Best Of 2001

Best Mall: Saint Louis Galleria

Let's agree that malls are terrible things: enablers of suburban sprawl, undeserving beneficiaries of TIFs, destroyers of vital downtowns, promoters of unchecked consumerism. Let's also admit that most of us -- excepting misanthropes, anarchists and unreconstructed Marxists -- make at least an occasional mall visit. We may not stroll the hallways for hours on end like the obsessive shoppers, sale-crazed bargain hunters and cruising adolescents, but now and again we all succumb. They're just too damn convenient -- especially the Saint Louis Galleria. With its central location and daunting plentitude of stores -- 165 at last count -- the Galleria is the exemplar of one-stop shopping: If you can't find it there, it likely can't be found anywhere. OK, that's slightly hyperbolic (you can't purchase a bag of cement, for example, or a new car muffler), but with four department stores (not just old standbys Famous-Barr and Dillard's but also Lord & Taylor and Mark Shale) and scads of specialty shops, there aren't too may gaps left unfilled. (In fact, you'll find three Gaps: GapKids, GapMen and GapWomen.) The mall even features two Starbucks, allowing shoppers exhausted from walking the miles of aisles to recaffeinate on both its first and second levels. Our only quibble: that snooty spelled-out "Saint." It's St. Louis, Galleria -- stop making copy editors' lives more miserable than they already are.

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