Rice Village: Outdoor Shopping Safari
The Rice Village is one of the few outdoor shopping areas in Houston, a city that is dominated by the Supermalls. The Village, as it is commonly referred to in town, has been around for decades, and is named for it's proximity to Rice University, which is just down the street. Many well known clothing stores such as Banana Republic, The Gap, and Eddie Bauer are located here. Also home funishing stores like Pier 1 Imports and Bombay can be found in The Village. Many individually owed shops and interesting eclectic stores are scattered about. There are a slew of restaurants and quite a few bars in the area as well. It's a great place to spend a day doing some power-shopping, or just walking around checking out the varoius shops, grabbing a drink, or getting some ice cream.
River Oaks Shopping Center: Shopping amongst the Nice Parts o' Town!
River Oaks Shopping Center is situated where else, in River Oaks! River Oaks happens to be the nicest, richest area in Houston. So when you go here, you will see some money! But despite it's location, and it's really nice decor, this is not the shopping centers of all shopping centers in town. No big department stores here, but several of your smaller retail shops such as Ann Taylor, Jos. A Bank, and Chico's. A few nice restaurants like La Griglia and Tony Mandola's, a couple of decent bars, and the old River Oaks movie theater are also here. So I wouldn't necessarily recommend going here just to casually walk around. It is a very nice area, but there are better places like the Rice Village or the Galleria for that.
Uptown District/Post Oak Area: Not only the Galleria!
The Uptown District of Houston is the city's largest and glitziest shopping and dining area of town. It is often just referred to as the Galleria area because the city's biggest mall, the Galleria, is located here. It is a very nice part of town, decorative arches and street lamps line the boulevards. There are also many high dollar apartment and high-rise condominium complexes in the area. J.W.Marriott, Intercontinental, Hilton, Sheraton, and the Houstonian are among the many upscale hotels in the district. And many of the city's finest stores and restaurants are located here. If you are in Houston, and looking for great shopping, great eating, or a great place to stay, Uptown would be a good choice.
Soundwaves: For Music Fans & Surfers!
Soundwaves is a chain of music stores here in Houston. They have a great selection of cd's, vinyl, and dvds. Also many imports, rare finds, and used cds. They have stations set up around the store to listen to the latest releases, but you can listen to anything they have in the store, just bring it to one of the employees, and they'll take you to a listening station to hear it. They are also one of the best places in town for surf gear, as well as skate gear. Great selection of clothing, shoes, and boards. Prices are relatively the same as most other chain stores, but I've found their selection to be much better. And if they don’t have something that you are looking for, they claim they can get it. Worth a visit!
What to buy: New and used CDs, Vinyl, DVDs, Surfing and Skating gear
What to pay: About Average
Spec's: Not A Liquor Store, A Liquor Warehouse!
If you are in need of alcohol, this is the place to go in Houston! Spec's is a local chain of liquor stores here in town, but their main location in midtown has the most alcohol I have ever seen in one place anywhere! It is huge! So may selections of domestic and imported beers, wines, and spirits. And they have everything else you could possibly want for a get together, including deli items (they have some of the best sandwiches in town!), gourmet foods, cheeses, even a vast assortment of cigars. And if you need your items delivered for that party you are having, they can accommodate you for that as well!
Willowbrook Mall: Mall Shopping on the Northwest Side
Located Northwest of Houston on FM 1960, Willowbrook Mall is a popular shopping destination for people on this side of town. Growing up just down the street, I have frequented this mall since i was a young boy. Like most megamalls of Houston, it has the big department stores such as Dillards, Sears, and JC Penney. Many apparel shops are here like Eddie Bauer, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. There are shoe stores such as Foot Locker and Payless, and jewelry stores like Helzberg and Kay. And of course, no mall would be complete without a food court! Chick Fil-A has a location here, as do Taco Bell and Wendy's, along with a few specialty eateries like Cajun&Grill and Sarku Japanese. The mall has recently been renovated, and it has a much more modern look to it than previously.
What to pay: Generally megamalls like Willowbrook will have higher prices than individual stores located elsewhere, but with it's location out of the center of town, for the most part it's more reasonable then malls in town like the Galleria.
Dylan's Candy Bar: Sweet Tooth Heaven
A branch of the original store in NYC. Not quite as extensive but still a treasure trove of all things candy. They have M & M's in more colors than you thought possible, dozens of Pez dispensers, bin after bin of gummie candies. They even have souvenier T-Shirts with the store logo and popular candy brands.Related to:
- Family Travel
Market Street: Outdoor Shopping In The Woodlands
This fashionable outdoor shopping, dining, & entertainment area is located in The Woodlands, just north of Houston. Many people enjoy the outdoor atmosphere of Market Street, a unique concept for The Woodlands. The area around the center of the complex is very nicely landscaped, with a couple of water fountains and many benches for sitting. There are several clothing stores here such as Tommy Bahama, Hemline, & Tickled Pink. Bombay, Z Gallerie, & Storehouse are some of the many home furnishing stores, and there is even a HEB Central Market location for groceries. Of the many restaurants located here, Grotto, Cafe Express, and Berryhill are a few of the favorites. There is also a movie theater here, and a small children's museum. And frequently throughout much of the year there are small events being held in the center of Market Street, such as music & fashion shows.
What to buy: So much to choose from, take your pick! :)
What to pay: Market Street stores for the most part are not cheap, as many of them are more fashionable and trendy. But the locations here, as well as the restaurants, are no more expensive than in Houston.
