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Where to indulge in Retail Therapy! My latest series of articles in Wroclaw Uncut (my favorite mall by far is Magnolia Park)!

Since Poland joined the EU, large, super modern shopping centres have sprung up all over the city. We sent Lauren Petersen out to give all you shopaholics the lowdown on Wroclaw’s sparkling shopping malls.

  

It’s been said that orange painted walls in a kitchen make you eat more. So does that mean orange colored accents make you shop more? To find out for yourself, head on over to the beautiful Galeria Dominikańska! The carrot colored scheme, in combination with bright and bold neon store signs, helps to create an energetic venue that rivals any shopping destination throughout the city.

Located in the heart of Wrocław, the mall is only a five-minute walk from the main Rynek and located adjacent to one of the main public transit stops. Built in 2001, Galeria Dominikańska was actually the first inner city shopping mall developed in the center of a Polish city. Many awards validate the acclaimed shopping center including the “2002 Distinction of the Polish Chamber of Architects” honor given to the mall’s developer ECE.

Inside, the mall mimics a Victorian Era shopping arcade with its hovering arched-glass windows saturating the mall with natural sunlight. Its linear designed corridor is spacious and makes finding and accessing stores a breeze. On the upper floor, advertisements and posters are perfectly framed and arranged to catch your eye, but aren’t obtrusive to the shopper’s experience. The lower level offers a myriad of grab-and-go food options, as well as a few nicer places to dine, including Ohh! Sushi & Grill and a Pizza Hut. Galeria Dominikańska is also a great destination for lovers of grocery shopping with its expansive and newly renovated Carrefour Market. Three commercial floors are filled with over 100 trendy stores including Zara, Pepe Jeans, Max Mara, Van Graaf, and a Media Markt for the hardware and electronic buffs.

If you haven’t got enough of a workout from browsing the racks, spending some hard-earned cash, or people watching, then be sure to visit the mall’s fitness center (which offers some magnificent panoramas of the city). Or, take a break by the vivacious fountains positioned throughout the lower level and relax while treating yourself to a refreshing ice cream.  Even if shopping isn’t your forte, the mall hosts various exhibitions, shows, and concerts throughout the year. A three-story attached parking garage provides over 900 spaces, in addition to some of the cheapest parking rates in the city.

According to the Galeria Dominikańska website, over 10.5 million people visit the mall annually, further affirming that this shopping center is truly a prominent landmark of Wrocław.

  

Since opening in the spring of 2007, Pasaż Grunwaldzki has helped to tremendously rejuvenate an area of Wrocław that was almost completely destroyed during World War II. Its central location at the crux of public tram and bus traffic makes this mall bustling at all hours of the day. While many customers arrive by foot or public transit, there are over 1,400 parking spaces for those who choose to come by car.

The sleek glass and brick exterior provides a grand setting for the 200+ stores on three commercial stories filled with Polish, European and American brands. Some of the main attractions include: Saturn, Sephora, Zara, H & M, Pierre Cardin, Intimissimi, and Delikatesy T & J Market. The top floor is filled with a huge food court, restaurants, and a movie theater with 11 screens. A favourite getaway while taking a break from a day of shopping is 77 Sushi Restaurant, which offers a wide selection of tasty sushi and Japanese cuisine.

The center’s modern interior is created by sleek grey and white accents with plenty of natural lighting. Illuminated and effervescent fountains throughout the shopping complex also create an element of tranquility. This mall is also a favorite among students with its convenient location adjacent to many university dormitories. One of the more charming aspects is a bronze statue of a shopping gnome, which greets customers as they circumnavigate throughout the mall.

Pasaż Grunwaldzki is the ideal destination for an all-day shopping affair with its incredibly large selection of stores and central location.

