Houston area malls have unique stores and restaurants. Here’s what draws visitors for the holiday season.

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Marco Barciaga is intense while he takes time to draw his art on the side arm of his first client at First Street Tattoo Studio’s location in the Deerbrook Mall earlier this year. 

Photo by David Taylor

The holiday season is the time for malls to shine and show off their unique features. 

With the shopping destinations decorated for the Christmas season, where else could one shop for the whole family under one large roof — and then perhaps take in a movie, participate in yoga, get a tattoo or spin around an ice-skating rink. 

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As shoppers search for the perfect gift, here are some interesting aspects of the suburban shopping malls circling Houston:

Deerbrook Mall is prepared to ensure guest safety through one of the busiest times of the year for retail stores this holiday season. The Deerbrook Mall is a shopping destination for the northeast side of Houston. 

Deerbrook Mall is prepared to ensure guest safety through one of the busiest times of the year for retail stores this holiday season. The Deerbrook Mall is a shopping destination for the northeast side of Houston. 

Photo by Savannah Mehrtens

Deerbrook Mall 

Address: 20131 U.S. 69 at northwest intersection of U.S. 59 and FM 1960 

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The one-stop shopping destination features 153 stores with anchor stores such as Dillard’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, Forever 21 and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The mall is also home to an AMC Theatres location with 24 theaters. 

A recent addition to the mall is Tillys — the California-based brand opened in mid-November and offers men’s, women’s and children’s clothing.  

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Lucchese Bootmaker, at Baybrook Mall in Webster, offers hand-made in Texas, boots made of exotic skins and cowhide as well as hats, clothing and fashion accessories for men and women.

Lucchese Bootmaker, at Baybrook Mall in Webster, offers hand-made in Texas, boots made of exotic skins and cowhide as well as hats, clothing and fashion accessories for men and women.

Kirk Sides/Staff photographer

Baybrook Mall 

Region: Friendswood, Clear Lake, League City

Address: 500 Baybrook Mall, Friendswood at the northeast intersection of Interstate 45 and Bay Area Boulevard

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Baybrook Mall has major anchors including Macy’s, JCPenney, Forever 21, Dave and Busters and more than 170 stores and restaurants that span 1,240,000 square-feet of indoor and outdoor retail space.

The mall is unique in its design in that the southern portion is indoors and and the northern extension has open walkways with stores on either side. In the center of the mall is an outdoor circular fountain with tall blades of green grass incorporated into the water feature. 

A lawn area on the northern end offers ample outdoor space for community gatherings and events. Also check out the Star Cinema Grill with posh old Hollywood decor. 

In March, Lucchese bookmaker opened a location there. Recent openings include Best of Canvas, The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, Mango and Perfumania. 

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Coming soon are Bigotes Street Tacos, Cotton on Body, Suit Warehouse and The Tiny Cantina at Baybrook. 

Shoppers in the Galleria Mall on Black Friday, the official start of the holiday shopping season, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 in Houston. The Ice at The Galleria was renovated this summer. 

Shoppers in the Galleria Mall on Black Friday, the official start of the holiday shopping season, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 in Houston. The Ice at The Galleria was renovated this summer. 

Michael Wyke/Contributor

The Galleria 

Region: Houston’s west side 

Address: 5085 Westheimer, Houston near the intersection of Loop 610 and U.S. 59 

Levels: 4 including rink level 

The Galleria is perhaps Houston’s most famous shopping destination drawing visitors from around the world to the four-level shopping and entertainment experience. 

There are more than 400 shops and restaurants including anchor stores Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Nordstrom. The Galleria is filled with unique features including its world-famous Ice at the Galleria full-size skating rink which experienced a renovation over the summer, two Westin hotel properties and the one-of-a-kind Life Time Tennis Club on Level 3 featuring nine indoor tennis courts, a cardio floor and a cafe.

New shops that opened this fall include the NBA Store near Macy’s on Level 1 and Alo Yoga, a Los Angeles-based athletic fashion brand, is now open on Level 2 near The Westin Hotel. Also new is the Museum of Illusions, which provides visitors with interactive optical illusions, visual tricks, and hands-on displays.

The First Colony Mall lawn in Sugar Land. 

The First Colony Mall lawn in Sugar Land. 

