I’ve been visiting the Riverwalk since my stroller days, when throwing pennies into the fountain was enough entertainment for hours. Now, twenty-three years later, I still enjoy parking at the Hilton and walking along the Mississippi River shoreline. (And maybe feeding a coin to the fountain, just for old times sake.) Though a lot has stayed the same, some things have changed. The old Riverwalk Marketplace re-opened on May 22nd as the Outlet Collection at the Riverwalk, refurbished with new outlets and food courts. (http://www.riverwalkneworleans.com/) So, as a curious local, I had to check it out.
I won’t lie. Many of the stores are reminiscent of Lakeside Shopping Mall in Metairie, including places like Aeropostale, Guess, Gap, Forever 21, Claire’s, and even Café du Monde. Yet many of shops are factory stores, and lower prices on brand names may be worth the drive downtown. Plus, with the French Quarter and Audubon Aquarium so close by, the Outlet Collection would add to your “girls’ day out.”
Despite similarities to Lakeside, the Riverwalk has several gems that make it stand out. One store, called A Simpler Time, is dedicated to vintage items from the 1920’s-1940’s. My first impressions included a sign made from an old washing board and the song “In the Mood” playing in the background. Selling everything from wrought-iron Fleur de Lis, classic children’s books (ex. What Little Girls are Made Of), to model boats, the store provides a nice break from sleek and shiny retail stores. For more, check out http://www.asimplertime.com.
However, my favorite was the Wilsons Leather Outlet. I admit, leather is one of my weak points, but when good quality is coupled with low prices…well, it’s hard to say no. The outlet boasts many styles for both men and women, and for the women, many colors too. Faux leather, or “vegan leather” as the saleslady put it, was marked down as low as $49.99. The real leather, of course, was more expensive, but most jackets were still below $200. With such good deals, I walked out with two faux leather jackets—one in turquoise and the other in cobalt blue. After a second discount was deducted, I paid only $38 for each jacket!
The mall also has several kid-friendly places, such as Gymboree, IT’SUGAR, and Gumbo Toys. Or, for the mom with a day off, there’s Avalon Salon & Spa. Bottom line, if you’re just out to buy what you need and leave, the mall isn’t for you. But if you plan to make a day of it and spend some time at surrounding attractions, then the new Outlet Collection can make a fun addition to your day downtown!