9 ways to hack The Grove

Here we are again. It's the last minute, you haven't shopped yet, and you don't wanna pay 40 times the cost of your gift to have it shipped in time for Xmas. Chances are you end up hitting one of the most popular malls in LA to get this done -- and chances are it's the one that's Mid-Citiest, which means chances are, it's The Grove. Thankfully, that only needs to be a mild nightmare rather than an absolute one now that you've got these: nine ways to hack The Grove.

If you're a baller, valet is free

Not even that big a baller -- spend $250+, and they'll comp it for you, straight up.

Actually, screw driving: if you're a bigger baller, Uber is free

Yep: spend $450+ and you can take Uber to and from The Grove gratis (the ride there's free for everyone!), so long as you call the concierge for the code.

If you're just perusing, you can use this hidden validation machine 

And you don't have to by anything. It's in Nordstrom's, near the women's shoes, and it means you'll never have to buy a small coffee at Coffee Bean just to validate again.

There's a secret bathroom in the movie theater

Can't hold it? (Or don't want to deal with the sometimes-disgusting downstairs bathrooms?) There's a restroom upstairs at the Pacific Theaters, accessible from most auditoriums by walking up the stairs to the door in the back, or just going out to the lobby and up.

Phone dead? No problem.

Seriously, you can just ask the concierge dude and he'll give you a Duracell charger. Because, yeah, they wanna keep you around. And shopping.

Hands-free shopping? Yeah, that's a thing.

Valet, and you don't need to carry bags with you. Don't valet and you STILL don't need to carry bags with you. Literally, you buy items, tell the cashier you're doing the hands-free shopping deal, and someone will pick all of them up at the exact stores you purchased them at and either bring them to the concierge for pickup or deliver them straight to your car in valet.

If you don't need any of the schmancy stuff, valet at Wood Ranch to get your car more quickly

The wait at Wood Ranch < the wait at main valet < the wait in that interminable line when a movie gets out in self-parking.

Don't eat at The Grove. Eat at the Farmers Market.

Okay so this isn't the hackiest hack in the world, but if you didn't know that the better food is actually next door to The Grove, then we're gonna say it still qualifies. The Farmers Market has both a great craft beer spot in EB's and a great gumbo spot in the Gumbo Pot, which also has a slew of other NOLA specialties.

But if you are eating at The Grove, and you're in a Cheesecake Factory mood, skip the line

What the what? Yep: there's always a huge line there, but to bypass it just go straight up the escalator and sit at the high-tops. They're considered part of the bar, so it's open seating, and you can get the whole menu there.

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Jeff Miller will eat the Cheesecake Factory's Chinese Chicken Salad over just about anything. Tell him your order at @jeffmillerla on Instagram and @ThrillistLA on Twitter.