Outlet shopping in New England >>> VisitingNewEngland.com
The Best Outlets in New England
Wrentham Outlets, Wrentham, Mass.
Article, photo by Eric Hurwitz --
created for VisitingNewEngland.com on 11/1/2022. @newenglandinfo
Who better to review the best outlets in
New England than someone who doesn't like outlet shopping?
It takes a lot for me to enjoy outlet shopping. I don't like the
entrances with bottle neck traffic jams and the free-for-all to see who
gets the best
parking spot. The generic look of these places pales in
comparison to a good old fashioned downtown mom and pop store.
Although still great places for a bargain, some
outlet stores don't even offer the good deals they used to -- so many
brand names have gone upscale and come with hefty price tags.
people seem desensitized to their surroundings, playing on their
while walking and cutting people off in isles and at the checkout
counter -- you know, the "me first" thing. Don't even get me started on
the trendy music, bereft of any melody and strong structure that plays
bombast over the speakers at some stores.
That all does not sound like a good premise to write an article on the
best outlets in New England, right? Well like life itself, sometimes we
have to take the good with the bad. Outlet shopping definitely has its
strong points, as well, and can be beneficial in small doses. In
words, outlet shopping is fine only when you have to buy something of
occasional splurge or gift buying during the Christmas season as
opposed to on a regular basis that can
ruin the budget and credit rating. I remember the days when the people
that seemed to spend the most drove around in Chevy Cavaliers and Ford
Escorts that were bought on "bad credit, no problem!" auto dealership
On that plus side, outlet shopping does bring together many of the best
brand names in one location. Unlike enclosed malls, most outlet
destinations are open-air thus allowing for pleasant strolling on a
nice weather day. Even on a crummy New England weather day, there's a
certain appeal to walking the outlet surroundings -- that fall chill in
the air, Christmas holiday lights on display juxtaposed with a blanket
snow, the laundry fresh air of spring, etc.
Additionally, outlet shopping center stores often are well-stocked
since they specialize in a certain brand or brands. Often, when going
to a standalone discount store, it's a bit of a crap shoot knowing
exactly what you are going to get there. I remember picking up a shirt
with one arm sleeve at the former Decelle's. That outlet stores have a
certain standardization of available merchandise (and in one piece!) is
a real benefit. In
another words, predictability is a virtue.
So without further pontification, let's get into some of the best
outlet stores in New England. Let me preface that by stating that I
will not include outlet shopping centers from every New England state
-- just the ones I truly like and have aactually been to. It's always
better to be honest and speak from personal experience than researching
and writing a list. I also take into account the surrounding areas as
part of a whole day in a nice town, city or
region that makes the experience that much better. Yes, some time at
the beach followed by dining out at a
restaurant with huge lobster rolls and a good outlet shopping
center experience is much better than just going to an outlet shopping
Please check in often to this page. I will be including a few more
outlet destinations. One that comes to mind is the Manchester Designer
Outlets in Manchester, Vt. I haven't been in a while and they have
greatly expanded through the years -- so expect something on that
somewhere down the road. For now, however, these three outlet shopping
centers come to the forefront of my mind...
Best Outlets in New England | Massachusetts
Wrentham Village Premium Outlets |
This is New England's largest outdoor outlet shopping
destination with more than 170 stores. Just 35 miles southwest of
Boston, Mass. and 20 miles northwest from Providence, R.I., the
Wrentham Outlets might just be the prototype or gold standard for
shopping centers. The architects have somehow come up with a look that
deviates from the cutter-cutter style from this genre and comes closer
to a community feel -- that is, with flourishes of a quaint New England
town. Keep in mind that no outlet stop will ever compete with a real
town (like, ironically, downtown Wrentham that looks like something out
of Currier and Ives or a Norman Rockwell painting) but it's nice to see
those elements -- especially, the festive looks around the Christmas
Like other outlet places, I have seen stores come and go at the
Wrentham Outlets but they always seem to showcase a great mix of shops
and, currently, a much-improved selection of places to eat. Some of the
core stores include Tory Burch, Lululemon, Vineyard Vines, Gucci, Jimmy
Choo, the Adidas Outlet Store, Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Nine West, Saks
OFF 5TH and
West Elm Outlet. Restaurant options: Tavern in the Square (my first
choice), Aroma Joe's, Ruby Tuesday (surprisingly good chain!), UNO
Pizzeria & Grill (Thank goodness there's still one in the area!),
and Cracker Barrel.
