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From parks to destination restaurants, farmers markets to carnivals, today’s shopping centers are much more than spots to scoop up the latest holiday gifts — they’re gathering places for communities and visitors.

Just outside the gates of the luxurious Kiawah Island Golf Resort, FRESHFIELDS VILLAGE is more than an outdoor shopping center — it’s a village for residents of the island and guests of Kiawah, Seabrook, and John’s islands. Dip into boutiques and art galleries, dine at one of their nine restaurants, and then take a load off at the centrally located park; it hosts outdoor concerts, a farmers market, and family events. At newcomer Aubergine Home Collection, a local Charleston home decor and furnishings store, shoppers can uncover the latest in luxury interior design and custom linens and bed and bath items. freshfieldsvillage.com

At the Euro-inspired PIAZZA AT SCHMIDTS, located in Philadelphia’s rapidly emerging Northern Liberties neighborhood, you can stroll the 80,000-square-foot open-air plaza that features a fountain, garden, and 26-by-16-foot highdefi nition, wall-mounted LED screen. Piazza hosts a full slate of events year-round, including Philadelphia sporting events broadcast on the giant LED screen and free festivals, concerts, and dance performances. atthepiazza.com