While most people don’t automatically associate Alabama with high end shopping, the state has a solid range of malls, outlets, and vintage goods. There’s no particular product this state is famous for, but if you have a thing for antiques and cool, old memorabilia, Alabama has some fun stores that will have you digging for gems.
One of the most intriguing shops in the South is Unclaimed Baggage (509 West Willow Street, Scottsboro), a pilgrimage destination for flea market junkies. This store is literally where all the unclaimed airline baggage ends up, and the goodies inside define the concept of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” More traditional second-hand markets are found in smaller towns like Attalla’s Mountain Top Flea Market and Wetumpka’s Santuck Flea Market. In these independent outlets it’s possible to haggle on price.
Outlet malls are another highlight of Alabama budget shopping. The town of Boaz is the best known destination, with both the Boaz Plaza Center and the Factory Stores of America on site. Foley is home to the Tanger Outlet Center, and Leeds has the new Shops of Grand River to browse for deals on well-known retail brands.
Each of Alabama’s main cities has its own modern mall, and some of them are really quite impressive. The Summit Birmingham sits on top of a small mountain and consequently offers amazing views to go with its full range of retailers and eateries. Also in Birmingham is Riverchase Galleria, Alabama’s most famous shopping center. Its nine-story atrium is the centerpiece for 200 shops, restaurants, bars, and even a hotel.
In Montgomery, the open-air Shoppes at EastChase is the most popular spot for its fun, refreshing atmosphere and diverse array of cafes and stores, but perhaps the most enjoyable retail area is Orange Beach’s The Wharf, a half-mile boardwalk featuring boutiques, restaurants, a modern cinema complex, and the region’s highest Ferris wheel.