TANGER OUTLETS BRING A NEW SHOPPING EXPERIENCE TO WEST MI
I dared venture over to the new Tanger Outlet Mall today, now that the crazy opening-weekend traffic has died down. We arrived just a bit past 11am on a Wednesday morning and the traffic wasn’t bad. The parking lot was filling up quickly, though, and I could see how easily traffic could get tangled from those leaving US-131.
I would not recommend going to the outlets with small kids on a weekend day any time soon- I anticipate the next few weekends are going to be crazy there, too. However, if you can get over there during the week sometime, you will like what you find!
THIS MALL HAS AN OUTDOOR PLAYGROUND
…and that outdoor playground has a rubberized floor. It’s geared toward little kids (the sign says ages 5-12, but my 11 year old was almost too big for it.)
Interesting fact- the playground is not listed on the printed maps of the outlet mall, so you may need to ask someone where it is. Or, you can go to the northeast outer corner of the mall (behind the Old Navy Outlet) and you’ll find it there.
THE MALL FEELS LIKE A LOVELY VILLAGE
I’ve been to many outlet malls over the years and none have the same atmosphere as this one. The mall feels like a small city. My son said he felt like he was walking around a downtown.
In the center of the mall, you’ll find a courtyard with a big fire chimney (in front of the Nike store.) There are also numerous tables and chair spread throughout. Landscaping and other small touches just make it a nice place you want to hang out. I wonder what it will feel like in January, though.
THE SHOPPING IS PRETTY GOOD
There are a lot of stores dedicated to kids at Tanger Outlets. Carter’s Gymboree, H&M, Old Navy, The Children’s Place, Justice, OshKosh, Under Armour, to name a few.
I found that the size of some of the stores were smaller than anticipated, especially the Gymboree Outlet. I was impressed with the size of the kids’ department in Under Armour and thought that Nike had the best selection of shoes for kids, along with the Famous Footwear Outlet. Conversely, the Sperry store and the Merrell store had one shelf each with shoes for kids. If you’re going shoe shopping for kids at this mall, check out Nike, Famous Footwear, Converse, Under Armour and Skechers.
Prices are all over the place. Some stores have big sales, some stores accept coupons (be careful if you’re trying to use non-Tanger coupons here- they may not be accepted.) I thought prices were similar to what you’d find in other mall stores, but there were some exceptions, especially when it came to the purchase I made at the Corningware store.
You’ll find many of the children’s stores located near the playground and Old Navy. I call this kid alley. There is even a Toys’R’Us Outlet there.
If I was just interested in just shopping the kid-oriented stores, I’d try to park near the playground and save some walking.
FOOD IS VERY LIMITED
As of August 5, 2015, there is only one restaurant on site and it is Subway. Today, at 12:30 pm, I waited in line for 35 minutes to get my family food. If my kids were younger, that would have been a deal breaker. I suggest bringing lots of snacks along. There are also vending machines and a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cart, along with an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel shop.
There are multiple bathroom facilities located around the mall, including family restrooms, but there are no bathrooms near the playground, which is a bummer. The restrooms nearest the playground are located by Subway past Old Navy.
STROLLERS ARE HELPFUL
Even though the mall’s design feels compact, you will likely do a lot of walking. I’d suggest a stroller for any child under the age of 5, and then only if your five year old has a lot of stamina.
Tanger has been mailing residents coupons for the past few weeks, so don’t forget to bring those if you have them. You can also get a 20% off coupon for select stores by going to their website.
Another way to get coupons is to visit the Shopper Services office and either buy a coupon book for $5 or become a lifetime member for $10.
You can also rent strollers at this location.
How did you like Tanger Outlets in Grand Rapids? Any tips to share?