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IF SHOPPING IS YOUR BAG, BIRMINGHAM IS THE PLACE

Birmingham, Ala.---QVC and the Home Shopping Network might scratch that spending itch for a while, but they can’t compete with the smell of fresh markdowns in the mall. Devoted shoppers know that in Birmingham the buying spree can go on for days, fueled by the huge selection of places to purchase.

The Summit includes a host of stores never before seen in the state. Among them: Williams-Sonoma, the gourmet kitchen and home entertainment retailer; Eddie Bauer, casual lifestyle sportswear and accessories; and Greenhouse, a high-end spa and salon. Another sought-after retailer that has settled in Birmingham is Urban Outfitters, the Philadelphia-based retailer known for its trendsetting clothing.  You will also find the ever-popular Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware, a store you may never want to leave. www.thesummitonline.com/birmingham

The Shops of Grand River are the latest addition to the discount shopping scene. A sampling of the distinctive outlet and specialty stores are Brooks Brothers, Gap Outlet, Jones New York Outlet, Bose, Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach, Carters Babies & Kids, and more. www.shopsofgrandriver.com

Just down I-459 at Highway 31, the Riverchase Galleria continues to be Alabama’s premier shopping cities. The Galleria’s 200 specialty shops and department stores include Godiva Chocolatier, Banana Republic and The Disney Store and anchors JC Penney, Macy’s and Belk. Retailers recently joining the Riverchase Galleria include Aerie, a lingerie and loungewear store. Shoppers now enjoy the European cosmetics giant Sephora. www.riverchasegalleria.com

Neighboring the Riverchase Galleria is Patton Creek shopping district with about 600,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment. The development is designed with a "Main Street" look and feel with wide sidewalks and storefront parking. Store mix includes World Market, Barnes & Noble, Rave Motion Pictures, Edgar's Bakery, Panera Bread, Cajun Steamer and a number of local shops and boutiques. www.pattoncreek.com

Redesigned Brookwood Village in the suburb of Homewood is anchored by Macy's and Belk. In between, shoppers find stores such as Aeropostale, Victoria's Secret, Altar'D State and Earthbound Trading Company. Brookwood is also noted for its good restaurants including Brio and Cocina Superior. A new super Target is adjacent to the mall and is the first of its design in the country. www.shopbrookwoodvillage.com

Shoppers less inclined toward malls will find clusters of interesting stores and shops in areas around the city. Shopping ops in the suburb of Mountain Brook range from Smith’s Variety Store, an old-time five-and-dime with a splendid assortment of children’s toys, named by Southern Living magazine as one of the Top 200 places to visit. In neighboring downtown Homewood, the Main Street-look draws shoppers to Homewood Toy and Hobby, with traditional children’s toys and the best selection of stocking stuffers in the state, and At Home, carrying home accessories including funky, colorful, hand painted martini sets.

These shopping areas are only a sampling of many in the Birmingham area, including the charming and historic Five Points South shopping district where Charlemagne Records and McNolia’s Cards and Gifts rule.

For a free Tourist Guide and more information on Birmingham shopping, call the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-458-8085. Or log onto www.birmingham.travel
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Contact(s):
Vickie Ashford
phone: 205-458-8000
Dilcy Windham Hilley VP Marketing/Communications
205/458-8000 or dhilley@birminghamal.org