Best side roads to get you around busy holiday shopping traffic in Palm Beach County

You’re not alone. Yes, I’m talking to you, the person who is looking for a way home that doesn’t take you past a shopping mall. Or a way to your doctor’s appointment that won’t lead you along a street where cars will be stacked up in a right-turn lane to get to JC Penney’s.

I used to work at a mall. I was an assistant manager at Picture People at the Mall at Wellington Green while in college, and during the holidays I often walked 10 or 15 minutes from a distant parking space to the store.

» RELATED: Your holiday shopping guide

And that was after I sat in traffic for 20 or 30 minutes just trying to find a parking space to begin with.

So I know all too well the pain of struggling to navigate traffic around a shopping mall during the holidays. That’s why I’ve put together this list of side roads and alternate routes to help you get around the deadlock.

Inside, shoppers are happily searching for the perfect gift. Outside, it's the Wild West of traffic. Don't worry — we'll help you get around the traffic. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post) —    Wellington  -  Macy's shoppers head out into the Mall at Wellington Green Friday for more Black Friday savings.
Inside, shoppers are happily searching for the perfect gift. Outside, it’s the Wild West of traffic. Don’t worry — we’ll help you get around the traffic. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post) — Wellington – Macy’s shoppers head out into the Mall at Wellington Green Friday for more Black Friday savings.

All of these routes are going to take you a little out-of-the-way. But if you time it just right, you’ll save yourself the headache of sitting bumper-to-bumper with other frustrated drivers who just want to get home.

Check out my suggestions, then comment to share your ideas.

Gardens Mall / Downtown at the Gardens / Legacy Place

This is a great destination shopping area — but if you want to avoid it altogether, that could be difficult. Suggested routes: Military Trail to Kyoto Gardens Drive, then take Alternate A1A north to Donald Ross Road or south to Burns Road.

Palm Beach Outlets

This area is surrounded by development, so there’s still quite a bit of potential for congestion, even on side roads. Suggested routes: Use either Village Boulevard or Australian Avenue to travel north and south and avoid the stretch of Palm Beach Lakes directly to the south of the mall, where most people access the shopping area’s parking lots.

Mall at Wellington Green

I have a particular soft spot for these options, because I use them quite frequently. Suggested routes: If heading or coming from the west, use Stribling Way and State Road 7; if heading or coming from the east, use a combination of Lyons Road, Stribling Way and State Road 7.

Boynton Beach Mall

This can be a little tricky; similar to the Palm Beach Outlets, the Boynton Beach Mall has seen a surge in surrounding development in recent years, especially with the addition of more homes in Renaissance Commons. If you don’t need to drive near this mall during the holidays, don’t. Suggested routes: For east-west travel, use Gateway Boulevard to the north or Boynton Beach Boulevard to the south. For north-south travel, take either Lawrence Road or head east of I-95 to take Seacrest Boulevard. (Again, these routes aren’t for people in a rush — just for those who want to avoid that bumper-to-bumper traffic you inevitably find near malls around the holidays.)

Town Center at Boca Raton

This area is a great destination shopping spot — along the lines of the Gardens Mall. It also happens to offer some of the more direct routes that let you get around it. Suggested routes: For north-south travel, take either Powerline Road or Military Trail. Just keep in mind that Military does not intersect with Glades Road, so if you need to get onto I-95 or Florida’s Turnpike, you may want to head St. Andrews Boulevard, which borders the mall south of Glades but saves you the trouble of going too far north or south. For east-west travel, take either Palmetto Park or Yamato roads.

Now it’s your turn: Comment to share your thoughts on holiday shopping traffic and how you try to avoid it each year.

Holiday shopping: When will Palm Beach County malls be open?

Looking for the perfect gift this holiday season?

Here is a roundup of seasonal hours for Palm Beach County’s five major shopping malls. 122513 christmas shopping 1

The Boynton Beach Mall

Nov. 30: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Dec. 1: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Dec. 2: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Dec. 3: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Dec. 4: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Dec. 5: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Dec. 6: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Dec. 7: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Dec. 8: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Dec. 9: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Dec. 10: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Dec 11: noon-6p.m.

Dec 12: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.122113 met shopping 02

Dec 13: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Dec. 14: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 15: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 16: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 17: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 18: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 19: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 20: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 21: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 22: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 23: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Christmas Eve: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Christmas Day: Closed

Dec. 26: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 27: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 28: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 29: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 30: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

New Year’s Eve: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The Gardens Mall

Dec. 1-Dec. 3: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 4: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Dec. 5-Dec. 10: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 11: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Dec. 12-Dec. 15: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 16-Dec. 23: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Christmas Eve: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Christmas Day: Closed

Dec. 26: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 27-Dec. 30: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.holidayshoppingap

New Year’s Eve: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

New Year’s Day: noon – 6 p.m.

