants to hear themselves paged over a department store loudspeaker! Finally, choose a central meeting place if you split up to divide and conquer, and by all means, leave plenty of room in the vehicle for all your purchases!
Avoid the Crowds
If possible, shop during the day and mid-week to avoid the most popular times for shoppers, which are typically in the evenings and on weekends. If you choose to include an overnight stay as part of your shopping adventure, you will also likely get a better hotel rate.
Day Trip Suggestions
These shopping destinations offer plenty of stores to scour and ample opportunities for quality girl time, all with a 2 to 3 hour drive.
- Waynesville, Ohio: The converted colonial homes lining Main Street in this tiny Warren County town are now specialty shops offering antiques, quaint home décor, seasonal adornments, heavenly candles and fantastic lunches. Youll love sampling the gourmet cocoas and chatting with the friendly store owners. Fair warning: the word cute will be drastically overused. No wonder male shoppers are few and far between here.
- Outlet Malls Prime Outlets at Jeffersonville I & II: These two outlet malls feature about 100 stores and eateries with trolley service to the parking lots. From clothing for men, women and children to household goods, athletic supplies and luggage, this trip offers a treasure trove of potential gifts to fit a variety of interests. And your gift recipients will never know their brand name presents were bought at bargain prices.
- Indianapolis – Broad Ripple Village: If your group prefers a more urban experience, Broad Ripple Village is a creative, retro neighborhood north of downtown Indy. Teeming with art galleries, ethnic restaurants, eclectic wares and the latest fashions, Broad Ripple Village is the place to find gifts for the hipsters on your list. The people-watching is unmatched and you can end a successful day of shopping by partaking in the many pubs and cafes.
To squeeze even more socializing into your shopping excursion, broaden your outing into a mini-vacation. These retail havens can be reached in about a five-hour drive.
- Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: To get your nature fix while completing your holiday purchases, try a trip to Gatlinburg. Take pleasure in the country atmosphere of the Smoky Mountains and hit not one, but two, outlet malls. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge also offer a multitude of specialty shops that are great for collectors and nature lovers. Rent a cabin or a chalet and refresh yourself with crisp, mountain air after a long day of shopping.
- Chicago, Illinois: The Magnificent Mile is one of the most famous shopping destinations in the country, and youll find more than 460 stores on and around Michigan Avenue. While there, take in the architecture and experience the many theaters and museums at your disposal. Dining options are also varied, from savoring Chicagos famous pizza to feasting atop the John Hancock Center overlooking Lake Michigan. Remember to dress warmly, because winters can be chilly in the Windy City!
Wherever you decide to go, a holiday shopping trip is a wonderful present for you and your girlfriends to give each other. Time spent with loved ones is truly the most precious gift, and holiday spirit is best experienced when you accomplish your shopping goals while strengthening your closest relationships. While the physical purchases from a holiday shopping trip may eventually be discarded, the memories made there will be treasured throughout each season.