Guide to shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlet in New York City

Ahh shopping outlets. They can be either heaven or hell, depending on the type of person you are (and the type of luck you're having that day!). Here is our quick and dirty guide to Woodbury Common Premium Outlet in New York, which has over 220 stores and is only an hour's drive north of Manhattan.

Don't forget to check out our top three tips at the bottom of this article!

Lululemon yoga athletica Woodbury Common Premium Outlet in New York

How to get there

First, let me start by saying how not to get there. The Woodbury website lists an array of bus services, and this time, we made the mistake of opting for the cheaper Eastern Bus Service (who markets themselves as "Woodbury Bus" or the "Go to Woodbury" bus) that was listed on the Woodbury website. A return ticket cost us $35 each.

We booked this bus because it offered the most convenient pick up location for us, but at 11:06 pm the night before we were to catch our bus (and after I had turned my phone off for the night), an SMS was sent to me saying that the pick up location had changed - and that instead of being picked up at 9:03 am as listed on the website, pick up would be at 8:45 am.

We didn't receive this message until we woke up at 8:15 am the following morning - so we rushed to take a taxi to the new location, because it was too far for us to walk. Along the way, we called the number listed in the SMS and was told there was no need to move to to the new location because the bus would be driving along our street. By this time though, we were already in the taxi and it was too late. We paid US$15 (including tip) to the taxi driver.

It turns out that we did not need to go to the new location, as the bus continued up along 3rd Avenue and past our original pick up destination, so we wasted our $15 on the taxi (plus the stress it caused us to rush to the new spot) because of their misinformation.

On top of all this, at the end of the trip, the driver announced that we would all need to pay a mandatory $5 tip per person. The $10 total tip, plus the $15 spent on the taxi meant we would have been better off taking any other bus service than this one.

Having said that, this was not the worst thing that could have happened. According to the Yelp reviews of Eastern Bus Service (check them out, I promise they are hilarious!) it has a 1.5 star rating for a reason. In fact, most reviewers say that they would give it zero stars if Yelp allowed such a thing. Stories abound of pick up times changing without notice - and the bus company refusing to give refunds; buses actually being overbooked by the company and people not being able to board - and the bus company refusing to give refunds; and buses breaking down multiple times in one trip - and, surprise surprise, the bus company refusing to give refunds.

Eastern Bus Service from New York to Woodbury reviews
One of the worst reviews I've ever seen on Yelp. Check them out, they're hilarious!
As one reviewer put it, I "was pleasantly surprised that we didn't all die." I think the worst of it is that Eastern Bus Service will not respond to your SMSes or emails - if there is a problem, they will simply ignore you.

If you're after a bargain, you can (at the moment) pick up a Groupon ticket to Woodbury from three locations in NYC for only $25 here. Alternatively, Google around to find the most appropriate bus service for you - some offer a variety of pick up locations (including Brooklyn), while others are quite limited; and some offer only one pick up time (like the Eastern Bus Service), while others give you multiple choices. There isn't any point in trying to save a few bucks on a ticket when you have to catch the subway (or worse, a taxi) to your pick up destination.

On a side note, two years ago, I taken the Short Line Bus (a return bus trip from Midtown New York City to Woodbury that cost me $42) and that was a hassle-free experience.

What to do when you reach Woodbury

Go directly into the Welcome Center at the entrance, which is located roughly in the middle of the complex (note that there are a couple of entrance/exits, but you should be able to figure out where everyone else is making a beeline for) and pick up a map.

Shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlet New York Welcome Centre

If you have joined certain bus tours, the driver may also assist in picking up a discount booklet for you at the Welcome Center and handing them out. Having said that, you can get a free booklet at the Welcome Centre yourself if you have signed up online beforehand to Woodbury's VIP programme. This booklet is full of discounts - but not for all brands (for example, Lululemon doesn't offer any VIP discounts) and not always at a rate that would be useful (sometimes it's a "spend $250 and get $20 off" sort of thing) - I didn't end up being able to use any of the discounts this time around.

Shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlet New York
Americans don't understand Australian accents...#thatsnotmyname
The map is very helpful. I highly recommend having a look at it online before you go to Woodbury so you can get an idea of which stores you are interested in. I can't stress this enough: do not underestimate the amount of time you have at Woodbury. What I mean by this is that you should prioritise the stores that you want to visit, and be ruthless about not going into the ones you're not interested in. 

What to eat and drink

The Woodbury stores don't open until 10 am, so if you arrive early, the Starbucks on the premises is your best bet for a coffee fix (plus they have free Wifi).

Shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlet New York Starbucks Wifi

There are a few options for eating at Woodbury. The first year I went, there was a pretty poor food court tucked away in one corner that offered rather average tasting takeaway food. This year, we visited Applebees for lunch, and unfortunately I can't recommend it. We had to queue for the restaurant (wasting precious shopping time!), and the food was pretty bad (lots of fried garbage) and overpriced.
Shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlet New York Applebees
Shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlet New York Applebees

Instead, there is a new food court that has an array of fast food options (including salads for those who want to be healthy) and a clean environment - plus there's a frozen yoghurt place that you can stop by for a quick snack.

Shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlet New York Food Court

What we did

The last trip I took to Woodbury back in 2013, I managed to snag some seriously awesome statement pieces, like a soft lamb skin leather jacket from DVF, some absolute steals from sport stores (including t-shirts from Under Armour and $8 shorts from Nike), massively discounted vitamins, and a sharp black blazer from Theory.

This time, unfortunately, I was less "successful" (in the sense that I didn't manage to burn the entirety of my savings in one day), only scoring a pair of ripped black denim jeans from Rag & Bone that were US$230 but discounted to US$115, a pair of Lululemon yoga pants for US$90, a long sleeve top from Under Armour for US$42, and a makeup kit from Bare Minerals. The Boy didn't manage to pick up anything.

Shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlet New York Lululemon yoga athletica
  1. I cannot stress this enough, but you need to be organised when you do your shopping, or else you will run out of time given the size of the outlet. The best way to do this is to highlight on the map in one colour (say, yellow) which stores are a must-visit, and then highlight in another (say, green) which stores are a "visit if we can". This will help you as the clock is ticking to figure out which stores you should bother ducking into.
  2. Remember that whenever you find a good buy at a store, check the booklet to see if there is a discount before you pay! It's supposed to be one coupon redemption per store, so you may need to be strategic about how you approach the use of your coupons if you're with another person with a discount book - i.e. split your purchases so that one of you pays for the minimum amount to get a discount, and the other person pays for the remainder so you can get extra $ off (unless it's a percentage discount - in which case, it obviously doesn't make a difference).
  3. For some bus services, you need to register at the outlet for your pick up time, which means you should go to the information desk and choose a time slot. Make sure you register for your bus a good 15 minutes before the bus is due to leave, because sometimes there are so many people that you can't secure a spot on that particular bus - and you don't want to end up stranded at Woodbury (particularly if you miss the last bus out!).

xx Carmen

Lifestyle Lookbook

3 comments :

  1. I would also add to for the coupon books - if you are a member of AAA, they will give you these coupon books for free!

    www.triedguide.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's an awesome tip, thanks so much Laura - super helpful!! xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's an awesome tip, thanks so much Laura - super helpful!! xx

    ReplyDelete

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