If you’re willing to face the crowds, there are huge outlet malls just north and south of Austin. Individual outlet stores are also sprinkled throughout the Austin area. The shops below offer excellent deals every day of the week.
Round Rock vs. San Marcos Outlets
For most people, the biggest factor in choosing the northern or southern outlets is how much traffic lies between them and the shopping center. Both lie along the always-busy I-35 corridor. Since Round Rock is a little farther from central Austin, traffic in that area is often a little lighter. The Round Rock center also offers a few more high-end shops. You may find a few more bargains in San Marcos, plus there are several other attractions south of Austin, including Schlitterbahn, the famous Snake Farm, glass-bottomed boats at the Meadows Center and countless spots to go tubing and kayaking.
If you're planning to do something other than shop, then San Marcos might be a better option.Then again, if you're a baseball fan, you can check out the Round Rock Express minor league baseball team at the Dell Diamond. The baseball stadium offers a wealth of family-friendly activities on the grounds in addition to the baseball. And if you're staying in the northern part of town, you may want to drive a little and check out things to do in Georgetown.
You can often find good prices on Lucky Jeans and Kate Spade handbags at Nordstrom Rack. The selection of men’s and women’s dress shoes and athletic shoes is truly impressive. Looking for discounts on makeup? The store carries major brands such as Urban Decay and Stila Cosmetics. The inventory changes often, so the place can quickly become an addictive habit. 9607 Research Boulevard; (512) 651-6180
Located a few miles north of Austin, this outlet shopping center features a number of mid-priced stores such as Gap, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor. The Kenneth Cole store is the best place to find bargains on men’s dress shoes. Young hipsters on a budget flock to the American Apparel store. Not quite as sprawling as the San Marcos outlet mall, the complex is fairly easy to cover on foot if you wear comfortable shoes. Regulars routinely praise the cleanliness of the stores and even the food court.
4401 North IH-35, Round Rock; (512) 863-6688
Located between Austin and San Antonio, the shopping center attracts hordes of shoppers on weekends. Since this place is so huge, it’s good to have a plan before you begin shopping. Even if you do have a clear game plan, you’ll still have to do a ton of walking. You can find reasonable prices on everything from Gucci bags to Lululemon yoga tights. Victoria’s Secret is one of the most popular stores here, though some regulars complain that the true bargains are few and far between. You can find some of the biggest discounts at the Kate Spade and Ralph Lauren stores.
Get high-end beauty products at a low, low price at L'Occitane. Bargain coats for men and women are available at the Burberry outlet. 3939 IH-35 South, San Marcos; (512) 396-2200
4. Tanger Outlets
Also located in San Marcos, the Tanger complex includes brands that are a little less “premium,” such as Cavender’s Boot City, Hot Topic and Haggar. In addition to clothes, you can find housewares at Kitchen Collection, Le Creuset and Corningware Corelle & More. Other specialty stores include the Christian Gifts Outlet, the Disney Store and Perfumania. 4015 Interstate 35 South, San Marcos; (512) 396-7446
If you want high-end clothing but you’re not willing to deal with the San Marcos crowds, the Last Call store in south Austin is the place to go. If you visit often, you might even find huge discounts on designer jewelry! The store also offers amazing deals on men’s suits and dress shirts including brands like Ike Behar. It’s easy to overlook the doorway in the back that leads to a back room filled with home furnishings. You can find everything from couches to paintings and lamps in this cavernous space.
4115 South Capital of Texas Highway, Austin; (512) 447-0701