What Will You Miss About Your Favorite Mall?

Brick and mortar shopping centers might be dying, but Truth Time: I love the mall. Sure, they can be oppressively homogenizing temples to rampaging consumerism and deadening banality, malls are also strangely exciting public spaces, bringing people from all walks of life together under one roof. There’s something I’ve always found appealing about the disparate businesses all being forced into close proximity, the clashing cacophony of lights and sounds, the hive-like workings of the employees, the labyrinthine spaces and secret service hallways, and even the haunting emptiness of vacated store spaces. And while the stores may be the same, malls can also be unforgettable and unique, whether it’s the Escher-esque strangeness of San Diego’s soon-to-be-gone Horton Plaza, or the grand artifice of Hong Kong’s boat-shaped mall, The Whampoa.

After watching season 3 of Stranger Things over the weekend, which prominently features a new 80s-era shopping center, I’ve caught a case of mall nostalgia, so I want to hear about your favorite malls!

(Image: Brett Jordan/Public Domain)

In the comments below, tell us about your favorite malls, what they were named, where they were, and most importantly, your favorite memory of them. If you’ve got pictures, you’d better believe that we want to see those as well. Your response may be included in an upcoming article on Atlas Obscura. Let’s all go back to the mall, and just, y’know, hang out!

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The White Oaks Mall in Springfield, IL was incredibly formative to my life. Not only was it the place where we adopted most of our family pets (the pet store next to Sears was always host to litters of strays picked up by a local vet) but it was WHERE MY PARENTS MET.

My mom worked at Walden Books, my dad worked at RadioShack. Two households, alike in dignity! In one notable incident, my dad rode his motorcycle around the mall as the shops closed up.

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According to the late and great Romero they also make superb hide outs for the survivors of zombie apocalypses

Until Biker gangs arrive…

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Romero was right.

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Mine was updated, Glendale Galleria on Central Av in Glendale CA X from Americana at Brand complex.Mall was updated on interior with new stores etc. Very active & busy, no loss.

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Rochester’s Midtown Plaza! First of its kind and had a beautiful big clock

Greengate Mall in Greesnburg Pa. was a neat example. I remember (vaguely) as a little kid going for car shows which were both inside and outside as well as the over the tip Christmas displays. In it’s last days (late 90s) I was excited to find the back way in that led me directly to NRM (remember NRM kids?) so I could get in, buy CDs and get out without having to wallow past the sad, sad rows of empty stores. It’s now the site of a strip mall with a few “big box” anchors and a bunch of smaller stores and out parcels. There is a Sonic who are relatively rare here, so that’s a saving grace.

https://www.yenko.net/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=78710&stc=1

^ sorry, not hot linking there but a good car show pic.

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Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Not only a mall, but also an amusement park. Kids can go on rides with dad while mom
shops. Unique stores and restaurants. Special events during whole year. Check out their website.

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Malls are a dying business model.200 per year closing.Few if any regional malls being built.Passaic Mall in NJ,mall central, was half built so they turned it into condos.My local mall has a Sears on one end and a Regal Cinema on the other.In between are the VA Clinic, DMV, Welfare Office, Parole Office, County Assessor.Sears had 2 clerks and me the last time I went in.

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Some of my earliest memories are of being pushed around in a stroller at the mall while staring straight up at the decorative recessed ceilings. My local mall had a kind of faux-stained glass ceiling over the lights. There were many pools with futuristic metal fountains and seating all around. For a little kid it was a wondrous place! For me that 80s and 90s was the golden era for shopping malls. Now those fountains are replaced with kiosks selling junk, and the decorative style is more like boring suburban mcmansion. I never ever go there now.

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I live in Colorado we Anne beautiful Park Meadows mall , but my heart started beating when I read that you put the Glendale galleria , that was my childhood , mom would take us kids to FAO Schwartz during the summer and then hang out because we had no air conditioning

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It’s in no danger of closing, so I won’t “miss” it, but I do have a favorite mall: Santafe Mall in Medellin, Colombia. There is a 6-story atrium bigger than a football field, which is always filled with enormous seasonal decorations, ball pits, flower displays, etc.

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dont recall if FAO Schwartz still there, major interior remodelling & shifting stores around since 80s, Google Glendale Galleria.

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I met my wife at Bamberger’s (Macy’s) in the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall. PA. She worked in “Country Store” and I was in Men’s Sportswear. :wink:

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I was nine years old when the Buena Park Mall opened in 1961. It was one of the first malls in Orange County, anchored by JCPenney, Sears, and – a couple of years later – May Company. I remember Mom taking us shopping for underwear at Penney and school clothes at Sears. My dad took me for driving lessons in the sprawling, largely empty, parking lot. Later, one of my first jobs was at Longs Drugs, where my duties included running around the parking lot retrieving abandoned shopping carts. On breaks I’d go visit a friend who worked at the Orange Julius stand, or was it Karmelkorn? I left the area in the late 1960s, and since then the mall has changed considerably. And so have I. But I retain the fond memories of my early years at “the Mall”.

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About the time I turned 18, the Grand Avenue Mall in Downtown Milwaukee opened and I have this vivid memory of getting snacks at this little shop that sold fancy cheeses, including my first taste of Brie. It’s been a work in progress since the demise of retail, but in this article, it looks pretty awesome. I’m inspired to stroll through on my next visit to Milwaukee.

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It had both Orange Julius and Karmelkorn. They were each freestanding opposite each other at the intersection. Sears is still there (barely) but all the other originals are gone. I was 10 when it opened.

Georgetown Park Mall in Georgetown, Washington DC. You may remember it from a shootout early in True Lies (& maybe sort-of from No Way Out). Mostly hidden in the void within a city block, it used a clever tactic of scattering the up and down escalators around the various floors so you had to wander through half a floor to go up or down to another floor.

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South Coast Plaza, in Costa Mesa, California, will always be a special place to me. I was born and raised in Orange County. For most of my childhood, we lived only a few blocks away. Some of my earliest memories as a child are of that mall. I remember being so excited to go on the merry-go-round, and how they always had Disneyland Mickey Mouse balloons for sale. It became a tradition to throw coins into the numerous fountains that cascaded down the marble halls. I look back fondly, and with a twinge of sadness, to all the times my mother and I spent there throughout my youth. How I would beg and plead to get something from the Sanrio store every time we went. How my mom and I would have special lunch dates at 41 Carrots. It’s where I bought my 8th grade graduation dress, and my prom dress. It was the first place I used my very first credit card. The first place I ever had someone do my makeup, and the place I got my makeup for my wedding day. My husband and I would walk around there while dating. I would walk around in their air conditioning when I was pregnant, and took my kids there when they were babies. Three generations of my family have memories of South Coast Plaza. My parents even have photos it being built! While we have since moved out of state, it is a must stop to visit whenever we go back.

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I used to go to Gwinnet Place Mall in GA all the time when I was younger until they opened newer and closer malls. Then I found out it’s where they were filming Stranger Things 3! My friend and I recently snuck in before they got rid of the set and took some pics!

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