On weekends (particularly long weekends), the Canadian-U.S. border crossing between the province of British Columbia and Washington state are often busy with lines of Vancouverites eager to make the 4 hour roundtrip drive from Vancouver, BC to the nearest U.S. outlet malls. Some Vancouverites even make it a regular weekend trip from Vancouver, BC down to Seattle, WA because of the great shopping and deals they find.
While living in Vancouver, my day-long excursions down to these U.S. outlets were not as successful. After a day of shopping, I usually left empty-handed and with sore feet. When accounting for the USD-to-CAD currency conversion rate, added credit card foreign transaction fees and roundtrip driving fuel costs, I didn’t find that the U.S. outlet merchandise was more economical than if it were purchased locally in Vancouver. While residing in Vancouver, I didn’t see the benefits of outlet mall shopping in the U.S. and stuck to enjoying the local malls within the Greater Vancouver Area instead.
However, living in Silicon Valley has since converted me to outlet shopping. Silicon Valley has excellent malls – both indoor and outdoor malls, but its outlet malls are equally good. Outlet shopping is easily accessible and conveniently located to the north and south of Silicon Valley. Outlet malls are now my go-to shopping choice.
|Nearest U.S. outlet malls from Vancouver, BC, Canada:
• Burlington Outlet Shoppes (Burlington, WA)
• Seattle Premium Outlets (Tulalip, WA)
|Nearest U.S. outlet malls in Silicon Valley:
• Great Mall (Milpitas, CA)
• Gilroy Premium Outlets (Gilroy, CA)
• Livermore Premium Outlets (Livermore, CA)
|With the exception of Great Mall, all of the outlet malls listed above are outdoor plazas. Great Mall is an indoor mall of outlet stores, has a full food court, and small kiddie rides throughout the mall.|
|The International franchise, Premium Outlets, has two locations in the Silicon Valley area – Livermore (north) and Gilroy (south).
• The Gilroy Premium Outlets was established some years back, whereas the Livermore Premium Outlets was only launched recently in 2013.
• The Gilroy Premium Outlets property is more extensive than Livermore Premium Outlets in that its shops can be quite aways from each other, where you might have to wait at stop lights to cross busy intersections. It is easy to get lost without the Gilroy Premium Outlets map.
• At Livermore Premium Outlets, you’ll find a longer list of high-end designer labels from Brunello Cucinelli, Elie Tahari, Etro, Max Mara, and to Ports 1961 and Prada.
|Some luxury department stores have their own branch of outlet shops:|
|Luxury Department Store||Associated Outlet Shop|
Barneys New York
Saks Fifth Avenue
Last Call by Neiman Marcus
Happy outlet shopping!
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• ABC News: Outlet Malls – Great Deals or Duds?
• Consumerist.com: 8 Tips To Get The Best Bargains On Your Next Outlet Shopping Trip
• Difference Between Shopping Malls and Outlet Stores
• Investopedia: 7 Tips for Outlet Mall Shopping
• OutletShoppers.com: Best Time of Year to Shop at Outlet Malls and Why
• U.S. News: 6 Tips for Savvy Outlet Shopping