Mall-o-Scopes: Which Local Shopping Spot is Best For You?

Shopping: Either you love it or you hate it, because it can leave you thoroughly satisfied or extremely frustrated. Here are some tips to help you find the mall that best suits your personality and interests to ensure an enjoyable shopping experience.

Valley Fair
Valley Fair is a shopaholic’s paradise. Located about 20 minutes away in San Jose, Westfield’s Valley Fair Mall is one of Northern California’s largest malls and has a whopping 244 stores, by far the widest selection of any mall. Ranging from cheap, but still fashionable stores like Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe, to the other end of the spectrum of high fashion designer stores, this mall fulfills the needs of any shopper.

“Valley Fair has everything you could possibly need,” sophomore Sarah Bochner said. “So there’s no need to go anywhere else.”

However, be prepared to tackle some large crowds. If you get claustrophobic easily, do not enter. Bring a map, too, because it is very easy to get lost in such a big mall.

“I go to Valley Fair because there are hot guys everywhere!” senior Anna Blyumina said.

The biggest attraction at Valley Fair: the Panda Express. It is the finest Chinese cuisine in the entire food courts.


Santana Row
Right across the street from the always-congested Valley Fair, this European-esque, outdoor shopping center is popular with high-class shoppers who don’t mind spending just a little more cash. The tree-lined streets, outdoor cafes and a park setting mirror an Italian shopping experience. There is a perfect combination of national retailers, local shops and one-of-a-kind boutiques that can’t be found anywhere else. The restaurants have fabulous food, though are a little pricey.

“I love all the unique shops and relaxing environment,” sophomore Sasha Zebb said. “I also get really claustrophobic in big malls, but at Santana Row I can breathe in the fresh air while I shop.”

Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and H&M  are the most popular stores, all sporting the newest trends of the season, and directed to meet the needs of all shoppers. This spot is perfect for a lazy afternoon stroll and a delicious dinner.

Stanford Shopping Center is the perfect place to spend a relaxing Saturday afternoon with friends. The calming atmosphere, lack of busy crowds and outdoor setting make this mall not overwhelming and just right. There is a variety of stores, ranging from huge department stores like Bloomingdales and Nordstrom, while still some smaller, more specified shops like Ralph Lauren Rugby, J. Crew and Mercer. More expensive and catering to the more high-class shoppers, this mall may not be the place to buy, but it is perfect for window shoppers. Bring your pooch along, too, because dogs are always welcome.

“I love Stanford [Shopping Center] because it is very classy and is a beautiful setting,” junior Maddie Freeman said.

This mall is not very far, located in Palo Alto, near University Avenue where there are many other popular stores.

Cupertino Square
This mall, formerly known as Vallco, has one rare commodity: free and ample parking. Not many people shop here because of the limited number of stores, so if you are the kind of person who avoids crowds, this is the mall to go to. But there are still a few stores that are worthwhile: Victoria’s Secret, Bath&Body Works and Payless Shoes, to name a few, as well as department stores like JC Penney, Sears and Macy’s. Girls can even drag their boyfriends along, there are many other attractions like the ice skating rink, bowling alley or AMC movie theater. To stop for munchies, Benihana provides dinner and a live show, For that sweet tooth, Coldstone Creamery and Froyo are coming in the call of 2008. This mall is slowly growing with new stores coming in, and in a few years this will be a new hotspot.