Route 1A, Wrentham. Tel.
Best Outlets in New England | Maine
Kittery Outlets | Kittery, Maine
While not as spectacular as the Wrentham Outlets, the Kittery Outlets,
nevertheless, shines as one of the best outlets in New England. This
mile-plus long, spread-out outlet center features more than 120 stores
including Ann Taylor, Yankee Candle, Skechers, Brooks Brothers,
Orvis, Lindt Chocolate, Calvin Klein, J. Crew, Nike, Sunglass Hut,
Banana Republic and Aeropostale. That's all well and fine but the
Kittery Outlets also has two aces in the hole that can't be found at
other outlet in New England or the rest of the world, for that matter:
the Kittery Trading Post and the Weathervane Seafood
The Kittery Trading Post is somewhat similar to LL Bean and Bass Pro
Shops but has its own personality that many prefer (myself included) to
competitors. There's a pleasant, rustic qalmost folksy charm to the
Post with a really impressive selection of outdoor recreational
equipment, apparel, footwear and gifts. Like LL Bean and Bass Pro
Shops, the Kittery Trading Post is large in size so be prepared to do
some extensive shopping!
The Weathervane is not my favorite local seafood restaurant (that's not
a slight at all, it's just that the competition is high by the coast!)
but they do a fine job serving up some locally-sourced seafood -- plus,
very convenient having a restaurant like this so close to all the
The Kittery Outlets also has the distinct advantage of being located
by the New Hampshire seacoast -- one of the most beautiful regions of
New England. If you haven't already, be sure to check out such nearby
destinations such as Portsmouth, N.H. (a lively, thriving quaint small
Hampton Beach, N.H. (a honky-tonk seaside summer
destination), Newburyport, Mass. and in
Maine, nearby coastal towns like York Beach (including Nubble Lighthouse), Wells,
Ogunquit and Kennebunkport.
Best Outlets in New England | New Hampshire
Green Outdoor Village | North Conway
What do I love about Settlers Green? New Hampshire tax free shopping, a
good selection of stores, and a location in one of New England's most
likable towns with the greatest mountain views!
This tried-and-true, established outlet shopping center has been around
30 years. The store selection is impressive and so are the green
spaces, public art on display, gardens and views of the hills and
gardens. This is not your basic, garden-variety shopping destination
located in cookie-cutter Anytown USA!
Stores include Chico's, Kate Spade, REI, Stonewall Kitchen, Vera
Bradley, White Mountain Cupcakery (Yay!), the Kitchen Store Outlet,
Francesca's and the Columbia Factory Store. Settlers Green also
features locally-owned restaurants like the Black Cap Grille and the
Barley & Salt Tap House & Kitchen. There's also a Market Basket
supermarket, Starbuck's and Walgreen's.
It's a nice shopping outlet destination located close to one of the
greatest small-town downtown districts in New England. Downtown North
Conway looks like something out of a Hallmark Movie and features a
variety of locally-owned shops (check out Zeb's General Store) and
places to stay and eat. The views of Mt.
Washington from the main drag
It's nice to see such a well laid-out shopping outlet as part of the
fabric that makes North Conway such a highly likable travel destination
for people of all ages.
Route 16, North Conway. 888-667-9636.
Essential Places to Stay in New England
Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont | Cliff House Resort and Spa, Cape Neddick, Maine | Omni Mt. Washington Resort, Bretton Woods, N.H. | The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, R.I. | Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham, Massachusetts (Cape Cod)
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