Houston Premium Outlets: For the North Side.....
In March of 2008 Houston built their first premium outlet center on 290 towards Fairfield. Right now it's still building clientele and big names. However, the Coach outlet draws a lot of people as does Nike, Reebox, and Addidas. Since there is a neighborhood nearby I don't know much about expanding like the San Marcos outlets did but I could see this getting bigger and bigger.
What to buy: Most of the shops are clothing and kitchenware.
What to pay: Cheaper than department stores and surrounding malls. Most discounts are 40%.
Harwin Dr. Shopping District: Cheap Shopping - Some Is Real, A lot Is Fake
Harwin Dr. is a street in Southwest Houston, and is in the middle of large East and South Asian communities of the city. The shopping in this area is well known for it's dirt cheap prices, and for it's many stores that sell replicas and knock-off items of famous and popular brands. Pretty much anything you could ever possibly imagine is for sale here: clothing, shoes, jewelry, toys, electronics, furniture, even cars. When you enter any of the shops here, the employees quickly rush to you and will not let you be the entire time you are there, trying to sell you anything they can. But a famous saying goes for here more than any other place in Houston: "Buyer Beware". What you think might be a nice pair of Gucci shoes you just purchased may fall apart in a matter of weeks. But regardless of whether the items here or authentic or not, they are going to be pennies to what you would pay anywhere else. But proceed with caution!
What to buy: Anything and Everything
What to pay: Cheap, very cheap!
The Woodlands Mall: Mega Mall of The Woodlands
I would simply say that this is another mega mall of Houston, but this particular one has an address located in The Woodlands. It is a very nice, modern & HUGE shopping complex, with large department stores like Dillard's, Mervyn's, and Sears. There are also typical retail stores here such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic & Ann Taylor, as well as home furnishing stores like Pottery Barn & Williams - Sonoma. The food court is huge: Chick-fil-A, Sarku Japan, & Roman Delight Pizza have locations here, and there are nicer restaurants by The Waterway stop, which is actually named the Woodlands Town Center, like Cheesecake Factory & P.F. Chang's. Nice mall, but nothing out of the ordinary.
What to buy: Just like any other huge mall, tons of options for you to choose from!
What to pay: The Woodlands Mall is no more expensive than any other mall in the Houston area, but by no means is it cheap.
Half Price Books: Cheap Books
Half Price Books is a chain of used books. Some people buy here and some people sell their books here. I love this place. The books are in good quality or they don't buy them from others.
You know how so many people hunt for diamonds or gold or buried treasure in the ocean? Well, I hunt for books! I can spend hours in here on the floor looking for buried treasures of my own and no one will bug you...other than other customers trying to find those treasures before you.
I like the later hours too....
Monday - Thursday 9 a.m.- 10 p.m.
Friday - Saturday 9 a.m.- 11 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m.- 8 p.m
Also, this company does a lot of literacy outreach with adult and children literacy work. They also give out free boxes of books to teachers at the beginning of the school year. I like when I'm contributing to a generous company....
There are a bunch in the area so check the website for one closer to where you are!
What to buy: Books...
Be sure to check the clearance area before purchasing other items as you might find what you're looking for cheaper.
They also have a good selection of VHS, audiobooks, and DVDs.
What to pay: Half the printed cost on the book or lower if on clearance
Old Town Spring: Small Specialty Shopping-Something Different
The old town of Spring, Texas is still alive with the old houses turned into quaint shops and specialty stores. The prices are quite high but it's especially fun around Christmas time to see the place decorated and hopping with busy shoppers. I like to go on quiet weekends to visit the local businesses and shop for one-of-a-kind gifts.
Old Town Spring offers restaurants, eateries, wine tastings, and more. So you can visit even if your pocket book is not very deep. The last two times I've spent three dollars total on a quick drink.
The streets are very packed so be careful. I would highly recommend the parking on the left of the shops. Take the right fork on the road and turn right at the first intersection. You'll see it on the right. That's the only place to park during their wine, crawfish, and Christmas festivals. During those times you might be charged to something like $3-5 to park but on off weekends I've never had to pay for parking. You can also try parking on the street if you're good at parrallel parking.
I enjoy the shop owners more than I do the merchandise. They are usually very friendly and helpful. It makes it hard to walk out empty handed though...
Old Town Spring also has two bathroom facilities. One up by the front of the area and another towards the parking area. They are not port-a-potties!! I hate those things...
What to buy: They have really cute items such as Texas memoriabilia, women's clothing, and figurines.
What to pay: Prices are more expensive than the mall but I don't go to spend a bunch of money. It's more the window shopping and experience
19th Street in the Heights
19th street in the Heights is a great place to shop--there are antique and art shops, trendy furniture stores, but my favorite is the women's clothing and accesories! one place, Jubilee, is awesome, I always want to buy all their earrings they have!!
What to pay: 19th street ranges from cheap to pretty expensive.Related to:
- Women's Travel
Luke's Locker: Runners "R" Us
This is a specialty running store staffed by experienced runners who will be able to point to in the right direction no matter what your goals. They also offer training programs for walkers to first-time marathoners to seasoned runners.
What to buy: In the summertime, wicking tops, shorts, and socks, a good pair of running shoes, and a lot of BODYGLIDE.
What to pay: Retail, but you are supporting a true running store staffed by people who know about running
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