What could possibly be special about another outdoor mall?  Or so we thought. Then the Village at Topanga opened in Woodland Hills on Sept. 18 and we realized mall builders still had a few tricks up their sleeves when it came to creating family ready destinations. Read on to find out the top 9 things we parents love about the Village.

The Village at Topangaphoto: HC C. via Yelp

1. Food, Wonderful Food
What we like is that there’s a great balance of healthy (Eatsa has bowls filled with satisfying servings of fresh and yummy ingredients), kid faves (Eureka! will gladden the hearts of burger and taco lovers with some superb salad choices thrown in the mix for parents), breakfast (Le Pain Quotidien is excellent with or without the little darlings and you can get the best bread to bring home for grilled cheeses later…), finger lickin’ BBQ (Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que) and kid approved standbys for the super picky eaters (Panera Bread‘s kids’ menu pleases everyone, pizza rocks at Pieology and the dogs at The Slaw Dogs will fill your Dodger Dog hole his winter).

2. Splish, Splash
After some delectable eats, grab your small fry’s hand and march over to the water-play area, because you’re never too old and in SoCal it’s never too cold to jump in puddles. If jumping in isn’t your style, plop down on the ledge, dangle your legs, and let the water soothe those hot tootsies.

Waterplay at The Village at Topangphoto: Rashmi V. via Yelp

3. Panting 101
Rover’s drooling and craving a water break. No worries: water and treat stops abound throughout the meandering pathways. Psst, most shops also provide water by their entrances.  The Village is super pet-friendly.

water station The Village Topangaphoto: Erica Groten

4. Birthday Bliss
They’ve got you covered with one-stop unique birthday party planning.  You can book a pottery class for your entire pack at Bitter Root Pottery, then move the celebration to the Birthday Table for dessert and presents. The Birthday Table, a permanent fixture here, is surrounded by off-beat, colorful chairs, and is the ideal, inexpensive solution to where to move the party after the party. Stop by Guest Services for help with the table booking.

The Birthday Table at The Village Topangaphoto: Erica Groten

5. Monkey Time
You really, really want to poke in one store for one little minute.  But the kids are so hyper they might break a few things.  It’s time to head to The Luckey Climber created by Thomas Luckey. No monkey or bambino will be able to stay away. The tykes can climb and climb and climb…while you grab a ring-side seat and splurge on frozen yogurt from Go Greek or a delectable treat from either Peet’s Coffee or SusieCakes.  Then, energy expended, they’ll let you shop for a few precious minutes.

The Luckey Climber at The Village Topangaphoto: Erica Groten

6. Book Exchange
We love this!  Books, free books, at the mall! 6 book exchanges have been placed throughout the plaza. And if you’ve spent enough cash this outing, don’t fret; the books are free for the taking. Next time, leave a book. Perfect timing for a little fall clean-out. The book exchanges range in shape, size, and design. Snap a pic and then have those budding builders create one at home with Play-Doh or LEGOs to place on your own lawn to start a neighborhood lending library.

Book Exchange The Village Topangaphoto: Erica Groten

7. Interactive Art Installations
Whimsical touches abound. Entrance the kiddos with a game of “find the umbrella” or the swings. Those are just two from the amusing collection. Everyone will have a magical time hunting for the imaginative art, and it sure makes a nice break from a regular mall’s non-stop commercialism.

swing tree at The Village Topanga photo: Erica Groten

8. Trolley Time
Want to mix things up? The trolley is the answer. Hop aboard for free rides to and from The Village at Topanga, Westfield Topanga  and Westfield Promenade. Why not have a meal at one location then have the trolley take you to the movie theaters at another site? Or just sit back and relax while taking in the scenery from a new perspective.  Sometimes tired kiddos or little train lovers need a break, and riding the rails while checking out new scenery can be just the (free) ticket.

Trolley The Village Topangaphoto: Rashmi V. via Yelp

9. Farmers Market
Every Sunday, 9 a.m. -1 p.m., lose yourself in tastes, smells, sights, and sounds. You can get school clothes, home goods a treat or two and now even stock up on fresh veggies for the week all at one spot. Just remember that due to health codes, this is the one time and place that pets are not welcome.

Farmers Market at the Village Topanga

photo: Westfield Topanga & The Village via Yelp

The Village at Topanga
6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Woodland Hills
Online: westfield.com/topanga/the-village/home

Have you visited The Village? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! 

—Erica Groten