Once upon a time there was an oak-soaked prairie, until 1970 that is, when Houstonians were introduced to the most exciting concept in shopping since, well, ever. But the Galleria has always been more than a place to buy things; it’s Houston in miniature, a cameo of the zeitgeist. And yet, for all that, how well do you really know the place? Have you descended to its deepest recesses? Scaled its highest catwalks? Well, we have. We’ve toured the forgotten arcades and luxe boutiques, eaten, shopped, and shopped—the things we do for our readers!—all in the name of producing a Galleria guide without peer. But wait, there’s more. As long as we’re going anyway, we figured, why not go in search of perfect gifts for every last person on your list?

Illustration by Eva Vázquez

In This Feature:

'A Shopping Center It Is Not. It Will Be a New Downtown.'

What was once a pockmarked Post Oak prairie became a temple to consumerism unlike anything seen before.

12/01/2013 By John Lomax

Meet the Man Who Invented the Galleria

Gerald Hines, founding father of the modern mall, opens up about the Galleria’s early days, ice rinks, and his legacy.

12/01/2013 By John Lomax

Building the Galleria’s Massive Christmas Tree

Houston's heftiest of holiday trees is 56 feet tall, 28 feet wide, and assembled entirely by hand.

12/01/2013 By Katharine Shilcutt

Westward Expansion

With a renovation of Galleria III beginning in 2014, the Galleria aims to reinvent itself once again.

12/01/2013 By Peter Holley

Spending 24 Hours at the Galleria: A Diary

We challenged one of our writers to spend one full day at the Galleria. Will he survive?

12/01/2013 By Michael Hardy

Why We Celebrate the Galleria

More than just a mall, the Galleria is a symbol of who we are, where we came from, and where we’re going.

12/01/2013 By Scott Vogel

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid

Quit interrogating your kids about what they want for Christmas. Take them window shopping instead.

12/01/2013 By Robb Walsh

Galleria Freebies

Run out of the house without your wallet? No problem!

12/01/2013 By Kerry H.

Slideshow: Nicely Priced Gifts

They’ll think you paid way more than you did.

12/01/2013

Offered with Prejudice

When it comes to gift giving, a little stereotyping goes a long way.

12/01/2013 By Katie McNew

Call the Fashion Police!

Heists! Prostitutes! Oh my! Some of the Galleria’s more infamous moments.

12/01/2013 By John Lomax

Home for Christmas

For the new homeowners on your list, give gifts with a personal touch.

12/01/2013 By Catherine Matusow

The Nice Price

A.K.A., they’ll think you paid way more than you did.

12/01/2013 By Katharine Shilcutt

Generous Return Policies: A Primer

Fashion faux pas? Post-shopping spree regrets? These stores understand.

12/01/2013 By Peter Holley

Mall Out of Love

Gift ideas for that special someone

12/01/2013 By Kerry H.

All in the Family

An idea for every minefield-strewn gift target on your list

12/01/2013 By Katie McNew

An Interactive Map of the Galleria

Thirty points of interest, including where to park, where to snag free champagne, and even the latest Beyoncé sighting

12/01/2013 By Katharine Shilcutt Illustrations by Michael Newhouse

Mall You Can Eat: The Galleria's 5 Best Restaurants

All that shopping making you hungry? Here are our five favorites inside the mall itself.

12/01/2013 By Robb Walsh