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Clifton Park Center Route 146 (Northway Exit 9), Clifton Park, 383-0059. The reinvented Clifton Country Mall. Anchored by the Marshall’s Megastore, Boscov’s, and JCPenney.

Colonie Center Central Ave. (Route 5) and Wolf Road (Northway Exit 2E), Colonie, 459-9020. The smaller and, some would say, more manageable of the area’s two major malls boasts the biggest Macy’s this side of New York City, one of only two Christmas Tree Shops in the state, Boscov’s, Sears, Macy’s, the Gap and other typical retail chains among its 120-plus stores.

Crossgates Commons Washington Ave. Extension (Thruway Exit 24), Albany. Nirvana for the big-box-shopping crazed—you need your car to drive from store to store at this place. Among the stores you’ll find are Home Depot, Circuit City, PetSmart, Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart.

Crossgates Mall 120 Washington Ave. Extension (Crossgates Mall Road exit off the Northway), Guilderland, 869-9565. It’s big, big, big—the biggest mall in the region, in fact. Now features more stores than we want to count (around 230), restaurants and services, plus an 18-screen Regal movie complex. Macy’s, JC Penney and Cohoes Fashions are among the department stores anchoring the behemoth. There’s also Pottery Barn, H&M, FYE and Best Buy.

Delaware Avevue Delmar. A suburban stretch offering strip-mall fare at Delaware Plaza, where you’ll find a Fashion Bug, Payless Shoes, FYE and the Friar Tuck Book Shop, not to mention the superb Delaware Plaza Liquor Store. At Four Corners (where Kenwood Ave. crosses Delaware), look for a collection of boutiques selling children’s clothes, books, gifts, jewelry, gourmet foods and more. And there’s always the Saratoga Shoe Depot for a pair of cool kicks.

Downtown Troy In the past nobody would mistake the downtown section of the Collar City for a bustling retail center. But these days it appears to be making a comeback. There seems to be a good number of shops that display the great potential of the city. Some of our favorites: Hummingbird Designs (handcrafted jewelry), Counties of Ireland (an import store that carries all manner of Irish gifts and clothing), and Aurora’s Willow Creek (Specializing in Victorian and Czechoslovakian jewelry). And while you’re in Troy, don’t forget to check out River St., which boasts Gerard Stowell Pottery (unique jewelry and gifts) and several antiques stores that are popping up faster than we can count them.

Downtown Saratoga Springs Saratoga may not have old-time prices, but it still has that old-time downtown feeling, with one of the area’s classiest collections of boutiques and shops. Don’t miss the off-price Saratoga Shoe Depot and the hot footwear selection Saratoga Soles. Check out Elevate Cycles for bikes, snowboards and related accessories, and Soavé Faire Fine Arts for discount art supplies. There are even a couple of stores downtown that’ll satisfy your cravings for the true shopping-mall experience: Borders Books and Music, the Gap, Banana Republic, Starbucks and Eddie Bauer have all graced Broadway with their chain-store presences.

Elissa Halloran Designs 225 Lark St., Albany, 432-7090. Hand-made jewelry, work by local artists, and a vintage and consignment clothing boutique.

Finkle Jewelers 1585 Central Ave., 436-6800. A fine jewelry store with a professional and experienced staff. Full lines of Pandora, Movada, and Tossot. Repairs available.

Hair Candy Beauty Supply 418 Delaware Ave., Albany, 463-3039.

Houghtaling 1391 Indian Fields Road, Feura Bush, 439-0028. A fresh-food market that offers everything from a full-service deli to an extensive catering menu, even ice cream for the kids.

It’s Only Natural Stuyvesant Plaza, Western Ave., Albany, 438-4595. Full line of Burts Bees and a full line of health and all natural organic products. Wheat free/gluten foods as well as supplements & herbs.

Jay Street Schenectady. A little retail paradise in the middle of the Electric City: A handful of gift shops here flank a common area that has been closed to traffic. The Open Door Bookstore holds court at one end, and don’t forget to hop across the street to check out Proctor’s Arcade, where there are a few sweet gift shops and a sheet-music store.

Lark Street/Lower Central Avenue Albany. An oasis of specialty shops, restaurants and bars. There’s something for everyone at the secondhand, antique, record, book and gift shops that line several blocks. Don’t miss Romeo’s Gifts, Elissa Halloran Designs for unique jewelry, and the Lark Street Flower Market. Also, pop into Flamingo’s, a store packed to the gills with retro kitsch treasures. Among the storefronts on Central Avenue, you’ll find Earthworld, for all your comic needs, and a Central Avenue fixture: The Honest Weight Food Co-op, a must for the organic-food connoisseur.

