Whether you’re looking for dorm accessories, a back-to-school outfit or a dress for Freshman semi-formal, Atlanta shopping has just what you’re looking for — but from the plethora of everything ranging between chain companies and high-end boutiques, where’s a college student on a budget (or not) to go?
If you find yourself going to Zaya as a dining alternative to the DUC or are buying an inordinate amount of sweats from the bookstore to feed your shopping desires, it’s time to relax. With ongoing renovations, Emory Village is quickly becoming a viable place to dine and shop. Whether you’re craving pad thai, burritos, falafel or fro-yo that isn’t the “fro-yo” at Cox, the Village has it all. Make a CVS run for those daily necessities, get that money-spending fix at Evolve Boutique, and get those relatively high-end purchases dry-cleaned next door at Majik Touch Cleaners. At just a few minute’s walk from main campus, it’s the closest you can get to leaving the Emory bubble without actually leaving Emory.
For the first year of your life at college, you will likely spend many a weekend at Lenox. Not only are you probably still making the transition between those afternoons hanging out at the mall in high school to partying with the big dogs in college, Lenox is the only shopping center you’ll have regular shuttle access to. Located a 20 minute drive from campus, it’s a paradise of convenience: you’ve got home furnishings at Brookstone, Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel; affordable shopping such as Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Zara; mid-range apparel at J.Crew, Madewell and Club Monaco; and high-end designer shopping at Prada and Fendi. Not to mention, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus are located at Lenox and with on-location dining such as CPK and Panera (or the Food Court, if that’s your thing), you can make a day of a mall outing at this one-stop-shop.
Laced with a number of low-end shops, Lenox just doesn’t give you that high-end feel — luckily, Phipps is just down the street. If you couldn’t find that Tory Burch bag you’ve been dying to get all season at Neiman Marcus, you’ll find your splurge at either Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue at Phipps. Get your dormwear at Juicy Couture (please, avoid the full body tracksuits), stock up on casuals at Michael Stars, get a high-fashion semi-formal dress at Intermix or visit Vince to get your fall necessities to be the best-dressed girl or guy on campus. If you’re going all out, Phipps also boasts Valentino, Elie Tahari, Giorgio Armani and Bottega Veneta.
Don’t have a car, but terrified (for good reason) of MARTA? No worries! Be sure to check the Emory Announcements conference on LearnLink, as every now and then Emory Experience shuttles take students to Atlantic Station, an outdoor shopping center in downtown Atlanta. Taking the shuttle might not be the hottest ride for that first date, but with the wide selection of entertainment venues as well as bistros, restaurants and wine bars, it’s the perfect place for dinner and a movie. If a date night isn’t in the cards, take advantage of the affordable shopping at H&M, Victoria’s Secret, DSW and Express, or go practical and grab some extras for your room at Target. Just make sure you don’t miss the last shuttle back — it’s half an hour away, so it’s not fun trying to find your way back to campus.
If you’re looking for a more local, community-feel place to shop and eat, downtown Decatur is your place. The CCTMA shuttle takes you directly into the center of downtown, and it’s only 10 to 15 minutes away. Walk through the streets and window shop with fro-yo from Yogurt Tap or grab a drink and pub-like food at Brickstore. Squash Blossom boutique offers a variety of merchandise by small designers as well as well-known labels, and the large number of art galleries in the area means Decatur is an ideal location for spending a lazy Sunday. Check out the eclectic gift shops for souvenirs and relax at one of the many bars or coffee shops. If you missed the Emory CCTMA shuttle, taking MARTA to and from downtown Decatur isn’t so bad, either.
Little Five Points/Edgewood
It’s never too early to think about what you’re going to be for Halloween, and Little Five Points is the place to start. The neighborhood has a grungy-hipster vibe and the most mainstream shop available is American Apparel. Visit one of Little Five’s many thrift shops (you’ll find some outrageous pieces) to be the best-dressed — best being relative, of course — at the next themed frat party or get your requisite rebellious college piercing at one of the many piercing and tattoo parlors in the area. At night, Little Five comes alive with concerts at Variety Playhouse, which lives up to its name by featuring a variety of music genres from alternative to reggae and world to dance music. If the vibe of Little Five isn’t for you, Edgewood is a five minute walk away for all your necessities: Target, Office Depot, Kroger, Best Buy, Bed, Bath & Beyond and more are located in the outdoor retail district.
Underground Atlanta, located in downtown Atlanta, offers a unique shopping experience. With stores such as “Skillz Lady,” “Exotic Paradise,” “Greek Street” and “Glitz & Glamour,” you’ll probably do a lot more window-shopping than real shopping. The Humbug Square Street Market, a series of carts set up with merchandise, gives Underground Atlanta its novelty feel. Visit a fortuneteller and get souvenirs here that you wouldn’t find at just any souvenir shop in Atlanta.
At nearly a 40-minute drive away — possibly more in the notoriously busy Atlanta traffic — Perimeter is a trek away from campus, and though it offers many of the same retailers as Lenox does, it’s much larger and after you’ve spend every weekend going back and forth to Lenox on that bumpy shuttle ride, Perimeter is a welcome change.
Department stores go from affordable to high-end with Dillard’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, and stores within the mall range from Abercrombie & Fitch to BCBGMAXAZRIA and Sephora to M.A.C. Cosmetics. Get your low-budget kicks at Baker’s, or head to Stuart Weitzman for a pair of to-die-for wedges.
— Contact Alice Chen.