Behold yet another of Phoenix ’s outdoor “lifestyle centers” (a.k.a. megamalls); at 1.2 million square feet, Desert Ridge (21001 N. Tatum Blvd., 480/419-8088, www.shopdesertridge.com , 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.) seems to have a super-chain for every need and taste.
You’ll find clothing stores like Old Navy, American Eagle Outfitters, and Hollister, as well as specialty shops like Learning Express and Sunglass Hut, a handy resource in the desert. There’s also an 18-screen movie theater, bungee jumping, and a super-arcade and bowling alley at Dave & Busters.
On the northern edge of town, a bargain hunter’s paradise unfolds in the desert. The Outlets at Anthem (4250 W. Anthem Way, 623/465-9500, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun., www.outletsanthem.com ) is home to 75 brand-name stores loaded with merchandise at significantly reduced prices. Traveling cheap? You’ll find Banana Republic, Gap, J. Crew and Calvin Klein duds marked down by up to 70 percent. The shops are clean. The styles are new.
A food court with just about anything you’re looking for will keep you full enough to search out every last deal for affordable but fashionable sunglasses and kitchenware. A 50,000-square-foot expansion means you’ll need all the energy you can get.