It might seem as though every time you turn on the news, another department store is closing its doors. It’s no surprise. Online shopping has largely taken the place of browsing shops in person, and malls are no longer the favorite spot for teens to hang out on weekends.
However, shopping malls have not completely died out. In fact, there are still some sizable shopping centers across the country. Check out the most massive malls still thriving across the United States.
Located in the Lower Hudson Valley of West Nyack, New York, the 2 million-square-foot Palisades Center boasts more than 220 businesses on four levels, 40 escalators, a bowling alley and even a more than 60-foot-tall indoor Ferris wheel. This mall is just 25 miles north of Manhattan, which makes it a quick trip for people living in the city. Beyond that, it’s also home to the world’s tallest indoor ropes course and it has a comedy club, so you can get your kicks however you want when you go shopping. Hungry? Stop into one of the 15 sit-down restaurants or grab a bite at the food court.
Fun fact: there’s also an ice-skating rink inside this massive mall. When Palisades Center first opened in 1998, the mall brought in Olympic silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan to skate on the rink and mark the opening of the new mall.
The mall was actually built on top of a former landfill, which caused cracks to form in the structure as it settled. Comedian and talk show host Rosie O’Donnell even poked fun at the mall during the opening monologue of one of her shows in 1999.
Not far from Chicago, you’ll find the massive Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois. This sprawling shopping center has 2.1 million square feet of retail space surrounded by hotels, office complexes, corporate headquarters and other shopping areas.
Plus, Woodfield just opened a new dining pavilion (pictured below). The top-notch food court cost $20 million and has 820 seats.
The mall first opened in 1971 and continues to attract 27 million visitors each year, which seems pretty impressive when it feels like malls are going the way of the dinosaurs.
“It’s great for the community to see that the ‘shopping malls are dying narrative’ is not true,” Kurt Webber, the general manager of Woodfield Mall, told Eater Chicago. “Woodfield is thriving and we’re showing a commitment in reinvesting in our assets.”
Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, Millcreek Mall occupies approximately 2.2 million square feet of space. In addition to a Macy’s and a JCPenney, there are more than 120 specialty stores at this mall as well as restaurants, hotels and plenty of outdoor space. In the area surrounding the mall, there’s also a TJ Maxx, Dick’s Sporting Goods, HomeGoods, Michaels and more.
When Millcreek Mall was built, people couldn’t help notice that it looked a little bit like a gun from above. Rumors began circulating that it was built by members of organized crime and pointed directly at city hall (though there’s no evidence of this being the case!).
Though the mall was built in 1975, it’s gone through many upgrades and renovations since then. Most recently, a massive entertainment and game location just opened there called Round 1 Entertainment. The 50,000-square-foot space has bowling alleys, party rooms, pool tables, arcade games and a bar and restaurant.
Spread across 106 acres, Roosevelt Field is located in East Garden City, New York, approximately 30 miles from Manhattan. This mall has more than 2.3 million square feet of retail space spread across three levels. Love pop culture? Since it’s so close to the Big Apple, Roosevelt Field frequently has celebrity guests promoting new books, shows and stores.
The mall has a unique backstory. Before it became home to Abercrombie and Fitch and Build-A-Bear Workshop, Roosevelt Field was actually an airfield. In fact, famous pilot Charles Lindbergh departed from Roosevelt Field on his 1927 journey to Paris. It also served as a military aviation training ground, a concert venue and a race track.
Outlet store fans will love this supersized mall. With more than 350 outlet and value stores, Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Florida, is the largest mall of its kind in the United States. With 2,383,906 square feet of retail space, the mall’s footprint was designed to look like an alligator from above. If you need help, you can get assistance in up to seven different languages at this mall.
Speaking of alligators, if shopping isn’t your thing, you’re in luck. Sawgrass Mills just so happens to have an extensive “gator garden.” It’s actually a sculpture garden featuring multicolored alligators standing on their hind legs. Because when you’re in Florida, you’re bound to encounter some scaley friends!
Ala Moana Center
Hawaii’s largest mall is the open-air Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. With 2.4 million square feet of shopping space, the center boasts more than 350 shops and restaurants, including a two-story Target store. With all the palm trees and outdoor space, you won’t really even be able to tell you’re at a mall.
Ala Moana Center
The folks at the Ala Moana Center have really tried to create an experience that goes beyond shopping. For example, there’s live Hawaiian music everyday from 5 to 6 p.m., a large children’s play area and even regular hula classes! There’s also a cool art walk that takes visitors past sculptures and other installments throughout the mall.
Houston’s Galleria Mall spans more than 2.4 million square feet, which includes 400 stores and restaurants, two high-rise hotels and three office towers. Its amenities include a post office, two swimming pools, on-site tailors and a full-size ice skating rink. There’s even a post office at this mall!
