We always enjoy doing a little shopping whenever we travel and the Fashion Center here at Arlington is a great place to do that in.
The shopping center is quite large with the usual chain stores, specialty shops, department stores, electronic and of course a food court.
Operating house are Mon to Sat: 10:00am - 9:30pm, Sun: 11:00am - 6:00pm.
We weren't looking for anything in particular during this trip so we just walked around and did some window shopping.
When in Washington I seem to frequent this mall. Actually came here on my way to my first ever VT meeting.
They have several floors of stores and usually will get a new pair of shoes or a tie or three when I'm around.
There are vending machines with beverages put around Days Inn Arlington motel. Nothing special, but we needed them like fish water when we arrived after uncomfortably long (over 30 hours) and stressful (delayed flights and lost luggage) journey from Poland.
What to buy: What you need: a plastic bottle of mineral water or a can of Coca-Cola, diet Coke, Pepsi, Sprite or other US beverage, I have never tried.
What to pay: Each beverage cost exactly $1.00 which was good and regular price in the USA. Later on, during my trip, I saw higher prices: $1.20 - $1,50, in the Colonial Williamsburg even $2.00 (sic!).
This is not my favourite picture of any city. Well, I didn't see any more such street stalls in Arlington, but many - a bad surprise - in downtown Washington, DC. This snack stand, on the picture, was located just by the entrance to Crystal City metro station, very good point for such business.
What to buy: I didn't buy anything because I don't like that staff and I went in wrong direction: to metro station where food and drinks are not allowed. But if you go opposite direction and like various snacks, candies especially extremely sweet... or you are very thirsty... I wasn't.
What to pay: Average.
There are over twenty such vending machines, like on my picture, put in a row by the entrance to underground Pentagon City Metro station. Even more are put by Crystal City metro station. They sold major American newspapers and British The Sun. Keep in mind that to read any you need additional vacation. And some newspapers are available free for guests at some hotels. I got USA Today at Days Inn Arlington.
Some boxes contained free advertising leaflets/books especially with real estates offers.
What to buy: Surely your favourite US newspaper. Among different newspapers there were the following ones:
The Los Angeles Times
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The Christian Science Monitor
What to pay: Casual price, depends on the title.
Urszula very much wanted to see the first Macy's in her life and was very dissapointed. It is not especially fancy, in her and my opinion, and not likely to offer you a good deal, either. Nordstrom with some discounts located at the same shopping mall worked better for us.
Macy's East is a part of karge shopping mall, Shopping Centre at Pentagon City. It was large department store with different staff sold including junior and children fashions, shoes, men's and women's fashions, home furnishings, luggage, cosmetics, fashion accessories and jewelry.
What to buy: I paid attention to luggage department and saw some very intersting staff for my next trip but everything was way too high.
You may look at souvenir department, too.
What to pay: Women's fashions and others, from moderate to very expensive.
WHY PENTAGON CITY?
The best way to make my lovely wife happy was to show her some clothing stores. Urszula desperately wanted to visit Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, we passed by 2 and 3 days before.
MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS
It was the first US shopping mall I ever visited. For many reasons I never did it during my first US trip a year before. So let me compare it with European and Polish shopping malls. I saw many times big surprise on faces of Americans when I told them that we had shopping malls in Poland.. Yes, we have them, more and more.
When I entered the mall, it looked impressive (I mean architecture) and at first similar to a few largest, new shopping malls in my area of Poland. The difference was Customer Service Centre on a metro level when we took a map of the mall and more various small facilities for costumers, futher: more space. The halls, food courts, restrooms, parking lots etc. were larger. There were Halloween decorations and I already noticed few Christmas decorations in the middle of October which very surpriced me. There were more stores belonging to Health and Beauty category and with gift/cards, less with cell phones.
Both Urszula and I easily noticed that they have quite different, mostly unknown for us, fashion companies on the US market. And there were: hotel (Ritz Carlton Hotel) and two department stories (Macy's and Nordstrom) - I never saw in Poland.
While Urszula was searching all cloth stores on 3 levels, one by one, I was sitting and watching not so numerous people just before closing (9.30 pm). Luckily there are comfortable benches put along halls (rare in Poland) for such folks as Nat and me who HATE to go shopping.
Later on, during my 30-day trip, we visited a few more large shopping malls and I can say that this one in Pentagon city was just very typical.
What to buy: Well, my kind of stores (music, electronics, photography) were located mostly on metro level where a large food court was placed. Unfortunately I didn't find my next favourite - any bookstore, not to buy any books (those I like are horribly expensive in the USA) but to read/review them :-).
