The mall issue: Glendale Galleria
Glendale Galleria. (Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times / December 13, 2009)
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sun.
Known for: Though the management might like to remind shoppers that this mall is so cool it was where Apple opened its first Southern California store, to me it's the monster-size Target. Three stories! And the mall has its own stand-alone Lego store, always a go-to gift source for kids of all ages. Got a fanboy on your list? There are Lego kits for "Star Trek," "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter."
What you'll find: Consider this the consumer crossroads of Glendale. What began in the mid-'70s as a mid-market shopping center has evolved into a successful mash-up of high-low offerings very much in tune with the times. There's a Nordstrom, a Target, a J.C. Penney and a big, well-stocked Macy's. Mix in 250 or so other stores that include Michael Kors, Perry Ellis, Coach, Build-a-Bear, Forever 21, See's, Williams-Sonoma, Body Shop, MAC, Lane Bryant, Lids, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ben Bridge Jeweler, Swatch, Gap, GapKids and GapBaby and Bose and you have the mall for all reasons.
Vibe: For the family that shops together. A multigenerational, multiethnic hubbub gives the mall's walkways a convivial atmosphere. And the shoppers wielding armfuls of bags fairly scream, "No recession here!" Security is low-key but certainly there.
Survival strategies: Although the Glendale Galleria is part of the Club shopping app for Apple and Android, old-fashioned directory maps are the way to go. A huge L-shaped parking garage (6,500 spaces) flanks the mall on the west. Do yourself a favor and enter from Columbus to the west. Keep in mind that Macy's and Nordstrom are closest to Broadway on the north and that J.C. Penney and Target are closest to Colorado. Drive up to the top two levels, where there are bridges leading to Macy's, J.C. Penney and Target. Avoid the interior road that runs between the parking structure and the mall, unless you want to valet park, which costs $6. The two valet parking stations are near McDonald's and Nordstrom. For food, there is a dining court with all the usual suspects — La Salsa, Panda Express, McDonald's, Sbarro, Hot Dog on a Stick and Subway — a Red Robin restaurant and an In-N-Out Burger.
Holiday cheer: Spend more than $150 on Dec. 2, 9 or 16 and receive a $10 Shop Etc. gift card when you present your receipts at the redemption center near Macy's on the mall's lower level.
For kids: Glendale Adventist Medical Center hosts an interactive play area near J.C. Penney . And Santa recently took up residence at the mall's Santa Set.
Nearby: To the east of the mall on the other side of Central Avenue is the Americana at Brand, the outdoor retail space with a massive 18-screen Pacific Theatres, another Apple store and shops such as J.Crew, Barneys Co-op, Tiffany, Cole-Haan and Kate Spade. Eateries include Katsuya, Deluca's Italian Deli and Crumbs Bake Shop. Just beyond the Americana is the Brand Boulevard of Cars, in case you need a new set of wheels for carrying home the loot.
Impressions: This is where women of all ages go to get their glam on for the holidays. The window displays are a riot of dresses, shoes and accessories adorned with sequins and beading, making for a festive atmosphere. Forever 21 has a separate shop for accessories — tiered displays of sparkling bracelets, rings and necklaces, racks of finger-less gloves and woolly caps — a perfect one-stop for stocking stuffers.
Early next year, the mall begins a comprehensive renovation that promises more skylights, chandeliers and fountains and a new Bloomingdale's.