Though I regularly seek out local shopping when I travel, never before have I seen as high of a concentration of malls as represented in the Washington area. There are dozens of shopping centers within a 15 miles radius, but the stand outs are obvious. For those of you who haven't made the rounds, each mall can easily take a day of shopping to truly explore.
This Northern Virginia favorite is the largest mall in the area with over 300 shops and is only 20 minutes away via the Beltway. The novice shopper can take advantage of Tyson's slew of big brand stores and chain restaurants, while the more advanced consumer should check out the high end Galleria for designer stores and gourmet dining. Parking is free at both locations and Tyson's is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the Galleria is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Fashion Center boasts over 170 shops and restaurants and is just six Metro stops away, or shoppers can pay a minimum of $2 for parking on site and travel to via I-395. This popular mall is a great for lunchtime shopping or for consumers without access to a vehicle. The Fashion Center is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and
Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Though competition between malls is fierce, Springfield Mall has managed to stay popular with name brand stores and community events despite being so far southwest. Over 150 stores and restaurants call this mall home and shoppers can use I-95 and free parking or the Metro station across the street to get there. This hidden gem is rarely overcrowded and draws a unique crowd of consumers Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Formerly a District of Columbia government building, the pavilion is famous for its 315 foot clock tower visitors can tour for free. Over two dozen independent and big name retailers and restaurants have set up shop, and it's easily accessible by the Metro station next door or reached via I-395 and Constitution Ave. Shoppers can expect a large tourist crowd, but the pavilion is also a favorite with the lunchtime crowd and locals. Stop by Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m—8 p.m. in the summer—and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If open air shopping combined with levels of underground stores sounds like your kind of thing, then The Shops at Georgetown are for you. Featuring the most popular shops and located in historic Georgetown, The Shops are always full of locals and adventurous tourists. While it can be a bit of a hassle to get to, The Shops can be reached via the Metro and a short walk or drivers can look for street parking in the area. Visit it Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.