The Mall at Wellington Green

Dec. 1-Dec. 3: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 4: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Dec. 5 – Dec. 9: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 10: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 11: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Dec. 12-Dec. 16: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 17: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 18: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 19-Dec. 23: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Christmas Eve: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Christmas Day: Closed

Dec. 26: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 27-30: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

New Year’s Eve: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

New Year’s Day: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Palm Beach Outlets

Nov. 28-Dec. 3: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 4: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. (normal business hours)

Dec. 5-Dec. 10: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (normal business hours)

Dec. 11: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. (normal business hours)

Dec. 12-Dec. 15: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (normal business hours)

Dec. 16: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 17:  9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 18: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Dec. 19- Dec. 22: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 23: 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Christmas Eve: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Christmas Day: Closed

Dec. 26: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 27-Dec. 30: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (normal business hours)

New Year’s Eve: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

New Year’s Day: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Town Center at Boca Raton

Normal mall hours

Mondays to Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sundays:  noon – 6 p.m.

Special holiday hours

Dec. 4: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Dec. 10: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 11: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 12-Dec. 16: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 17: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dec. 18: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Dec. 19 – Dec. 23: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Christmas Eve: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Christmas Day: Closed

Dec. 26: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

New Year’s Eve: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

New Year’s Day: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

PGA Commons

Hours vary by tenant. See the holiday schedule below:

pga-commons

 

Mall Santas: Where to find the best (and cheapest) photos

Santa has landed at all of Palm Beach County’s major shopping malls.

To mark his arrival, we’ve complied a list of hours and prices for photo packages with the jolly old elf.

The Boynton Beach Mall

Santa will pose for photos through Christmas Eve. Santa leaves promptly at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Photo credit: The Boynton Beach Mall
Photo credit: The Boynton Beach Mall

Holiday hours vary by date. Click HERE for a complete list of Santa hours.

Prices on photo packages range from $24.99 to $49.99.

The cheapest package ($24.99) includes one of the following:

One 5 x 7; one 3.5 x 5; and 2 wallets

or

One 5 x 7 and four wallets

The most expensive (49.99) package includes for of the following

  • Four greeting cards
  • Two 5 x 7s
  • Two 3.5 x 5s and four wallets
  • One 5 x 7 and four wallets
  • One 5 x 7; one 3.5 x 5 and two wallets

The Gardens Mall

The mall unveiled Santa’s “Enchanted Garden photo set” this month. As part of the display, the mall’s grand court has been “dressed up in magical style with boughs of evergreen, decadent, treasure-filled trees, twinkling lights, snow-covered drifts, and festive adornments of red, green, gold and silver.”

Photos with Santa in the Enchanted Garden through Christmas Eve and are available during mall hours.

The mall has also brought back its annual “FastPass” for Santa photos, which allows families to skip the line by scheduling a time for their visit. The passes can be purchased on the mall’s website. For more information, click HERE.

Photo packages with Santa range from $27 to $48.

The cheapest photo package ($27) includes:

One 5 x 7
Two 4 x 6s
Two 3 x 5s

$10 card from Shutterfly

The most expensive package ($48) includes:

Four 5 x 7s
Four 4 x 6s
Four 3 x 5s
Eight wallets
Hi-Res Photos on Flash Drive
Digital Download

$20 card from Shutterfly

For information on other packages click HERE.

The Mall at Wellington Green

Abriana Camargo, (C), 3, of Greenacres, talks with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Mall at Wellington Green Nov 06, 2014, in Wellington. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the mall until December 24th. (Bill Ingram / Palm Beach Post)
Abriana Camargo, (C), 3, of Greenacres, talks with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Mall at Wellington Green Nov 06, 2014, in Wellington. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the mall until December 24th. (Bill Ingram / Palm Beach Post)

Santa will pose for photos next to the mall’s annual Ice Palace. Every child who visits Santa will receive a cookie plate gift and a special offer from Lion Country Safari to visit their park during the holidays.

The Ice Palace is open all mall hours with the exception of Christmas Eve, when the hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Santa takes short break to feed the reindeer from 12:15  p.m. to 1 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Sundays.

The 2016 Ice Palace at The Mall at Wellington Green is described as a “magical, interactive experience for the entire family. Featuring baby arctic animals, guest can make an icy hand print, compare their height to a polar bear, and enjoy a 360 degree visual display complete with snow fall inside a 30’ Ice Palace. The experience culminates with a visit with Santa.”