Latham Circle Mall Routes 9 and 7, Latham, 785-8363. Features standard mall fare in close to 100 shops, plus a multiscreen cineplex. The mall’s anchor stores are JCPenney and a mondo Burlington Coat Factory outlet.

Magic Moon 15 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-2488. A metaphysical boutique with candles, incense, books, crystals and more.

Manchester Center, Vt. Routes 7A and 11/30, Manchester Center, Vt. A veritable outlet town nestled amid the Green Mountains. Plenty of upscale, outlet-priced retail therapy to be had at every turn.

Mohawk Commons State St. and Balltown Road, Niskayuna. Built over the former site of Mohawk Mall, this big-box supercenter hosts a number of stores, including Target, Price Chopper, Lowe’s and Marshalls.

Ms. Chloe’s Closet 1 Agway Drive, Rensselaer, 283-3250. Gently used or new clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories.

New 2 You 1202 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham, 785-0028. Upscale consignment shop for women. Also find home furnishings, jewelry, artwork and new clothing. Voted best consignment shop in Metroland Best Of 2006!

Northway Mall Central Ave. (Route 5) and Wolf Road (Northway Exit 2E), Colonie (across from Colonie Center). This area has been given a face-lift, literally. The old mall has been torn down and replaced with a brand-new strip mall featuring Target, Marshalls, an Eddie Bauer outlet and Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts, among others.

Onara Clothing 21 Congress St., Saratoga, 583-4278. Upscale hip and trendy boutique. Unique clothes and accessories.

Pearl Grant Richmans Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, 438-8409. Large selection of greeting cards, Godiva chocolates, fine china crystal, women’s accessories, fine paper goods and gourmet foods.

Plato’s Closet 818 Central Ave., Albany, 459-3104. Sell your cool old clothes and get cash on the spot. Mega boutique for teens and young adult clothing.

Prime Outlets at Lee Route 20 East (I-90 Exit 2), Lee, Mass., (413) 243-8186. Outlet shopping just across the state line, without the hefty New York State sales tax. Among the stores, you’ll find J. Crew, the Gap and Jones New York.

Rotterdam Square 93 West Campbell Road (I-890 Exit 2), Rotterdam, 374-3713. Featuring most of the usual retail chains, with Sears as an anchor store. The mall also boasts a six-screen Loews cineplex.

Route 9, Latham From Hoffman’s Playland to a factory-outlet complex just north of the Latham Circle, this strip offers just about everything you could want from suburbia. Along this road is where you’ll find a TJ Maxx store (at the junction of Routes 9 and 155), another Marshalls, a Lenox China outlet, a Dansk outlet and Latham Farms—a strip mall that’s home to a Wal-Mart, CompUSA and more.

Sloppy Kisses 493 Broadway, Saratoga, 587-2207. Dog bakery and design pet boutique. Paris Hilton—eat your heart out.

Soave Faire Fine Arts 449-451 Broadway, Saratoga, 587-8448. Discount art supplies, school/dorm accessories, custom framing and posters.

Some Girls Boutique 17 Colvin Ave., Albany, 489-0505; 13 Second St., Troy, 271-1172. Some of the hottest trends in jeans, T-shirts, jewelry, hats, bags and more.

Stuyvesant Plaza Western Ave. and Fuller Road, Guilderland, 482-8986. A more upscale strip mall featuring some distinctive (and pricier) clothing stores, such as Circles, Ann Taylor and Casual Set; the Book House, the area’s largest locally owned bookstore; camera and photography equipment store Stuyvesant Photo; Hippo’s, a haven for home electronics connoisseurs; 10,000 Villages, a part-volunteer fair-trade store filled with affordable, exotic furnishings and gifts; jewelry and gift stores; children’s clothing stores; and much more.

Sutton’s Marketplace Route 9, Queensbury, 798-1188. An eclectic spot where you’ll find shops with everything from sophisticated women’s designer clothes, a café, a bakery, and a gift shop to a furniture emporium and a “toy cottage.”

Upper Union Street Schenectady. Aside from Jay Street, this is the other area of significant retail concentration in the Electric City. Clothing, jewelry, gifts, cards and fast food are all available.

Wilton Mall Route 50 (Northway Exit 15), Saratoga Springs, 583-2138. Old Navy, Dick’s Clothing and Sporting Goods, Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M and Aeropostale are among the features of this complex, which also boasts old faithfuls JCPenney and Sears. And when you’re done shopping, you can catch a flick at the eight-screen movie theater.

Wolf Road Colonie. A gauntlet for the shopping crazed. If you can get by Colonie Center on the corner of Central Avenue and Wolf Road, watch out . . . what lies in store (pun intended) is a shopaholic’s paradise. To name a few: Barnes & Noble; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Pier I Imports and Borders Books & Music.

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