Leah Azmi is a sophomore in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as the SCHAR School of Policy and Government, with a double major in both English and Government and International Politics. She is originally from Centreville, Virginia and is a part of the Patriot Activities Council.
Molly Harnish is a senior in the Honors College, majoring in Economics and minoring in Mathematics and Public Policy and Management. She is originally from West Chester, Pennsylvania, and has been involved in InterVarsity and the Economics Society during her time at Mason.
With midterms coming to an end and finals peeking their head around the corner, students need to take some time to just treat yourself.
One of the best things about being in the Fairfax area is the fact that we have so many places in the area for people to leave their homes and explore. But for people who live on campus and aren’t familiar to this area, it’s difficult to find out about these places without asking someone who knows about these places. So here are five places that are perfect for “treat yourself” dates.
1 – Tysons Corner Mall
This mall is pretty close to the school, just around 21 minutes away if you head towards I-495 and 66.
It has three floors: the third floor a full blown food court with a movie theatre and a play area for little kids. The first and second floors have tons of stores ranging from boutiques, jewelry, and cosmetics to furniture, cafes, and even spas. The variety of stores means you never really know what you’ll find, and probably will end up trying something new at one of the dozens of dining options.
2 – Fair Oaks Mall
This is another mall in the area, but this one is smaller and, in my opinion, closer than Tysons since you don’t have to deal with that much traffic to get there. It’s in the same area as the Target the Mason Shuttle takes students to so they can do some grocery shopping.
This mall only has two floors with some pretty unique stores in it including: Donut Chew, a bubble tea café that sells mochi donuts, Box Lunch, a store with tons of merchandise for varying fanbases, Dave and Busters, and Texas De Brazil, a phenomenal mixed buffet that’s a great experience for anyone dining there.
Another great feature about this area is Fair Lakes promenade, a small shopping center a block from the mall. It has a couple of stores the mall doesn’t have, such as a Barnes and Nobles or a Nothing Bunt Cakes store, and even a Silver Diner, a diner known for their tableside jukeboxes and American classics served with made-by-order milkshakes, right across the street from it.
3 – Fairfax Corner
Right across the highway from Fair Oaks Mall is Fairfax Corner, a phenomenal outlet mall with tons of dining options including P.F. Chang’s, California Pizza Kitchen, and Peet’s Coffee. Though it’s a small area, the outlet mall makes up for it with their seasonal activities they have in their plaza across from their movie theater, such as a Christmas tree display or mini golf during the spring/summer time, as well as other activities available like Escapology’s escape rooms.
4 – Reston Town Center
This list seems to be becoming based on time it takes to get to each destination, but it’s all within a 30 minute distance from GMU which makes it easier for plenty of students.
Reston Town Center is closer to the Herndon area, so you head a little further out of the Fairfax County area. One this that definitely makes this location a bit different from the others is their diverse selection of boutiques and dining options, which tends to stray from the usual choices you see in other malls, outlet or otherwise.
But their seasonal attractions is one thing they are best known for. In the winter, their pavilion is turned into an ice skating rink, but during the spring and summer, the exact same space is used to put on concerts. In the summer, they also turn their park into an interactive fountain area
5 – Washington DC
A very obvious choice since Mason students have easy access to the Metro, but I feel it’s an especially phenomenal option with the spring season coming in due to the Cherry Blossom Festival. The museums in DC definitely give even more reason to go there, but to simply relax and take a walk, going to see the blossoms are especially worth it.
One misconception about going out is that its best to go out with other people, but you don’t need to go out with others to be able to enjoy yourself. Same with buying things, there’s nothing wrong with only browsing and walking out of the store empty handed.
A “treat yourself” date is for you to relax and get away from the pressure that school provides for us all, not feel the need to do something you don’t want to. If you want to sit at a Barnes and Nobles all day and just read in their Starbucks without buying anything, do it. If it’s your means to relaxing, then do just that to destress.