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Best shopping and a show: Santa Fe Mall

Staff Pick

Plaza Fiesta on Buford Highway gets a lot of credit and press for being an awesomely amazing, predominantly Hispanic shopping center. Because it is. But it's not the only game in town when it comes to bedazzled Quinceañera dresses, snakeskin cowboy boots, and live mariachi music. Formerly Venture Mall, a dull shopping center that died a slow death, Santa Fe Mall in Duluth is now teeming with life, especially on weekends when the gigantic indoor playground oozes with children and people gather to hear occasional performances by Hispanic vocalists and bands. (Seriously, everything in the mall besides the playground comes to a standstill as people watch whoever's holding the mic.) A labyrinth of stores dealing in clothes, makeup, food, shoes, there's also an arcade, a bar that's uncomfortably dark all day, and a human-size hamster ball floating in a shallow pool that you can run around in for the bargain price of five bucks. The best part - if the human-size hamster ball wasn't enough - is the mall is home to an awesome second-run movie theater ($2 a ticket ALL THE TIME) with some of the best movie theater popcorn in the metro area. It's not on Bu-Hi, but it might as well be.

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