Cons: no movie theatres, opening hours should be earlier
The Bottom Line: For Los Angeles residents the Glendale Galleria is a great alternative to the Beverly Center and less damaging to your wallet
I have been shopping at the Glendale Galleria since I first moved to California in 1985. For years I lived in Hollywood and did not drive, but was able to hop on the 180 or 181 bus lines from Hollywood Boulevard and arrive in San Fernando Valley quickly and effortlessly. Within Los Angeles County the malls have changed over the years. We now have The Grove nestled in the Farmers Market area on Fairfax, which is a parking nightmare and located next to CBS Studios. Highland and Hollywood is another shopping attraction catering to the rich and famous, but is within walking distance of Hamburger Hamlet. Century City has a mall plus Santa Monica has the third street promenade. Sherman Oaks and North Hollywood have malls as well.
Burbank has the Media Center, Eagle Rock had a mall, but it is now called a shopping center that houses Target and Pasadena had an indoor mall years ago which is now an outdoor open-air village known as Paseo Colorado. Luckily Glendale Galleria has remained intact, easily accessible via the 5, 2 or 134 Freeways or from Glendale Boulevard, Brand Boulevard, Central and Los Feliz Boulevards.
The Glendale Galleria consists of two levels with the major department stores maintaining a third level along with separate entrances to and from their stores. The parking lots are underground and above with color coding the areas as well as animals adorning the structures.
Glendale has a bus service that goes along Brand Boulevard, Beeline. To access the bus from the Glendale Galleria you would exit and enter through Mervyns at the childrens clothing department. Located directly next door outside is an In-N-Out Burger. There is a ticker screen with the number of minutes before the next Glendale bus will arrive with the number and destination. One of these buses will take you to the Greyhound station as well to catch a Metro Link. The bus stop for Metro is at the same section that will take you directly to downtown Los Angeles. Across the street would be for the shoppers located in Burbank and other areas in the valley. This would be in front of the Old Navy store and movie theatres.
Along Brand Boulevard in Glendale are flashing walking signs alerting drivers to the pedestrian walkway. Brand Boulevard is also home to many auto dealerships before you get to Los Feliz and San Fernando Boulevard. Parking is free at the Glendale Galleria with the hours of operation beginning at 10 am daily and Saturdays. Sundays the hours are from 11-7 pm. During the holiday season the mall opened an hour earlier with many department stores opening at the crack of dawn. Santa Claus has been stationed on the lower level midway through the Glendale Galleria, at the JC Penney court area. Most functions take place at this same section.
There are escalators at both sides of the mall. When I drove to the mall I always parked by Red Robin and entered through the mall doors on the lower level with KB Toys right around the corner. Earlier this year the pet store moved from a few doors down to the upper level. My eight-year old loved going inside to see the snakes and reptiles way in the back through a side room. The pet store has always been busy with many families walking about. The Red Robin and Mc Donalds have separate entrances and exits for late night munchies and diners for after hours.
One end of the mall houses Robinsons May with the opposite side being Macys. Many years ago the May Company and Robinsons merged to form the new name. I prefer Macys but the store is really crowded and hard to find the elevators so I do not shop there as much. JC Penney has the catalog pick up area and furniture showroom plus a beauty parlor I have utilized in the past.
When you arrive at the top level via escalator at the Macys side you will see a Radio Shack nestled in the corner, they do good business probably because they are near a door. Glendale Galleria veers off to the right with two levels of stores. The middle is Nordstroms with Mervyns at the end of the hallway. The top level is basically eating establishments, but not the main food court. That is at the bottom level not far from Discovery Channel Store on the other side. Located above the food court are the Eddie Bauer, Bath & Body Works and Right Start stores.
A few weeks ago I headed over to the Glendale Galleria for some holiday gifts and stumbled on a one day clothing sale at Mervyns. If you apply for a credit card when making your purchase you will receive a 15% discount the same day. Since I recently sold the Britax Husky on eBay that I had purchased at the Right Start store inside the Glendale Galleria earlier this year, I stopped in to see if they still carried them. My buyer had mentioned difficulty in finding these seats. There was a brown model on display for $229.95, same price minus the 10% I paid almost one year ago.
There is a McDonalds close by the Right Start that has indoor and outdoor seating. The exit door takes you also to the parking lot above the garage. This is well lit for nighttime as well. The area is always well clean, as are the restrooms. At one time the McDonalds was located at the bottom level near Nordstroms, but I like it better at this spot. Nordstroms has two entrances on these levels as you make your way to the end of the corridor. One will be for shoes and the other has cakes and pastries.
