10 Centerpointe Mall
Centerpointe (one of the area's oldest shopping centers) has received a facelift and a new name in order to compete with newer, larger developments. Located along the busy 28th Street corridor, this mall features five anchor stores, including Menards, Nordstrom Rack, and TJ Maxx. In addition, you'll also find a bevy of moderately-priced, upscale specialty shops like Christopher & Banks, Steve & Barry's University Sportswear, DSW, and Hip Salon & Day Spa. Locals praise Klingman's, home of great deals on first-rate furniture, as the best reason to visit Centerpointe. (616-949-2550)
As you approach the crossing of Lake Drive and Wealthy Street from any direction, you'll notice that the road changes from smooth asphalt to bumpy, red brick — this is historic Eastown. Here, you'll find a variety of ways to spend your time and money, whether it's browsing at intriguing, independently-owned shops, enjoying live music or a cold brew at a nearby club, or sampling delicious cuisine at delightful local restaurants.
8 Rockford & Squires Street Square
This northeastern suburb of Rockford offers an eclectic mix of shopping and dining options in a cozy, small town atmosphere that seems to breathe Americana. Stroll through quaint little shops in the commercial district: high-end merchandise for the entire family at Glik's, specialty toys at Aunt Candy's, and second-hand and retro duds at Twice as Nice Consignment Boutique. Squires Street, restored to recapture its turn-of-the-century charm, is noteworthy for its light posts, brick sidewalks, and brilliant flowerbeds. Arnie's, the famous GR restaurant, opened shop in an old riverside mill in Rockford, and, of course, a burger and fries at world-famous Rosie's Diner is always a sound option. (616-866-2000)
7 Historic Lowell
This cozy, riverside town east of Grand Rapids offers a refreshing glimpse of life the way it ought to be. An old-fashioned commercial district beautified by sidewalk gardens, small shade trees, and friendly faces features a surprising wealth of shopping and dining venues. Peruse antique shops and small boutiques. Grab a bite at one of the charming cafes. Spend some time at Lowell Museum. If you plan your visit just right, you can even catch an old-timey showboat summer concert. (616-897-8457, 616-897-7688)
6 East Fulton
The East Fulton shopping district, situated approximately one mile east of downtown, offers a variety of family-owned specialty shops in a cozy, old-fashioned setting. Home to several antique shops, a furniture store or two, and a few art galleries, East Fulton's 900 and 1000 blocks are noteworthy for their charming storefronts and friendly shop-owners.
5 Gaslight Village
This quaint little lakeside community, whose flickering streetlamps give it its name, offers a quiet reminder of what life is still like in small, friendly towns. From the Gaslight Inn and Rose's to Starbucks, visitors to Gaslight Village will encounter ample places to dine and catch their breath after they've shopped through the area's tiny boutiques and specialty shops.
Downtown Grand Rapids' primary shopping district centers on a tree-lined street that runs from Pearl uphill to Division past a phalanx of old-fashioned brick buildings. Along the way are several small boutique shops, storefront cafés, and restaurants. Ionia Street, which crosses over Monroe, provides the urban setting for a variety of neat art galleries and, on its southwestern end, some of the downtown area's best restaurants and nightlife.
3 RiverTown Crossings
Anchored by such familiar retailers as Dick's Sporting Goods, Kohl's, JCPenney, Sears, Macy's and Younkers, RiverTown is one of the area's most exciting shopping destinations. This relaxed, well-lit mall has more than 120 stores and shops, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Old Navy, and Victoria's Secret. With five full-service restaurants and a food court, RiverTown provides plenty of choices to "refuel." The Celebration Cinema, a modern movie theater with a state-of-the-art sound system, offers a perfect respite after a rigorous day spent shopping and eating. (616-257-5000)
2 Woodland Mall
The east side's premier shopping destination, Woodland Mall offers a comfortable, contemporary setting with sitting areas and a cozy coffee shop with café-style seating. The mall features Macy's, JCPenney, and Sears as its anchor stores and also offers smaller specialty shops like Eddie Bauer, Ann Taylor, Foot Locker, American Eagle Outfitters, and Gap. (616-949-0010, 616-949-0012)
1 Breton Village
One of Grand Rapids' more exclusive shopping centers, Breton Village vaunts an impressive repertoire of more than 25 superb boutiques, specialty shops, and restaurants. From the center's very own Leigh's and Talbots to Pooh's Corner and Naked Plates, you'll find something here for just about everybody on your list. After shopping the day away, be sure to stop by D&W Fresh Market, where a pastry and a hot cup of coffee do wonders for the soul. (616-949-4141)