A girl needs a break every now and then from the trials and tribulations of work, school, boys and whatever else life throws at her. Nothing relieves life’s stressors quite like dropping a few dollars on a new pair of wedges or splurging on that dress that you just had to get. Luckily Columbia isn’t too far from great shopping-expedition potential. Look no further than a couple of hours, ladies, and you and your friends could enjoy a weekend getaway in your own state. Kansas City, Lake of the Ozarks and St. Louis all offer their own unique experiences, and we promise you won’t have to break the bank to get ‘em.
Kansas City – One Stop Shop
Time from Mizzou: 2 hours, 15 minutes
It’s a straight shot on I-70 West.
Kansas City has a lot to offer, especially in the shopping arena, but it is also home to one famous place that can satisfy all your shopping needs: the Country Club Plaza. The infamous Plaza is home to 15 blocks of more than 150 stores and restaurants. Try not to get overwhelmed. You’ll feel as if you’re walking in your own little town as you venture in and out of stores and stare enviously through store windows. Although it looks upscale, the Plaza offers everything from wallet-busting boutiques to the more-bang-for-your-buck stores. If you want to buy a sleek black dress from White House Black Market, you can. If you want to buy trendy tops, pants and a few pairs of shoes for fun, then you can do so inexpensively at Forever 21. You also do not have to look far to rest your feet and refuel your body in the midst of spending all of that money. There are nearly 50 restaurants right on the Plaza. There are Christmas lights during the holiday season, plus concerts and other special events on a regular basis. Hotels are available on the Plaza or nearby for those looking to save some cash (then you have a justification for spending more at the stores). For more information, be sure to check out the Country Club Plaza online and see a list of shops, restaurants, hotels and events.
Lake of the Ozarks – Bargains Are a Girl’s Best Friend
Time from Mizzou: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Enjoy the scenic route through the state capital and the Ozarks.
Lake of the Ozarks is a fun-filled getaway for the adventurous, the relaxed and (of course) those who like to shop. Novelty shops are located all throughout the area, but the Osage Beach Premium Outlets is sure to be your safe haven. Fair warning: Its overwhelming bargains might make you tear up a bit. Even though there are more expensive stores, such as Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein and J. Crew, each store guarantees lower prices to fit your collegiette budget. A great Coach outlet store is also on site. Bookstores with $4 books are available, as well as large Nike and Adidas stores. With 110 stores, you’ll easily find something to your taste. If you’re in need of some food, you can walk to the mall’s Hideout Bar and Grill or any of the other four food places. You could also drive to the hundreds of nearby restaurants. The Lake offers a variety of lodging – hotels, condos, houses. You can stay at any popular hotel chain, or check out Vacation Rental by Owner if you want to splurge on your stay. Many privately owned homes and condos are cheaply available during the winter months. To find more information, including a mall directory, be sure to check out the mall’s website.
St. Louis: Hard-Core Shopper’s Heaven
Time from Mizzou: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Take I-70 East with a few highway changes mixed in for good fun.
For all those hard-core shoppers who are looking for mall after mall, store after store, and who will literally shop ‘til they drop, look no further than St. Louis. The Gateway to the West offers a plethora of options for the shopper looking to get the most (and to buy the most) out of their get-away weekend. If you’re willing to drive around the city a little bit, you can hit up multiple malls that all offer a little something different. As you near St. Louis, you should make your first stop at Chesterfield Mall. It contains all of your favorite stores, including department stores, such as Macy’s and Dillards (sadly, there is not a JCPenney). While in the area, make sure you stop by the Valley for fun restaurants and stores, too. Not even 20 minutes away, you can find West County Shopping Center. With one of the largest Forever 21 stores in the country, West County offers a mix of upscale and your normal go-to stores. If you head further north, you will find the St. Louis Mills. The Mills has a superb Banana Republic and Gap that always guarantee great clearance items. For a little adventure, you can also go ice-skating at the St. Louis Blues official practice rink, which is located inside the mall. For more upscale shopping, make sure you check out the Plaza Frontenac and the Galleria, which are both in the Clayton area near downtown St. Louis. For all those Urban Outfitters lovers, the Galleria is for you. Make sure you also check out BARcelona, an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant nearby. It will be sure to satisfy your hunger after a couple days of full-blown shopping.