The United States of America is known to be the trendsetter in almost every realm of our life: economy, science, technology, medicine, and, of course, trade. But, today we talk about such a widely-spread innovation, found all over the world, that isn't an American as such.
Although a shopping mall or outlet mall is believed to be an American know-how, it is not a recent innovation. Isfahan's Grand Bazaar, which is largely covered, dates from the 10th century A.D. The 10 kilometer long, covered Tehran's Grand Bazaar also has a very old history.
The Burlington Arcade in London was opened in 1819. The Arcade in Providence, Rhode Island brought the idea to the United States only in 1828.
In the mid-20th century, with the rise of the outskirts and automobile culture in the United States, a new form of outlet mall was created away from city centers. The Valley Fair Mall, located in Appleton, Wisconsin, was built in 1954, and is considered as the first enclosed shopping mall in the United States.
A very large shopping mall is sometimes called a megamall. One of the world's largest shopping complexes found at one location is the two-mall complex of the Plaza at King of Prussia and the Court at King of Prussia in the Philadelphia suburb of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, USA. The most visited shopping mall in the world, and largest mall in the United States, is the Mall of America, located near the Twin Cities in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA.
There are different terms concerning the outlet mall as a shopping center, or shopping arcade, that are preferred in the United Kingdom and Australia, and the shopping mall which is more usual for the USA. Anyway a shopping mall (or simply mall), shopping center, or shopping arcade is a building or set of buildings that contain different outlet stores, and have interconnecting walkways that make it easy for people to walk from store to store. Moreover, there are various types of outlet mall.
A regional mall is a shopping mall which is designed to service a larger area than a conventional shopping mall. As such, it is typically larger, and offers a wider selection of stores.
A strip mall is a shopping center where the stores are arranged in a row, with a sidewalk in front. Strip malls are typically developed as a unit and have large parking lots in front. They face major traffic arterials.
Now being a quite ordinary thing, outlet shopping malls have extended all over the modern world. Let's consider, for example, the capital of the USA, Washington, D.C. If you come to Washington, DC, you will very likely be impressed not only by Washington's progressive Metro rail system, but by the greater metropolitan area that includes neighboring parts of both Maryland and Virginia.
Outlet shopping malls in Maryland and Virginia are worth the ride. Within a few hours drive from Washington, DC, you will find the best selection of outlet stores and the best prices on designer and brand name items from clothing to electronics to housewares.
Here is the brief list of the most visited outlet shopping malls near Washington, DC.
Arundel Mills (7000 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover, Maryland (410) 540-5110) is the Baltimore-Washington, DC area's newest shopping, dining, and entertainment center. Arundel Mills' main feature is more than 200 specialty retailers, a variety of restaurants, a 20-screen movie theatre, and a teen entertainment complex.
Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets (241 Fort Evans Road, Suite 241, Leesburg, Virginia (703) 737-307) is upscale outlet shopping in an outdoor village setting, featuring over 110 stores, featuring designer and sportswear apparel, home and furnishings, jewelry, gifts, and much more. There is something here for everyone, with stores like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Eddie Bauer, Jones New York, Reebok, OshKosh B'Gosh, Crate & Barrel, and Pottery Barn. There is a food court and a small children's playground.
Potomac Mills Outlet Mall (2700 Potomac Mills Circle, Prince William, Virginia, (703)496-9301) is one of the world's largest outlet malls with more than 220 discount stores featuring designers and brand names including Nordstrom RACK and OFF 5th Saks Fifth Avenue, Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Nautica, Banana Republic, Mikasa, Gymboree, and much more. Potomac Mills has numerous dining options ranging from fast food to the Olive Garden, Silver Diner, and Ruby Tuesdays. There is an AMC 18-screen movie theatre and a Mugsy Meadow Kids Club that offers free family programs throughout the year.
Prime Outlets at Hagerstown (495 Prime Outlets Blvd., Hagerstown, Maryland (301) 790-0300) is an outlet center with over 100 retailers, a food court, and a children's playground. This is a fairly new outlet mall, which generally means bigger, prettier, and with more amenities that make you want to go back over and over. For the one-time visiting vacationer, it is enough to know that Prime Outlets of Hagerstown takes pride in having over a hundred designer and specialty outlet stores. Its End of Month Sidewalk Sales occurs on the last weekend (Friday through Sunday) of each month.
Prime Outlets at Queenstown (441 Outlet Centre Drive, Queenstown, Maryland (410) 827-86990) has over 55 designer and popular brand outlet stores located 75 minutes out of Washington.
The existing dense system of outlet shopping malls in the US can provide the best selection of original brand named items at cut rates. It is so-called one-stop shopping malls where you can purchase anything of conceivable, high-quality production.