It's been five years since Racked last explored the Citadel Outlets, that Babylonian-looking behemoth in Commerce that's somewhat of an I-5 road trip landmark for incoming/outgoing Angelenos. (Fun fact: Commerce's nickname is "The Model City". You're welcome.)
Up until very recently, I was among those who curiously glanced at those LED billboards (Full Monty tickets! Buy-one-get-one prepaid phone deals! Oh boy!) and casually dismissed the massive doorbusters-filled destination as a place where mall stalwarts like Banana Republic and Justice went to die a slow and painful death. I decided to sacrifice one of my Sundays (and a rainy one, at that) in the name of science and explore the 700,000 square foot discount hub.
After trekking from the farthest corner of the parking lot, I discovered a wealth of headline gold upon stepping foot onto the grounds. "Citadel Outlets: The Confluence of Global Consumer Cultures" aptly described the melting pot of shoppers from China to the Middle East to the Midwest, but it was decidedly too thesis-y; "Citadel Outlets: Where Juicy Couture Tracksuits Are Alive and Well" would've almost been perfect, but I only spotted like, three (including one "inspired" set). Yep, ladies and gentlemen, I'll be here all night.
The directory reads like your typical American mall roll-call: You've got your fast-fashion brands like H&M and Steve Madden, accessible luxury labels like Kate Spade and the teen-faved Michael Kors, activewear powerhouses like Nike and Adidas, and your usual lot of kiosks hawking an assortment of random tchotchkes.
Per the Citadel's website, there are "130 brand name stores offering 30 to 70% off retail," and the options certainly deliver. Although we managed to go home empty-handed (the struggle was real, but this fast fashion documentary gave us the guilt trip we needed) the outlet's a pretty decent place for stocking up on athletic apparel, basics, shoes and more mass-market merch. Just don't expect a stress-free visit during back-to-school season, or during the summer, or any day when the sun's out, for that matter.
Join the adventure and explore the photo gallery above. The Citadel is open daily from 10am to 9pm; if you manage to lose your Converse low-tops while wildly stomping around the Empire Polo grounds this weekend, maybe have a look-see for majorly discounted ones on your way back from Coachella?