Perhaps the most recognizable design elements of The Galleria are the huge skylights overhead. Roughly 30 million people pass through the mall each year, filling up approximately 13,000 total parking spots! And while you might just think of it as just another shopping mall, The Galleria was actually modeled after Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of the oldest shopping centers in Milan, Italy.
New York state’s biggest mall is in Syracuse. Originally named the Carousel Center because of the 1909 merry-go-round still featured there, the mall has six above-ground floors and one underground floor. Along with retail shops, Destiny USA has loads of restaurants, a 19-screen theater, entertainment venues and even a chapel.
As if all that weren’t enough, there’s also go-karting and the world’s largest suspended ropes course.
Tysons Corner Center
With roughly 2.4 million square feet of retail space, it’s no wonder this McLean, Virginia, mall is one of the largest in the country. It’s located just 13 miles from Washington, D.C., and has pretty much everything residents of the nation’s capital could want — Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and 300 other specialty shops and eateries.
Tysons Corner Center
When the mall first opened in 1968, it was a relatively novel concept for the D.C. area. Now, there are luxury apartments and hotels nearby. The mall also has its own dedicated metro station, which makes it quick and easy to get to.
Not to be confused with New York City’s Central Park, this shopping center is located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and has more than 2.5 million square feet of retail space. There are more than 200 retailers at this mall, including Old Navy, Loft and DSW. The mall is also conveniently located not far from Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia.
This shopping center has a prime location, too. It’s just a few miles from historic Fredericksburg, where you’ll find more than 300 homes and buildings that date all the way back to the 1700s and 1800s. If you’re visiting, you’ll be interested to see George Washington’s boyhood home, his sister Betty Washington’s home and the site of several Civil War battles. Nearby, you’ll also find a summer concert pavilion and an RV resort.
Del Amo Fashion Center
Located in Torrance, California, Del Amo Fashion Center features 2.6 million square feet of chic shopping venues, eateries and entertainment options. The mall also includes an outdoor “village,” where shoppers can enjoy Southern California’s sunny climate. It’s decorated with palm trees to feel extra relaxing.
Del Amo Fashion Center
Like many of the malls on this list, the Del Amo Fashion Center is owned by Simon, an S&P 100 company with malls, entertainment venues and shopping centers all over the world. Del Amo’s parent company also started the Simon Youth Foundation, which helps at-risk teens graduate from high school. Pretty cool, huh?
South Coast Plaza
Another California contender, South Coast Plaza is a 2.8-million-square-foot mall in Costa Mesa. Guests at the luxury shopping destination can receive assistance in more than 40 languages. There are some 250 shops and 30 tasty restaurants at this shopping center, so you’re guaranteed not to get bored.
South Coast Plaza
When South Coast Plaza opened in 1967, the mall had just 70 stores, including May Company and Sears. It has expanded many times over in the intervening years, attracting luxury brands and designers like Cartier, Christian Louboutin, Louis Vutton and many others. The mall recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Florida’s largest shopping mall is the 2.7-million-square-foot Aventura Mall in the Miami suburb of Aventura. Along with more than 300 stores, dozens of places to eat and an array of art installations, this mall also sports a nearly 93-foot-tall spiral structure known as the Slide Tower, which is free and open for public enjoyment.
The mall has an impressive art collection, too. There are multimedia pieces and sculptures from local Miami artists, as well as internationally renowned artists.
“South Florida has become well-known for its thriving art scene and the collection spotlights works by young artists who have emerged from Miami’s art world to receive international acclaim,” according to the mall’s website.
The piece pictured below is called “Walking Figure” by Donald Baechler.
King Of Prussia Mall
Boasting a massive 2.9 million square feet, King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, has more than 400 retail stores and a wide array of dining options. Each year, around 25 million shoppers visit this mall, which originally opened in 1963.
King of Prussia Mall
Though the mall first opened in 1963, don’t worry, it doesn’t have original finishings. It recently underwent a major expansion project that added 50 new stores and eateries. Upgrades are continuing at the mall this year, with crews installing new lighting, new flooring and new handrails. They’re also applying a fresh coat of paint and remodeling the restrooms.
Mall Of America
Although only 2.77 million of it is reserved for retail, Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, is the largest mall in the United States at 4.87 million square feet. Shoppers here will find more than 500 stores, dozens of places to eat and loads of attractions, from a comedy club to a 1.3-million-gallon aquarium to Nickelodeon Universe and much, much more.
Mall of America
The mall first opened its doors in 1992 and quickly became a top tourist destination. What most visitors don’t realize is that while the mall is massive in size, it’s actually relatively environmentally friendly. For example, there’s no central heating system at the Mall of America. Instead, the temperature stays at 70 degrees all year round thanks to passive solar energy and 1.2 miles of skylights (yes, miles). Surprisingly, there are also more than 30,000 live plants and trees inside the mall to help keep the air fresh and clean.
Have you been to any of these shopping behemoths?