When it’s mall day, you have a choice: Pile the family into the car and briskly lead everybody through your typical local mall, or take a turn into The Americana at Brand and transform your list of errands into a bona fide adventure. Visiting the Americana, an outdoor mall with a town-square atmosphere, is more like a refreshing stroll than a harried shopping day, so put on your comfy shoes and grab the kids for a day of fun and bargains.
Your kids will probably be the first to spot the handsome red electric trolley that circles the place. It’s free, so hop on board to get the lay of the land before you start shopping. This classic open-sided ride is adorned with a cherrywood interior and stained-glass accents, and it circles the fountain as the driver rings the bell. Check out the stores from your seat so you can plan your attack as you take a leisurely trip around the grounds.
“Grounds?” you ask, “Don’t you mean aisles? Hallways? Inconveniently located escalators?” No, it’s actually grounds. The Americana at Brand has a park-like setting, perfect for Los Angeles, where the sun is almost always shining. Follow the paths or skip across the grass, and swing into Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie on a whim. No rush, though. Hang out for a while. Admire the fountain in the center of the green space, as big as a pond, as it shimmers and dances its meticulous aquatic choreography to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” Heck yeah, you’re going to do it your way, after watching the fountain for a song or two.
It’s easy to forget that you’re in a mall, but you may want to take some time to shop for a bit. Step into Barnes & Noble and enjoy three floors of books, games, and music – complete with a cafe serving coffee and snacks on the top floor. Buy a cookie and nibble on it as you browse the children’s section.
A cookie, however, is not a meal (delicious though it may be), and soon the wafting aroma of garlic, chili, and soy has everyone hungry and craving dumplings. Fortunately, Din Tai Fung is just around the corner. Soon enough, you’re relaxing at a cozy table, watching your kids joyfully slurp up noodle soup while your sweetheart offers you the last juicy pork dumpling.
Having fun? You don’t want to leave, but you don’t have anything left to buy? Don’t worry about it. Stick around a little longer. The 18-Plex Pacific Theater has you covered. The next 3-D screening of the new Hobbit movie starts in 30 minutes.