  

Magnolia Park could easily be dubbed “Magnolia City”. A grand boulevard filled with landscaping welcomes guests to the monstrous mall. The red brick exterior is adorned with enormous three-story tall glass windows, as well as, perfectly spaced pink banners and awnings displaying the mall’s name. Visitors, young and old, buoy up on canvas beach chairs as they enjoy spectacular performances from the captivating fountains. All-inclusive amenities include an outdoor stage, basketball court, fitness center, network of fountains, and even street signs inside the mall that navigates shoppers to their favorite stores.

The selection and mere number of stores in Magnolia Park is astonishing—over 200! Not only will you find a Tesco, for everything on your grocery list, but also you are likely to stumble upon Cos Dobrego, meaning “something good”, an upscale deli with glass fronted fridges full of top of the line meat. If you are more keen on making or modifying your own clothes, Krawiec –meaning “tailor”, offers an unbelievable assortment of thread, yarn, and other sewing supplies. A large food court near the main entrance is filled with cafes and restaurants that would suit any shopper’s fancy. A myriad of kiosks, exhibition display boards, and couches are situated throughout the corridors, which potentially mean you wouldn’t even have to set foot in an actual store to complete your shopping experience.

As the largest shopping center in the city, it truly sets a new standard for 21st Century retail complexes. Transcending an ordinary mall, Magnolia Park creates a stunning destination for visitors seeking both commerce and leisure. An absolute must visit for shoppers!

   

Opened in 2006, Factory serves as the anchor shopping destination for Futura Park retail complex. Though it is accessible by numerous bus routes, Factory caters more towards customers traveling by car since it’s located 20 minutes away from the city center, near the airport. Only one story tall and surrounded by a sea of parking lots and a McDonalds, it resembles any commonplace American factory outlet retail center. The interior is a bit lack-luster with slate floors and the only prominent source of lighting penetrating through a ribbon of windows capping the walls and skylights.

A few aspects set this mall apart from its competitors, including the selection of 107 discount stores and brands like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, and Big Star. It’s important to keep in mind, however, most stores here can afford to offer merchandise at reduced prices because the items are either out of style, leftover stock and sizes, originally overpriced, and could even potentially have deficiencies. Many sports stores, like Reebok and Puma, have shoeboxes and display tables stacked to the rim with overflowing deals. Also, many of the kiosks offer homemade goods for sale including everything from candles to candies. Surprisingly, there are also some vacant stores included in the mix and only a few café options to grab a coffee or a snack.

Ultimately, Factory Outlet Mall is the perfect destination if you are looking for designer and big name items at 30-70 percent discounted prices.

  

Upon entering Renoma, it is hard not to feel like a million dollars. Chic chandeliers, sleek all-glass storefronts, and a mesh of modern and historical design elements, all contribute to an experience that transcends a typical day at the mall. Renoma is a befitting name as the mall’s history is quite “renowned” (as it translates in English). Built in only eight months, the department store opened its doors on April 2nd, 1930 and at the time was the largest department store in Europe. After being damaged and burnt during World War II, it was later reopened as a State Department Store. In 1977, it made the Register of Historical Monuments but only to be left abandoned in 1989. Then, in 2005, Centrum Development and Investments came onboard to preserve and refurbish the magnificent building, further tripling its size.

Today, the beautiful and streamlined structure hosts some of the most cutting-edge and à la mode brands: Guess by Marciano, Max Mara Weekend, Zara, Armani, and TK Maxx, to name a few. Catering more towards the high-end customer, the mall’s interior is extremely clean with no crowds or rambunctious visitors. Though the amount on most of the stores’ price tags may be intimidating to a bargain shopper, much satisfaction can be had just from simply enjoying the artfully crafted and arranged window displays. For the more serious shoppers who wish to take a timeout from the purchasing extravaganzas, an escape to Empik Bookstore on the third floor provides a perfect place to recharge while offering spectacular views of Wrocław’s Old Town District.

If you are looking for a shopping experience that avoids the litter and rubbish tracked in from the streets, low-budget and chintzy merchandise, and long lines at the cash register, then the lavish Renoma is the place for you!

Be sure to find out more about my amazing city at http://wroclawuncut.com/

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