The mall issue: Westfield Topanga
Westfield shopping town Topanga promenade. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times / November 18, 2011)
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sun.
Known for: Being the San Fernando Valley's luxury destination.
What you'll find: A mix of luxury (Salvatore Ferragamo, Tiffany, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Stuart Weitzman, Hugo Boss, Cartier, Omega, Coach), moderately priced (a very pleasant Anthropologie, White House/Black Market, Zara) and cheaper chic stores (Forever 21, H&M, Urban Outfitters), along with the only Neiman Marcus in the San Fernando Valley. Other anchor stores are Macy's, Sears, Target and Nordstrom, which has more luxury fashion labels in store than the smallish Neiman Marcus.
Vibe: The mall has an indoor-outdoor feel with skylights, Zen-like water, rock and flower formations, and plenty of places to sit and take a breather. The crowd is a mix of seniors, teens and families.
Also of note: The Flip Flop store (nothing but flip-flops), one of two Southern California Walmart.com pop-up stores (with a selection of gift items and computers for ordering things online) and the Auto Gallery for ogling hot cars. (The Village at Westfield Topanga, anchored by Costco, and featuring more shops and restaurants, a hotel and community center, is expected to be completed by 2016.)
Survival strategies: Parking here can be a nightmare. Some people swear by Level 2 of the parking structure next to Neiman Marcus. If all else fails, there's $7 valet parking in front of Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and the ground level of the parking deck.
Take a break: For something quick, try Melt Gelato and Crepe Cafe, Tommie's Hamburgers or Potato Corner (fries and chips flavored to your specification) on the Dining Terrace. If you want a sit-down restaurant, choices include California Pizza Kitchen, Stone Oven, Japanese restaurants Bistro Ka and Gyu-Kaku and Neiman Marcus Cafe. Nearby, at 6443 Topanga Canyon Blvd., is the Valley location of the yummy Yang Chow Mandarin Chinese restaurant.
Holiday cheer: Santa is in residence every day until Christmas. But he doesn't come cheap. Photo packages start at $21.
For kids: The Westfield Play Space, located on the lower level near Target, is a colorful play area with seating for parents. At the same kiddie corner of the mall is a carousel offering rides for a steep $3, a My Gym Express tumbling area and lots of sweet temptations, including Haagen-Daaz and Pinkberry.
Nearby: Woodland Hills Ice is an outdoor ice skating rink located at Westfield Promenade, on the corner of Topanga Canyon and Erwin Street. The historic Leonis Adobe museum is a 15-minute drive from the mall at 23537 Calabasas Road.
Impressions: Where else can you buy a Louis Vuitton tote and a set of shower curtain rings under the same roof? This is a well-rounded mall experience, with the perks of having a Target and lots for kiddies to do.