Photos by Gary Ussery and provided by West Acres
With cookies to bake, trees to decorate and presents to buy, even the happiest of holidays can get a bit hectic with all the hustle and bustle of the season. No matter how many things you have to check off your list over the next few weeks, the team at West Acres has you covered for it all.
From festive events to useful amenities, we’ve listed all you need to know for a perfect holiday shopping trip in our hour-by-hour guide for a day at the mall. So whether you’re hunting for a great gift, exploring the seasonal pop-ups, or even looking for a Christmas card-worthy photo op, we’ve included it here. Check it out:
10 a.m. – Arrival
Start the day out strong and park near the main entrance, where you will be greeted by 8-foot cut-out letters reading “Joy Starts Here,” located next to the Guest Services counter (Perfect Instagram opportunity!) Once you’ve arrived, the first thing to do is to shed your coat and get comfortable. With West Acres’s complementary coat check at the main entrance Guest Services, you don’t have to worry about holding your jacket while sifting through racks.
To make sure you are fueled for the day, head over to locally owned Cinamen Roll Company to indulge. There’s no better time of year to satisfy your sweet tooth than now, and the smell of cinnamon rolls can be smelt throughout the whole wing! (Our go-to sweet treat: Caramel Roll Bites) For the caffeine kick to send you on your shopping journey, swing by Lighthouse Coffee and grab your cup of joe to-go. (Give the White Chocolate and Mint Mocha a try – our favorite!)
11 a.m. – Shopping
It’s time to start checking things off your gift list. Let’s get started.
Favorite local finds:
- Minn Dak Market: Hot find: Maple River Winery Daiquiri Mix. Actually hot find: Grubbersputzel’s Fire Hazard Pretzels
- Real Good Bath and Body: Their Foaming Bath Salts are to die for
- Aptitude: A hand-crafted mug from Fermie Studios is always a good bet.
Favorite holiday pop-ups:
- A favorite part of the holiday season at West Acres are the seasonal kiosks that come around this time of year. Longtime favorites include See’s Candies, Hickory Farms (say hello to the gourmet gift basket of your dreams) and the Personalized Ornaments kiosk. This year, add a new stop on your list, stopping by to see the artists at Aptitude (a creative incubator by The Arts Partnership and West Acres) as they will be holding pop-up holiday markets throughout the season!
Best way to “tech the halls”:
- Best Buy: Best Buy is full of impactful gifts, from Sonos speakers to the newest AirPods to an Instax Instant Camera, there is something for everyone on your list.
1 p.m – Lunch
Checking so many gifts off your list burns some serious calories! If you’re shopping with a group of friends, the food court is ideal, as it has options for everyone. For lunch, we love heading to Rising Bread Company for a Turkey Mushroom and Swiss sandwich or a bowl of Knoephla Soup. Cozy up with your lunch near the Food Court fireplace and rejuvenate for the afternoon ahead!
2 p.m – Rest and Reflection
Before you return to finding those perfect gifts for loved ones, be sure to take advantage of some of the festive spaces and events that West Acres has this season.
To take a moment to feel grateful for the people whom you can buy gifts for, stop by the Cozy Corner by Gathered Rentals & Events near Center Court. This cozy, cabin-themed oasis is expertly styled and includes a number of mailboxes labeled with different organizations. Customers are encouraged to write letters to those in need in our community to brighten up their holiday season.
4 p.m. – More Shopping
For those final few gifts you’re struggling to find, the West Acres team is here to help! For your very own digital concierge service, direct message West Acres on Instagram (@westacresmall) and tell them what you are stumped with. The team will offer personalized gift ideas, including price points and locations of each gift. Plus, keep an eye on their Instagram Stories as they post their top present picks, with weekly gift inspiration and ideas.
To further help guide you, here are some of our favorite gift ideas:
Favorite stop for him:
- Halberstadt’s: With their recently expanded store, their selection of menswear can’t be beaten! One stocking stuffer we recommend? Fun socks from a new brand of theirs, Stance.
Best personalized gift service for her:
- Evereve: Whether you know your lady’s style to a T or you’re feeling a little lost, the Evereve team always leads us in the right direction. You can find anything from dainty jewelry to popular brands like Sorel, Free People, Sanctuary and more!
Perfect place to stock up on the cutest items for kiddos:
- Stride Rite: Their newly expanded store carries everything from toys to pajamas to snow pants, and of course, their huge selection of specialty kids’ shoes. Their kid’s sized UGGS make for a comfy and oh so cute gift.
Place to find hot-holiday items:
- JCPenney: They have a well-stocked assortment of Disney items on their second level for the kiddos on your list + don’t forget about Sephora inside JCPenney for the best beauty finds! Tip – Sephora carries amazing value packs during the holiday season!
7 p.m. – Dinner Time
Shopping during the holiday season can be a workout! Celebrate your hard work with dinner at newly opened CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi Bar. CRAVE isn’t just a restaurant in the mall, it is a destination in and of itself. With a chic ambiance, diverse menu (vegan and gluten-free options are available!) and outstanding service, this is the perfect dinner to end your successful day with, and maybe even cheers yourself with a glass of wine (they have over 120 different kinds on their menu!)
Favorite menu pick: Mexican Sushi Roll – made with tuna, escolar, jalapeño, avocado, cilantro, spicy mayo and soy citrus sauce.
Favorite drink option: Ginger Pear Martini, Grey Goose La Poire, Cointreau, house-made ginger syrup and white cranberry…yum!
What a day! We hope you are fully prepared for all your holiday shopping needs this season. From established stores we all know and love to new-on-the-scene local boutiques, West Acres has a store for everyone on your gift list. When you’re ready to have an easy, enjoyable and memorable shopping trip, West Acres is ready to welcome you in.
- Gift wrapping
- Coat and package check
- Cart rentals
- West Acres gift cards
- Cozy Corner by Gathered Boutique Rentals & Events.
- Giving Tree of Hope by First Link
- Personalized gift ideas and advice via their digital concierge service by direct messaging them on Instagram @westacresmall
- For all things holiday, including hours, visit westacres.com/holiday
Want to make your visit to West Acres even more special? Plan your trip on one of the many days where they have scheduled events happening. Inbetween shop stops, be sure to take time to relax and enjoy some music, drinks, crafts and more.
- Holiday Tap Fest – Saturdays, Nov 30, Dec. 7, 14 and 21 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Holiday Art Markets at Aptitude – Every Thursday (5 – 9 p.m.), Saturday (1 – 6 p.m.) and Sunday (1 – 6 p.m)from Dec. 1 to Dec 22.
- Santa Story Squad – December 3rd from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
- Quiet Hours with Santa – December 8th (9 a.m. – 11 a.m.) and 15th (9 a.m. – 10 a.m.)
- Free Holiday Photos – December 14th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.