Bridge Street Town Center
Debuting as the first open-air lifestyle center in north Alabama in 2007, the Bridge Street Town Center has since evolved into a mixed-used property. This center features more than 70 shops and restaurants, the No. 1 movie theater in the state, a 210-room hotel and a six-story office building. At the site’s 10-acre lake, groups can take a break from swiping their credit cards to walk the trails, take a cruise on an authentic Venetian gondola, twirl around on the full-size carousel or just gaze at the elaborate fountains along the property.
With plans to construct a Belk department store for the 2014 holiday season, this center already has a roster of more than 25 market-exclusive upscale and specialty stores, including Apple, Anthropologie, Brighton Collectibles, Swarovski, Sephora and more. The center is also home to the area’s only P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Connors Steak and Seafood, Cantina Laredo and the Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant.
“The center storefronts are designed to mimic a two-story European village with cobblestone walkways, seating areas and lush landscaping,” explained Van Geroux, marketing director for the Bridge Street Town Centre, whose favorite aspect of the shopping center is the Monaco Pictures cinema, which includes a luxury section with reserved seating, a VIP lounge and wine tasting room, and a restaurant and martini lounge with sushi and other “share-ables.” “It’s a one-of-a-kind movie theater.”
Market Square District
Offering retail, dining, live concerts and festive events such as the biweekly Market Square Farmer’s Market from May to November, Market Square in Knoxville is so much more than a mere shopping spot; it’s an entire destination for vacationing group shoppers. Centrally located in downtown Knoxville, Market Square draws crowds of visitors and locals alike to check out the latest from each locally owned storefront, neighborhood eatery and nightlife option.
The district was first established as a market house in the mid-1800s, when farmers from all over the city would gather to sell their produce and products. It has since grown to become a thriving destination with a fresh mix of retailers. Earth to Old City sells eclectic home decor, Rala houses artisanal arts and gifts made by local craftspeople, Rococo Boutique brings whimsical decor and gifts to the Market Square mix, and Bliss offers unique gifts and apparel for discriminating shoppers.
“Market Square is the perfect place for visitors to begin a shopping excursion during a day in Knoxville,” said Kim Davis, senior director of marketing and communications with Visit Knoxville. “My favorite part of the Market Square District is the mixture of shopping, dining and nightlife options that make this area a central hub for every type of person. There are many different options, from casual to funky and fun, and there’s always some type of event taking place in the middle of the square. It’s the perfect location to find unique gifts, grab a bite to eat with friends and enjoy live entertainment.”
No need to scout for oversized malls or bustling centers when traveling to this Southern shopping spot; in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the entire town is a shopping destination. Jokingly referred to as “the shopping district,” the entire town of Eureka Springs is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features more than 100 independently owned retail establishments selling everything from home decor to apparel. Most of the products are made in the region, and many are created right in Eureka Springs.
“Because we have no chain stores, big-box stores, or discount and outlet stores, you can bet whatever it is that catches the eye will be unique and not something they can get back home,” said Karen Pryor, sales director for the Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission. “Our clientele knows our inventory changes often, so very rarely do different shops carry the same merchandise. I would have to say my personal favorite is Quicksilver Gallery on Spring Street. No matter what the occasion, I can always expect a little black-and-gold box embossed with ‘Quicksilver’ from my husband.”
Groups love spending time at Pine Mountain Village and exploring the “downtown” shops for some much needed retail therapy. Whether it’s choosing the perfect handmade quilt, sorting through original pieces of art or simply snapping a memorable photograph along the beautiful streets to remember the visit, Eureka Springs offers in each visit the true definition of one-of-a-kind.