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Attention All You Shoppers : * Escape the heat, use your plastic, catch a movie or kill a few hours at area malls. Here's the scoop on San Fernando Valley complexes.

June 25, 1993|CINDY LaFAVRE YORKS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Cindy LaFavre Yorks is a regular contributor to The Times

What better place to drop tourists weary from a hot day at, say, Universal Studios than to an air-conditioned mall?

After all, Southern California's malls are widely renowned, having been hurled into infamy by the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

Even now, as was the case then, area malls as multipurpose destinations offer motion picture entertainment, California cuisine, trendy fashion looks for teen-agers and even occasional mind-expanding exhibits for shoppers tired of scrambling for their credit cards.

The following is a rundown of some San Fernando Valley area malls and what they have to offer visitors:

Antelope Valley Mall

Shoppers who appreciate sensible value will like what they find at this mall.

With department stores such as Gottschalk's, Harris', J.C. Penney, Sears and Mervyn's setting the tone for moderate prices, this mall is a place to buy rather than just dream. Teen-age girls will have the run of the usual fashion haunts--Contempo Casuals and Wet Seal among them--and many may be tempted to stop into the Piercing Pagoda to add a nose ring to their souvenir conquests. Bargain hunters will like the Everything Under $1 store.

There are more than 20 places to fully dine or simply graze (another California pastime that tourists should pick up on), with a variety of exotic and traditional goods. Tex-Mex fans take note: The mall has a Chili's. And once the shopping and dining are over, tourists can take their pick of films at any of the 10 theaters in the mall.

Antelope Valley Mall, Avenue P and 10th Street West, Palmdale. (805) 266-9150. Free parking.

Burbank Media City Center

As one of the Valley's newest malls, Media City Center fills a much-needed void for area residents who don't want to drive all the way to Sherman Oaks Fashion Square or Glendale Galleria. Its proximity to the movie and television studios also makes it a likely stop-off for local celebs--and for the inquiring minds of star-struck tourists.

But that isn't the only draw here. Any out-of-towner who's never been to an IKEA will surely enjoy touring this monolith of a store offering home furnishings and assorted accessories, not to mention killer Swedish meatballs. Also featured here is the famed Conran's Habitat, featuring contemporary home furnishings and accessories in the IKEA vein, sans the Scandinavian flair and ultra-low prices. Value-conscious stores like Mervyn's and Sears will appeal to thrifty shoppers, while the luxe offerings at the ritzier Bullock's are sure to tempt more discriminating browsers with money to burn. This mall also features a Sports Chalet, stocking a variety of sports apparel and equipment.

Tourists may enjoy the wholesome fun of Johnny Rockets, but there are more ethnically diverse vendors offering Chinese, Mexican, Japanese and Jewish deli.

Media City Center, 201 E. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank. (818) 566-8617. Free parking.

Fallbrook Mall

Located in West Hills, this shopping mecca is ideal for those who haunt outlets but appreciate the comfort and convenience of mall environs. There are super-affordable stores, like the J.C. Penney Catalogue Outlet, Lingerie-for-Less and Ross Dress for Less. At Price-Less Brides, clearance bridal gowns start at $99. Most cost between $199 and $599, and gowns made to order are $600 to $900, on the average. At Daniel's Outlet, gold charms start at $9.99. Generally, the store features fine jewelry at "close to wholesale prices," said manager Stuart Bolkin. Dollar Dazzle and Everything's a Dollar offer a variety of beauty and sundry bargains.

And for tourists who want to see Southern Californians working out in all their healthful glory, there's a Family Fitness on the premises. More guilty pleasures are available at the 13 food court stands or any of the seven full-service restaurants. Seven theaters are in the adjacent Fallbrook Mall Village, which is within walking distance.

Fallbrook Mall, 6633 Fallbrook Ave., between Victory Boulevard and Vanowen Street, West Hills . (818) 340-5981. Free parking.

Glendale Galleria

Without question one of the largest malls in the Valley, Glendale Galleria is also one of the most diverse. It's home to The Broadway, J.C. Penney, Robinson's-May, Mervyn's and Nordstrom, and a slew of smaller boutiques and specialty shops.

There are 11 shops for children, including the Disney Store, in case visitors didn't make it to Disneyland. There are 10 men's stores, including the longtime L. A.-based Zeidler & Zeidler. Bachrach, an upscale men's store offering moderate to better suits and sportswear, is another must-stop. The mall also has a Banana Republic, Guess? store and 27 shoe stores ranging from affordable Kinney styles to upscale offerings at Charles David.

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