Prices for photo packages range from $23 to $48.

The cheapest package ($23) includes:

Two 4 x 6 photos

$20 Shutterfly promo card

The most expensive package ($48) includes:

Four 5 x 7s

Four 4 x 6s

Four 3 x 5

Eight wallets

Free digital download

$20 Shutterfly promo card.

Click HERE for details on other packages.

Palm Beach Outlets

Palm Beach Outlets is giving away FREE photos with Santa.

Each family will receive two 4×6 Santa photo prints and a high-res digital download of single image. Additional photos and Christmas merchandise available for purchase. One giveaway per family, per Christmas season.

Photo hours

Now through December 23, 2016
11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday
11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Friday – Saturday
12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Sunday

Photo Hours on Christmas Eve
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Town Center at Boca Raton

Photo credit: Town Center at Boca Raton
Photo credit: Town Center at Boca Raton

The Town Center at Boca Raton Santa Experience offers keepsake photo packages starting at $24.99. This holiday season, guests can also choose a Hasbro toy or a $20 Shutterfly promo card gift with select Santa photo packages.

The mall also allows shoppers to make an appointment for photos with Santa. To schedule a photo, click HERE.

Photo hours

Now through December 3

Mondays – Fridays: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sundays 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

December 4 through December 11

Mondays – Thursdays: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Fridays – Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Sundays: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

December 12 through December 18

Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sunday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

December 19 – December 23

Mondays – Fridays: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Christmas Eve: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

 

 

Black Friday 2016: When will Palm Beach County malls open?

Planning to hit the malls on Thanksgiving Day? Here is a roundup of mall hours to kick off the holiday shopping season.

The Boynton Beach Mall

Thanksgiving Day: 6 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Black Friday: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

The first 500 people to spend $100 on Friday, November 25, will receive a free Black Friday Fanatic tote bag.  Shoppers should bring their receipts to the Guest Services table in Center Court to receive the free gift.

112511 (Alyssa Orr/The Palm Beach Post) Boynton Beach-- Shoppers fill Macy's inside the Boynton Beach Mall after the store opened their doors at midnight Black Friday morning.
112511 (Alyssa Orr/The Palm Beach Post) Boynton Beach– Shoppers fill Macy’s inside the Boynton Beach Mall after the store opened their doors at midnight Black Friday morning.

The Gardens Mall

Thanksgiving:  Closed

Black Friday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Mall at Wellington Green

Thanksgiving: 6 p.m. to midnight

Black Friday: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Palm Beach Outlets

Thanksgiving: 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Black Friday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Town Center at Boca Raton

Thanksgiving: 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Black Friday: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

 

Microsoft to celebrate grand opening in Boca Raton with gift card giveaways

The Microsoft Store will celebrate the opening of its new location at Town Center at Boca Raton with a gift card giveaway.

Microsoft Product Advisor Stephanie Le, right, answers questions about a laptop for Windows 10 Insider Eddie Tan of Fremont, Calif., at the Microsoft store at Westfield Valley Fair mall in Santa Clara, Calif., on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group/TNS)
Microsoft Product Advisor Stephanie Le, right, answers questions about a laptop for Windows 10 Insider Eddie Tan of Fremont, Calif., at the Microsoft store at Westfield Valley Fair mall in Santa Clara, Calif., on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group/TNS)

The new store will officially open its doors at 11 a.m. on Nov. 3. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

The first 500 customers in line at the ribbon cutting ceremony will receive a gift card to the Microsoft Store with a surprise amount ranging from $10 to $1,000, according to a press release announcing the opening.

More than 100 of the customers in line will receive a card to the Microsoft Store worth at least $100 or more, the announcement said. One lucky customer will get a $1,000 gift card.

In addition, the first 200 customers in line will receive a ticket to meet retired Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino  from 12:30-2:30 p.m. on Nov. 5. For more details, please visit the Microsoft Store Facebook page.

As part of the store opening, Microsoft will also award technology grants to local community organizations.

 

 

West Palm Beach’s Shoppe 561 bringing its wares to Boca

West Palm Beach-based Shoppe 561 will open a one day only pop-up shop on Saturday at the Town Center mall in Boca Raton.

staff illustration by REBECCA VAUGHAN
staff illustration by REBECCA VAUGHAN

The shop will be open from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Athleta in the mall.

During the event, Shoppe 561 will be donating 10 percent of its sales for the day directly to Place of Hope at the Leighan and David Rinker Campus, an organization dedicated to providing a stable and loving family environment for children, teens and young adults who have aged out of foster care.

Shoppe 561 offers a variety of products made by more than 70 artisans and artists from Florida. The shop also offers craft classes for adults and children.