The Great Mall, Milpitas - Second Largest Indoor Malls in North California with diverse shopping options

Recently I was talking to office friends who visit our headquarters in San Francisco Bay Area sometimes and the main topic was shopping in USA. Actually the conversation started with shopping in Canada, wherein one of our colleague heard that some of the branded cloths are cost effective in Canada in comparison to what we get in India. Although I don't do lot of shopping when I visit USA, but this conversation made me share some facts which others on the table liked and showed interest in exploring. This small incident made me think of writing about The Great Mall which is in San Jose area and this post will share why this is so special place for shopping variety of things at better cost and with better quality.

Recently I was talking to office friends who visit our headquarters in San Francisco Bay Area sometimes and the main topic was shopping in USA. Actually the conversation started with shopping in Canada, wherein one of our colleague heard that some of the branded cloths are cost effective in Canada in comparison to what we get in India. Although I don't do lot of shopping when I visit USA, but this conversation made me share some facts which others on the table liked and showed interest in exploring. This small incident made me think of writing about The Great Mall which is in San Jose area and this post will share why this is so special place for shopping variety of things at better cost and with better quality. 



Why do I say this is one of the best places for shopping in San Francisco Bay area, especially for someone who is visiting this part of California for a shorter duration? One of the key reasons is that this indoor mall in Milpitas has huge variety of showrooms of brands with various ranges. Be it cloths, shoes, electronics, cosmetics, chocolates, bags, jewellery, fashion apparels, glasses, outdoor outfits, sports equipments, gadgets etc.

Why do I say this is one of the best places for shopping in San Francisco Bay area, especially for someone who is visiting this part of California for a shorter duration? One of the key reasons is that this indoor mall in Milpitas has huge variety of showrooms of brands with various ranges. Be it cloths, shoes, electronics, cosmetics, chocolates, bags, jewellery, fashion apparels, glasses, outdoor outfits, sports equipments, gadgets etc. 


(Please note that first photograph is not from The Great Mall. I couldn't locate a photograph in my catalog and didn't want to use any random photograph from internet. I would encourage you to see real photograph of the place on google.)


I will come to brands later but connectivity is another main reason that one can easily plan a trip to The Great Mall through public transportation. Public transportation in California is a big challenge. There are lot of places which can only be approached through own car of app based taxis like Uber or Lyft. Uber/Lyft are expensive to right reasons, and as a visitor you may not be comfortable driving in new country. So places reachable through public transportation are special and for same reason The Great Mall is an awesome location to reach out and enjoy your shopping. 


How to reach The Great Mall in Milpitas from different parts of San Francisco Bay Area? 

Depending upon from where you need to go to The Great Mall, you can use Google app to find options of public transportation. This works pretty well in US, so make good use of this option. This gives you various options - some optimised for cost and some for time. Chose the one which suits your requirement. 

Related Blogpost - Main places to visit/explore around Redwood City in San Francisco Bay Area, California


These screenshots are taken by taking example of someone who wants to go to The Great Mall from Redwood City. Redwood City has CalTrain Station, through which you can go to San Jose station and change to VTA from there.  San Jose Caltrain station is closest Caltrain station around The Great Mall Milpitas and from there one has option to take bus or VTA. Buses are also available from San Jose Caltrain station. The Great Mall is directly visible from VTA station and is at 2 mins walk after getting down from VTA. I have never taken bus to this place, so can't comment how close the bus drops. Above links also have detailed schedule of Cal-Trains and VTA trains, so that you can advanced planning and don't rely on Google Map for instant plan.

These screenshots are taken by taking example of someone who wants to go to The Great Mall from Redwood City. Redwood City has CalTrain Station, through which you can go to San Jose station and change to VTA from there.  San Jose Caltrain station is closest Caltrain station around The Great Mall Milpitas and from there one has option to take bus or VTA. Buses are also available from San Jose Caltrain station. The Great Mall is directly visible from VTA station and is at 2 mins walk after getting down from VTA. I have never taken bus to this place, so can't comment how close the bus drops. Above links also have detailed schedule of Cal-Trains and VTA trains, so that you can advanced planning and don't rely on Google Map for instant plan.



Bonus tip while planning your commute to The Great Mall, Milpitas? - Free Bus ride and a walk around San Jose Downtown    Let me share a bonus tip here. While planning a visit to The Great Mall in Milpitas, you would be crossing San Jose Downtown. If you are reaching San Jose Caltrain station from other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, you can also take the free bus which will drop you in San Jose Downtown and after taking a walk around the downtown, you can take VTA to the Great Mall. The VTA crosses through San Jose Downtown and there is a VTA station as well.

Bonus tip while planning your commute to The Great Mall, Milpitas? - Free Bus ride and a walk around San Jose Downtown

Let me share a bonus tip here. While planning a visit to The Great Mall in Milpitas, you would be crossing San Jose Downtown. If you are reaching San Jose Caltrain station from other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, you can also take the free bus which will drop you in San Jose Downtown and after taking a walk around the downtown, you can take VTA to the Great Mall. The VTA crosses through San Jose Downtown and there is a VTA station as well. 


VTA day pass is usually helpful if you are planning to take VTA both ways. The same thing applies to CalTrain, but do check individual ride fare and day pass. In Caltrain, you need to be aware of the zones from where you would be boarding the train and the one where you would be getting down. Fare is decided on the basis of this. So in some cases, day pass may not be helpful if you are moving between the adjacent zones. 


