The mall issue: Westfield Santa Anita
Westfield Santa Anita. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times / May 6, 2009)
Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.
What you'll find: Nordstrom, Macy's and J.C. Penney are the anchors for the 186-store complex, where tenants range from higher-end retailers such as Max Mara and Michael Kors to the budget-friendly H&M chain, with plenty of mall regulars such as the Gap, Aldo and the Disney store. Santa Anita also offers a variety of beauty supply-salon services, as well as home furnishing stores, and there is a 16-theater AMC multiplex.
Vibe: This is the mall-as-community center, where the varied patrons come not only to shop but also to meet and mingle. Families frequent the mall to spend lazy weekend afternoons walking through the outdoor promenade, while crowds of teenagers fill GameStop and movie theaters. Women tend to travel in groups, perusing the shops or simply walking around the mall for exercise.
Survival strategies: Avoid the parking lot outside the Cheesecake Factory and movie theaters at all costs. Abundant parking can be found in the newer structure just south of Nordstrom. Valet parking is also available for $6 Monday to Thursday and $8 Friday to Sunday. If you need a quick bite but want to forgo the food court regulars, try the Nordstrom Cafe. The menu of soups, salads and sandwiches is reliable and you won't have to wait for a table.
Take a break: There are the food court basics and sit-down spots Bar Louie, California Pizza Kitchen, Cheesecake Factory, Wood Ranch, Dave & Busters, Johnny Rockets, Todai, Nordstrom Cafe.
Pleasant surprises: Shoppers who like to keep fit can become Westfield Walkers and participate in the mall's community walking program every morning at 7.
For kids: The mall is kid-friendly in amenities and store selection. For a family shopping break there are two family lounges, a kids play space (in the lower level near the J. C. Penney store) and a merry-go-round at the center of the mall. You can also take the kids to the Jump 'n Jammin play center for the under 12 set. Priority family parking is available for expectant mothers and families with small children. The mall features 14 stores with kids' clothing and toys, such as Crazy 8 children's clothing, Gymboree, Janie and Jack and Pumpkin Patch.
Holiday cheer: A holiday kickoff party is planned from 4-9 p.m. Dec. 2, including entertainment near the Christmas tree; "magical snow shows" at 5, 6, 7 and 8 p.m.; and a kids fun zone with balloons and glitter tattoos.
Impressions: Glendale may have the Americana at Brand and Los Angeles may have the Grove, but the quiet suburb of Arcadia has the Westfield Santa Anita. Part indoor mall, part outdoor shopping area, the mall offers the best of both worlds without the showy gimmicks of the aforementioned Caruso developments. Don't expect to find a water attraction or trolley running through the mall. Instead, you'll find a reliable list of shops and restaurants for all ages and tastes. The newer outdoor area, called the promenade, was finished in 2009 and spans the area between the Nordstrom and Macy's department stores. Shoppers can stroll through the desert-themed walkways or stop for a shopping break. For those who want to remain indoors, the mall can be a one-stop shopping destination for anything from a new dress to a new television. The movie theater and adjacent restaurants such as Dave & Busters and Bar Louie have become popular places for night life, offering a bar at which to grab a martini before catching a movie.