The Hunt: How to Shop Legacy Place

Sneak-peek strategies for navigating Dedham's new megamall.

By Brigid Sweeney | Boston Magazine |
Illustration by Newhouse Design

Illustration by Newhouse DesignFirst the Natick Collection’s owners declared bankruptcy. Then Mayor Menino started personally recruiting prospective tenants to shore up Newbury Street’s thinning ranks. But ongoing retail woes aren’t weighing on the $200 million, 675,000-square-foot Legacy Place, which is making its splashy debut in Dedham this month.

The secret to prying open shoppers’ wallets? Legacy Place developers—who happen to be the same people behind Hingham’s successful Derby Street Shoppes—think it’s organic groceries. While other malls are typically anchored by department stores, whose core customers tend to visit only once or twice a month, Legacy is home to New England’s largest Whole Foods, which draws suburban moms week in and week out. The gourmet supermarket’s upscale but approachable feel is reflected in the mall’s overall retail lineup, as well: Think L. L. Bean and Lululemon, with nary a Barneys or Louis Vuitton to be seen.

Still, between its 60-plus stores and dozen or so restaurants (not to mention 15-screen movie theater and Kings bowling alley), Legacy Place offers a daunting amount of ground to cover. Hit it running with these smart shopping tips.

HIT: STIL STUDIO Known for its consistently interesting mix of European designers, mini chain Stil recently closed its Back Bay and Natick boutiques to put the fashion focus on its Chestnut Hill flagship. But now owner Betty Riaz is hanging out another shingle with Stil Studio, which has yoga gear in front and a Prana Vayu studio in back. (More good news for fans of locally owned boutiques: Boston-based 344 has claimed a spot nearby.)

SKIP: THE TEEN CORRIDOR You’ll want to steer clear of the corner nearest to the movie theater, which features candy store Sugar Heaven, Victoria’s Secret’s Pink collection, and Bebe—or else risk being overrun by 14-year-olds.

HIT: FOREVER 21 This cheap, trend-driven chain—which thus far has a mere handful of Boston-area locations—appeals to tweens and thirtysomethings alike with $7 statement necklaces and $6 aviators that mix well with more-expensive pieces. Better yet, it’s conveniently located just a couple of doors down from a mammoth H&M.

HIT: STELLABELLA TOYS The fourth outpost of the original Inman Square kiddie paradise, Stellabella saves parents from worrying about toxic toys and tantrum-inducing shopping marathons: Well-crafted wooden playthings and educational games mean this is a great pit stop when your little darlings threaten to test their lung power.

SKIP: GARAGE PARKING Except when headed to the movie theater (which connects to the four-story garage by bridge), you’re better off trying for a ground-level spot. As an open-air mall, Legacy mimics a village center’s landscaped sidewalks and storefront parking, so expect plenty of prime openings.

 Legacy is designed to accommodate al fresco seating, complete with twinkling white lights. Aquitaine, Legal Sea Foods, and the Met Bar & Grill offer big-city dining without the big-city wait, while the Yard House patio is the go-to for beers and nachos.

 Skip the soups at Au Bon Pain, and instead make tracks for the blue cheese–sprinkled salads and sweet potato fries at the health-minded burger chainlet B.Good.

HIT: WHOLE FOODS It has a gelato bar and a shawarma station. Need we say more?

Legacy Place, 950 Providence Hwy., Dedham, 617-232-8900,

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