Another fairly new arrival to the Glendale Galleria is the Build-a-Bear workshop. Further down you will find a game store for teens, the Disney store and Sharper Image. This area has music, art and novelty shops. For a few weeks back in the early 90s I actually worked a few weeks at a coffee shop in this area. Since I have never touched the stuff I figured it would be good experience but the smells were too much to handle.
Fredericks of Hollywood used to be in this area and moved a few years back to the main section of the mall. All three Gap chains are here but not in the same vicinity, which I would prefer. My favorite store is the Discovery Channel store. This has only been here a few years with the previous resident the KCET store, a PBS Station with similar items. I was not happy when they left but glad to see the replacement store.
Eddie Bauer has three small fitting rooms and a nice assortment of clothing for men and women plus outdoor items. I have purchased socks, candles and my watch there. There are also phones there for customers to place catalog orders. Around the corner from this store is the Bath Body and Works store. This is not as nice as the Paseo Colorado store, but the baskets to use are very nice and the sales people are hard to find during the holiday peak. I wanted to purchase another body splash and was trying to find a hand lotion, but due to the heat being cranked up I was so uncomfortable I left before making a purchase. Most of the customers were removing their coats as well. This was on a 75 degree day here in Southern California.
I walked all the way from Mervyns where I entered and spent one hour shopping to KB Toys to find some items I had printed out for reference. I passed by the customer service counter where they sell lotto tickets and looked through the slots for any notices of sales. I found flyers for $5.00 off any total of fifty dollars purchased at KB Toys. I picked up a few and made my way to the store. Nothing prepared me for the long line of shoppers waiting to pay for their purchases at KB Toys. I looked quickly at the prices and handed a coupon flyer to a woman I could barely see who had games stacked very high, and breezed on out of there after informing her where to obtain more coupons.
Turns out the two Lights Camera Interaction puzzles I wanted to purchase were at The Right Start with no wait, even though the customer before me was buying a large booster seat. I was happy to bring my business back to this store. They have a nice selection of books, videos, feeding equipment and educational toys.
My main focal point for my recent excursion at the Glendale Galleria was to visit the newly opened Lego store. The store was not crowded and nicely arranged with the basic lego sets on two sides of the walls and not cramped in the middle. I got two small basketballs for free with my purchases. The entire back wall has white buckets with every size and color of lego you can imagine. I cannot wait to take my children there to get the Bionicle sneakers. Although there were not many customers while I was inside, each person was making a purchase and seemed delighted with the store. Turns out they just opened the month before, November of 2003. The Glendale Galleria has a elevator near the JC Penney area that is glass window enclosed and kind of scary for kids. It took me a long time to get comfortable using it.
The food court has places for all tastebuds from cinnamon buns to hot dogs to asian delights. Along the mall you will also find juice and cookie spots. The vendors along the corridors sell tupperware, radio-controlled cars, jewelry, skin care lines and cellular phones. There are beauty supply stores and book stores as well as Brookstone, Childrens Place, GNC, footlocker, the Glendale Police foot station, Guess, Gymboree, Mac cosmetics, sephora, Lerner, Casual Corner, The Limited, suncoast motion picture, Talbots and Victorias Secret.
On my recent visit I bypassed Brookstone, but have made purchases there over the years. This time The Childrens Place was too busy, but I did not see a good selection of clothing for size 6-8. Over the summer I did pick up shorts for ten dollars. Along the walls there are pay phones and water fountains. I was disappointed that two water fountains did not work, but I was not about to stop and eat at the food court since I planned on hitting In-N-Out Burger on my way out.
The Disney Store caters to the younger child for clothing, but they did have some good bargains on shirts and stuffed animals, but not for the videos and games. They have a play area with a screen where movies are screened. The busiest stores were Mervyns and KB Toys. I found all the clothing deals at Mervyns but had to fight many women in the lingerie section to get a pair of High Sierra cold weather pants. The dressing rooms were not crowded and had plenty of room for packages and hooks for personal belongings. The register area had an empty Mervyns stroller that is free for customer use. I did spot a person awkwardly maneuvering a child sitting on a stroller while going down on an escalator.
There was not a long line for Santa pictures and the mall was comfortable and not crowded on a weekday as it opened at 9 am. I made it from one side to the other and back within three hours. There are mall directories at the corner spots with plenty of bench space to sit and relax before hitting another store. There is no smoking inside the mall, no animals unless a companion for the disabled and no bikes or skateboards. The day I went there were many older disabled adults with their caretakers in wheelchairs enjoying the day.