Courtesy of City of Sugar Land

First Colony Mall 

Region: Sugar Land, Fort Bend County

Address: 16535 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land near the intersection of U.S. 59 South and Texas 6 

First Colony Mall in Sugar Land features 164 shops and 27 eateries and food-based establishments. This mall also is a hybrid of part indoor shopping experience and part outdoor courtyard shopping with a large lawn on the eastern end of the property. 

Recent openings include Alice’s Candy and women’s clothing brand Doublju. Coming soon are Kim Chau & Co Fine Jewelers and Little Woodrow’s Bar and Grill. 

The entrance of the Memorial City Mall, on Friday, June 30, 2023 in Houston. 

The entrance of the Memorial City Mall, on Friday, June 30, 2023 in Houston. 

Karen Warren/Staff photographer

Memorial City Mall 

Region: Memorial, West Houston 

Address: 303 Memorial City, Houston off Interstate 10 west near Gessner

Memorial City Mall has the distinction of being the only Houston suburban mall with a full-size Target store attached. The mall on Houston’s west side is home to a variety of shops and dining experiences with a lawn area on the facility’s west end surrounded by eateries.

One of the malls unique features is its indoor ice skating rink on the west end of the property. There are skating lessons, hockey leagues and the rink is available for birthday parties. Of note, the only American Girl Doll store in Houston located in the mall has closed. It was across from the ice skating rink. 

Credence and Sidebar from the Goode Co. brand are scheduled to open this summer in the lawn area. 

In May 2022, MetroNational which owns the mall unveiled plans for a 27-acre mixed-use town center west of Memorial City Mall at Barryknoll Lane and Gessner Road. MetroNational aims to both modernize the shopping experience of the 57-year old mall and set the tone for future redevelopment.

Katy Mills Mall's renovation in 2019 added an interactive Disney Jr. play area.

Katy Mills Mall’s renovation in 2019 added an interactive Disney Jr. play area.

Simon Malls

Katy Mills Mall 

Address: 5000 Katy Mills Circle, Katy

Katy Mills Mall anchor stores are Bass Pro Shops and Burlington. There is also an AMC theater. 

Rainforest Cafe has been a staple of Katy Mills Mall since the mall’s opening in 1999. In August, a permit was filed with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for a renovation and alteration of the 11,252-square-foot facility. Renovations are scheduled for completion in March. Also unique to Katy Mills Mall is Dig World,  a construction-themed adventure park. 

Also for the younger set, don’t miss the Disney Jr. play zone. 

Recent openings include the Hey Dude shoe brand. Coming soon are Doublju, Oynx, Sephora and Slick City Action Park. 

The JCPenny location at the Willowbrook Mall is seen, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Houston.

The JCPenny location at the Willowbrook Mall is seen, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Houston.

Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer

Willowbrook Mall 

Address: 2000 Willowbrook Mall, Houston 

Willowbrook Mall features a blend of shops and restaurants with anchor stores Macy’s, Dillard’s, JCPenney, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Nordstrom Rack. 

New openings include Best of Canvas and Premier Select. Coming soon are Bigotes Street Tacos, Revolt, World Toyz and Sake Sushi N Ramen. 

A crew of 10 set up The Woodlands Mall’s annual 65-foot Christmas tree in the mall’s green space over the course of the day on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in The Woodlands.
A crew of 10 set up The Woodlands Mall’s annual 65-foot Christmas tree in the mall’s green space over the course of the day on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in The Woodlands.Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer

The Woodlands Mall 

Address: 1201 Lake Woodlands Drive, The Woodlands 

The two-level mall opened in 1994 in The Woodlands. The Woodlands Mall features six anchor stores including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dillard’s, Forever 21, JCPenney, Macy’s and Nordstrom.

The mall is adjacent to The Woodlands Waterway and an outdoor courtyard with a lawn joins the original mall building and the waterway. Shops and restaurants offer a view of the waterway.

Texas-based luxury boot brand Lucchese Bootmaker held its grand opening in The Woodlands Mall Nov. 9. Swiss confection store Laderach Choclatier is set to open in The Woodlands Mall in mid-December. 

The expansion includes two new hotels with 30,000 square feet of conferencing space, 80,000 square feet of retail space and a parking garage with up to 1,200 stalls.

Yvette Orozco, Claire Goodman and Claire Partain contributed to this report. 

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