I remember Brookstone which sold massage chairs (I tried one - great fun but expensive) and MP3 players and other interesting portable electronics in lower prices than I could see in Poland. Well I liked Brookstone at first.
Add Godiva chocolate - yummy staff there.
Urszula found some fancy clothes at unacceptable high prices and only 2-3 very interesting stories (as the whole) which anyway made her happy although she didn't buy anything. She liked Guess?, Banana Split and Abercombie & Fitch. She didn't find another her favourite, Chico's in the mall.
What to pay: Many expensive stores but some good discounts as well like 40% off for some stuff in Guess. Small electronics cheaper than in Poland :-).
The bookstore at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington Cemetery sells books and magazines dedicated solely to publications by and about military women. It advertised as the world's only such bookstore. I don't know whether it's true. American business loves two expressions: the first and the only.
Never mind, I found there a few very interesting books. Being at the beginning of quite expensive trip around the South I didn't buy any.
What to buy: I liked most: "Our Mothers' War : American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II" by Emily Yellin.
Interesting views, which I can't agree though, on sexism in military in the book "Ground Zero: The Gender Wars in the Military" by Linda Bird Francke.
What to pay: Generally beautiful books are expensive. But those I liked were over $10.00, not that bad.
At the end of a trip to the Washington, DC area, I picked this stop to kill some time and hopefully sit down some before going home later that evening. However, I was so impressed by the architecture of the mall- the 4-storey atrium, that I decided to walk all 4 storeys- the metro level plus the 3 numbered floors. Starting from the metro level which was basically one gigantic food court, I walked up each of the upper floors seeing if there was anything to stand out. After ascending to the "summit" on the fourth floor, I took the glass lift encrusted in light bulbs to the ground floor where I decided to finally sit down and have supper.
What to buy: In and of themselves the stores didn't impress me. Many of the stores were the usual suspects (such as Victoria's Secret, Bad Bath and Beyond, Crate & Barrel, Godiva, etc.), which can just as easily be found at Virginia Centre Commons (Glen Allen, VA), Menlo Park Mall (Edison, NJ), or South Park Mall (Charlotte, NC).
This is the first shopping centre to which I have been at which I felt the need to mark my path with breadcrumbs. Having a little time on my hands after leaving Matt and Urszula at Dulles Airport, I thought I would check this place out having already been to Pentagon City a few months earlier. I emerged from the Crystal City metro stop and it seemed like there was mall on either side. I understand there is a subterranean shopping centre like this in Atlanta. Hopefully, it is more linear than this.
What to buy: Everything under the sun can be found here from a magazine at one of the newsstands to an expensive steak supper at Morton's of Chicago. With all that's listed in the directory, what's not to be found?
What to pay: Most shops lean to the upscale, but bargains can be found.
This mall typifies the American shopping experience. It is good if you are just looking for the basics, things that you would normally be looking for at home. It's good because you at least get to shop at stores that are expected in their quality of goods and services.
They have the usual Banana Republic, Gap, Limited, Express, United Colors of Benetton, Godiva, Disney Store, Ann Taylor, etc. Some notable different stores that you don't find much in the Maryland area that you usually only find downtown DC are also here such as BCBG and Club Monaco. Other than that, it's unremarkable. Definately worth a mention since I find that even when I travel, I might not remember every little detail of what I was to bring.
What to buy: Ordinary items. Sometimes they have some good sales running. That's probably the best deal.
What to pay: Typical prices depending on item.
B. Dalton Bookseller is a national chain bookstore found in many malls across the nation.
What to buy: Books!
What to pay: Let's see, I bought a book originally priced at $30 for just $5.98 plus tax. Is that a bargain? You be the judge.
This large mall, across I-395 from the Pentagon, offers some of the best shopping in northern Virginia. It's not the largest mall in the area (Springfield Mall, in beautiful downtown Springfield has that distinction), but the architecture and the variety of shopping are great.
What to pay: Things are a bit pricey in northern Virginia, so bring plenty of cash.
Similar to Lyon Part-Dieu, Ballston Common manages to accommodate a lot of stores in a small space by building upward.
What to buy: Nearly everything is available. Ballston Common is also a good place to eat, relax and escape extremes in temperature.
What to pay: The stores lean to the upscale, but bargains can be found by the savvy shopper.
A new bike shop that I visited. It is two floors and there's just about anything you could want there related to bikes.
What to buy: Bicycles of course