How much time should be kept for shopping at The Great Mall, Milpitas, California? 

That certainly depends upon your shopping list, style of exploring stuff & deciding and stamina to walking around etc. This indoor mall is huge, so you can easily spend a day exploring it and shopping right stuff for yourself & your loved ones. There are different kinds of stores. When I visited it first time, I certainly felt like I didn't have enough time even when my shopping list was not that huge. My recommendation would be reach there by 11am and then decide as per progress you make there & your personal choice about spending rest of the time. 



Where can I eat around The Great Mall in Milpitas? 

While I have recommended this as a big place for shopping and you may get tempted to spend a day or so in The Great Mall, so what about food. There are plenty of eating options inside Food court of The Great Mall in Milpitas. Apart from that there are few restaurants outside the indoor mall space. 


The Great Mall of the Bay Area is a large indoor outlet shopping mall in Milpitas, California was originally built by Ford Motor Land Development and now owned by Simon Property Group (the later may not be that important for you :)). The mall contains approximately 1.4 million square feet of gross leaseable area.


The Great Mall in Milpitas city of California is the 2nd largest mall in northern California which has only one story but takes up a large amount of land. The mall is currently laid out in this fashion because the existing main structure used to be a Ford automobile assembly plant and was not designed to serve as a shopping center.  Ford Mustangs were produced at this plant and Mustangs bearing the name San Jose as the assembly location were in fact built in Milpitas.


Brands like Bose, Tumi, Tomy Hilfiger, GAP, Old Navy, Adidas, Aldo, ASICS, Nike, Reebok, Burlington, Bnana Republic etc and the whole list can be checked here

Shopping tips :

1. There are specific seasons in US when you see lot of discounts. Some of them are Christmas, Black Friday, Season change etc. Be aware of those sale seasons and make best of them, if you are around. 


2. If you have patience and don't mind spending time choosing right thing from a huge lot of clearance stuff, then head straight to the deepest part of any showroom to check. Clearance is always on in most of the showrooms like GAP, Tomy Hilfiger, UCB etc. Most of the stuff is unbelievably cheap, but finding relevant stuff in right size and color can be a struggle. So chose carefully when you visit Clearance section by keeping time in mind & the effort it would demand. 


3. Go with clear list of stuff you want to buy and probably some tentative sense about showroom you want to explore first. Otherwise there is a possibility that for first few hours you would be overwhelmed with the options around you & you may end up walking & exploring without real shopping. Which should be fine, if that's your goal. 


4. There is ghirardelli store in The Great Mall, so if you wish to buy one of the best chocolates from US you may not want to miss that opportunity. Bonus tip - usually there is a deal of get one pack of 40 chocolates free if you buy 2. So if you or your group needs 3 packs or multiple of 3, you can make good use of this option. At ghirardelli, you can also chose your packs & fill as many chocolates of your choice. That's beneficial only if you have very specific choice of chocolates which is otherwise hard to find in a pre-packed fashion.


5. Burlington in The Great Mall is a store which is famous for wide variety of jackets and bags, so if you are planning to buy one, do visit. This is one of the biggest stores in the mall with wide variety of things to chose from. 


Things which you get cheaper in USA in comparison to India and with same or better quality.

1. Branded shoes. Example : Asics shoes which you would get for 15000 Rs can be found between $80 to $120.


2. Branded cloths, but for certain brands. Example : You can easily get Tomy T-shirt for $25, but in India you can't find that for 1800 Rs. Even if you get one, the quality would be different. This applies to many other brands like GAP.


3. Branded cosmetics & perfumes : I can't point exact examples but these are some of the common things folks buy from US and I haven't heard complaints. Some of the top perfume brands by Armani, Davidoff, Ck etc can be bought at better prices in comparison to India. Now in India, you also get good deals on them online, but I have always doubts about authenticity, but I can be wrong on this one. 


4. Liquor & the variety is awesome. Let me provide a bonus tip on this one - COSTCO is one of the best places to get great deals on liquor. The only caveat is that you will not find all brands. The prices you get at COSTCO are much less than what you get at Delhi duty free or for that matter many other international duty-free shops. E.g. - You get Laphroaig for about $38 in COSTCO and in Delhi duty free it would be around $60 or more. Since you can carry 2 leters you can easily $40 and this saving depends upon what exactly you plan to buy. Many of the commonly popular liquor brands are available in COSTCO, but mostly in 1.75 leter packing. 


5. Electronics : Some quality electronic items can be cost effective in USA. Know what you want to buy and check in your homeland before you make buying decision. On such items also ensure that you get international warranty, especially on expensive stuff. 


6. Kids toys, games and gadgets. For examples : Some of the toy drones are very cheap and good. Once I had got a mini drone with camera for $40, which was available on Amazon.in for 5200 Rs. I have plenty of such examples as I get something for my niece & nephew. 


7. iPhones, iWatch, iPods and some of the Android devices. 


8. Can I miss mentioning Cameras, DSLRs, Mirrorless and Lenses? 


9. What else? I am sure, there must be more things. So please share if you know anything specific and we will that here.

Comments

niskani said…
very informative

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