By JASON CAMPBELL
Hanging out at the mall is a right of passage for every teenager with a car or a friend that got permission to snag the keys for an afternoon.
Especially in the Central Valley.
There are few places around where on a hot summer day you hang out with your friends, grab something to eat, meet other people and maybe even see a movie if you managed to save enough money from lawn jobs or convince your parents to front you on your allowance.
And while the trend amongst large-scale shopping malls is add as many stores as possible to cater to the largest number of people, the West Valley Mall in Tracy still exists as an example of somewhat of a bygone era – when it was possible to do nearly everything you needed to do in a single trip to the mall, not just focus on specialized shopping.
Here are a few of the things that set Tracy apart from places like Stockton, Modesto and even Pleasanton:
*Regular Stores – If you’re in the Bay Area there’s a good chance the mall you’re shopping is built around a cluster of anchor stores. And while Tracy has those – Macy’s and JC Penney for example – they also have a Target that’s connected to the mall, a Big 5 Sporting Goods, and a Barnes and Noble Booksellers that create an entirely different approach to shopping. Need to grab some sneakers, some cleaning supplies and a new tie? You can do all of that with just one parking space.
*Movies and munchies – Remember when a trip to the mall usually meant a trip to the movies? Well, you’re in luck. One of the big draws to Tracy when the mall opened up in the 1990’s was the Cineplex that was at the time state-of-the-art and added another entertainment option for those who were looking for a night on the town. It doesn’t’ hurt that you can go to Hometown Buffet, enjoy dinner with your family, and literally walk right outside and into a theater. And now that Cinemark has updated their theater to the new luxury model that is taking off at theaters around the country, you can relax in home-like comfort when seeing the newest Hollywood blockbuster.
*Family fun – Typically a trip to the mall with the kids isn’t what parents have in mind when they’re thinking of getting all of their shopping done. But despite serving a relatively small community, the West Valley Mall has some of the amenities you won’t find even at some of the larger shopping malls in Northern California. Near the main entrance kids are greeted by a large carousel that gives parents an option when needing to take the family out, and a play arcade gives parents the nostalgic feel they used to get when they would venture into the rows of video games when they were younger.
The West Valley Mall is located at 3200 Naglee Road. To get there take I-205 west towards San Francisco and take the Naglee Road exit. Turn right at the end of the off ramp, and the mall will be up ahead on the right.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.