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Travel: Top 5 shopping destinations

Thursday, May 10, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:50 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Expert shopper Lois Sayle works as an assistant manager at Blackberry Exchange where she buys, sells and creates new styles. “I like the Soulard area in St. Louis because it has diverse thrift stores,” she says.

1. Crossroads, Kansas City

Located in a historic neighborhood near downtown Kansas City, near 20th and Main streets, this urban-inspired, artistic area offers unique stores that specialize in a variety of merchandise. Fashion merchandise includes shoes, lingerie and clothes. Several art galleries are also located in its renovated warehouses and industrial buildings.

On the first Friday of every month, the art galleries are open from 7 to 9 p.m., but many galleries open their doors at 5 or 6 p.m. A free trolley runs from 6:45 to 9:30 p.m. on first Friday evenings and makes multiple stops throughout the area.

  • Habitat Shoe Store: This high-end shoe store carries a variety of popular brands for men, women and babies, ranging from Puma to Miss Sixty. The store frequently features live music and other events for customers.
  • 1800 Baltimore; 816-421-5444;
  • Retro Inferno: This company buys and sells 20th-century modern furnishings.
  • Grand and Truman; 816-842-4004;

2. The Loop, St. Louis

This area offers six blocks of shops near Washington University and 20 miles from Lambert International Airport. The Loop is more affordable than Kansas City’s Crossroads and offers a greater variety of merchandise, including specialty shops and boutiques, as well as familiar chain stores. It is especially good for vintage shopping. And if you want to stay away from crowds, shop on the weekdays.

Rag-O-Rama: This fun, swanky shop has three locations throughout the U.S., each specializing in recycled clothing for men and women. It offers a variety of options including vintage clothing along with current trends and costumes.

6388 Delmar; 314-725-2760;

Vintage Vinyl: This authentic music store sells new and used, hard to find CDs, DVDs and records. Art-ists such as the Black Eyed Peas and Chingy are two of the most recent musical visitors to perform at the store.

6610 Delmar; 314-721-4096;

3. Bass Pro Shop, Springfield

This three-level store is a dream to any outdoors and sporting goods guru, offering apparel and accessories for camping, fishing and much more. It is definitely family-friendly with the creative wilderness scene surrounding the inside and outside of the complex. It is approximately 170 miles south (3 hours) of Columbia. The Columbia location gives you a taste of what the Springfield store offers.

Bass Pro Shop even lets customers try out items by including interactive games such as shooting ranges and putting greens. There is also an art gallery, barber shop restaurant and Tracker boat showroom all within the store. The whole family will love the 30,000-gallon aquarium full of fish and turtles.

1935 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield; 417-887-7334;

4. Osage Beach Premium Outlets

This outlet mall appeals to a variety of ages and lifestyles, offering more than 110 outlet stores. Brands range in price and style, making this mall appropriate for almost any shopper. Discount stores include Gap, Coach, Reebok, Aeropostle, Neiman Marcus and Chico’s.

Every Tuesday is 50-Plus Shopper Club day, where a 10 percent savings is offered to those who are at least 50. To find out which stores offer the best discounts, check out

4540 Highway 54, Osage Beach; 573-348-2065

5. Lusso Home, Clayton

Although this store offers women’s clothing, as well as accessories and home furnishings, it also carries unique gifts. Four women own the boutique, each contributing her own flair. The shop was recently voted “Best Gifts and Stationery” in St. Louis by CitySearch. It is located among other boutiques, three miles east of the Loop.

12A N. Meramec Ave., Clayton; 314-725-7205;

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