Billions flock to America’s largest and most innovative malls each year, either on vacation or for a fun night out. From fabulous dining to even large-scale indoor theme parks, you’re bound to find anything and just about everything at one of these super-sized mega-malls here in these great states. Despite popular misconceptions, many still prefer to shop in person, rather than online and in their boring old home. It’s a good excuse to get out, catch up with friends, and instantly receive the dress of your dreams! From Saks Fifth Avenue to Old Navy, the malls below tend to have a little something for each price range, making a trip to the mall your best bet for fun out of the sun! From rainy days to chilly nights to hundred degree weather–heck, come here just for some good old exercise away from those nasty mosquitos! It sure beats the boring old treadmill! The mall’s cities are listed by the largest metropolitan areas that are nearest to them.
1. Mall of America, Minneapolis (1992): 40 million annual visitors
Located right by Minneapolis in the suburb of Bloomington, Minnesota, the Mall of America is the largest shopping mall in the United States and also, quite possibly, what many would consider to be the coolest. It generates nearly $2 billion in economic activity annual for the state of Minnesota. Open since 1992, it features over 500 high-end and chain stores, a variety of quick serve and sit-down restaurants, and memorable tourist attractions. Perhaps the mall’s most notable attraction is its seven-acre Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, complete with 25 rides and attractions. Approximately 40 million people visit the mall annually to shop, enjoy the attractions and take part in over 400 events each year. If Mount Rushmore was divided into individual monuments, a president could reside in each of the Mall’s four courts! Another fun fact is that 258 Statues of Liberty could lie inside the Mall!
2. King of Prussia Mall, Philadelphia (1963): 26 million annual visitors
Opened in 1963, Pennsylvania’s King of Prussia Mall actually contains more dedicated retail space than any other shopping mall in the United States, which is a reason worth visiting in and of itself if you ask me. It includes eight department stores, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, JC Penney, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and Sears, plus almost 400 boutiques and specialty shops and more than 40 restaurants, all divided into three sections: the Plaza, the Court and the Pavilion. Its actually said that tourists make up 20 percent of its visitors and its so easy to see why! Best of all, they are currently working on a massive $150 million expansion that will make it the largest mall in America! Well, at least until the Mall of America completes a $225 million, 5.6-million-square-foot expansion.
3. Aventura Mall, Miami (1983): 24 million annual visitors
After spending the early part of the day playing in the sand and once the sun starts to go down, it’s always fun to cool down and shop till you drop at one of the nation’s coolest malls. Florida’s three-story Aventura Mall opened in 1983 and was expanded to house its 300 shops and six department stores, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, JC Penney, Macy’s and Sears, in 2008. As a part of a cultural initiative created by the mall’s owners, art installations by international and South Florida artists are scattered throughout the upscale shopping center. Luxury retailers include Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Dior, and Porsche Design. More affordable retailers include Hollister, Journeys, H&M, and The Gap. As the shops start to close their doors, be sure to reserve a seat at the iconic Cheesecake Factory or just get a quick bite in at Mama Sbarro’s.
4. South Coast Plaza, Orange County, CA (1967): 24 million annual visitors
South Coast Plaza in Orange County, California, is the state’s largest and most luxurious shopping center. The 250 boutiques housed in the mall include some of the world’s premier brand names in fashion, jewelry and home decor, such as Christian Dior, Tiffany & Co., Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Barneys New York Co-Op, and Lalique. This sense of luxury can be seen in every aspect of the shopping experience, including personal shoppers and award-winning restaurants. South Coast Plaza also houses four performing arts venues and a sculpture garden, offering a touch of class that is seldom seen in many other shopping centers. They actually have the highest sales numbers in America at a whopping $1.5 billion, with a “B!” The mall comes anchored by Macy’s, Sears, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Saks Fifth Avenue. This mall has also been featured in a numbero f TV shows, including The OC, Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, Clueless, and Beverly Hills, 90210.
5. Del Amo Fashion Center, Los Angeles (1975): 23 million annual visitors
With a current gross leasable area of 2.2 million ft, it is one of the largest shopping malls in the United States. The mall features the world famous International Food Court, seven anchor stores, including three Macy’s locations, JCPenney & Sears, more than 314.5 retailers, multiple full-service restaurants, a fitness center and an 18-screen AMC Theatres multiplex. Come party the night away at BJ’s Restaurant Brewery (once you get over the name, you’ll find that the food is actually pretty good!), Black Angus Restaurant, Buffalo Wild Wings, and my favorite place to get a beverage, the wonderful and irresistible makings from Jamba Juice. What more could one ask for?! But there’s more! They are currently constructing a new Nordstrom that is set to open by 2015! And, one thing I especially like about the place is that it’s indoors, unlike many other area outdoor mega malls and shopping complexes.
6. Destiny USA, Syracuse, New York (1990): 22 million annual visitors
Destiny USA, previously known as the Carousel Center from 1990-2012, is a six-story mall on the shore of Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, New York. Some of the largest stores include JCPenney, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Best Buy, The Bon-Ton, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, Forever 21, DSW, Old Navy, Sears Outlet, Finish Line, and Off 5th. The mall, which opened on 15 October 1990, also houses a 19-screen Regal Cinemas, restaurants, and entertainment options, including the Amazing Mirror Maze, Lazer Tag, Funny Bone Comedy Club,Glow Golf, Wonder Works, Canyon Climb Adventure, and a number of others. Take a ride on the ginormous carousel or have dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, The Melting Pot, PF Changs, Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill, or even at Ruby Tuesdays! Budget seekers will especially enjoy their abundance of outlets, including a new Coach Factory outlet, a Brooks Brothers outlet, a Salvatore Ferragamo outlet, Saks Off Fifth, a Sears Outlet, and a Jos. A Bank factory store.
7. Sawgrass Mills, Miami (1975): 22 million annual visitors
Dubbed as “the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in the United States,” it’s easy to score mega-deals at the extra-large Sawgrass Mills, which is made up of 3 unique shopping destinations with a combination of indoor and outdoor shopping venues. They house more than 350 stores, including over 40 exclusive outlets not found anywhere else in South Florida including Burberry Factory Outlet, David Yurman, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo Company Store and Tory Burch. Fashionistas will delight in luxury-brand shopping at The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills. The young ladies in the family will have their day made if you take them to The Barbie Dream House Experience, while the young men in the family may fall in love with the gift shop and all around unsurpassable atmosphere at The Rainforest cafe. All in all, they have over two million square feet of retail space, so “the largest single story mall in the US” could easily eat up the entire trip itself if you get carried away!
8. The Galleria, Houston (1970): 22 million annual visitors
It’s easy to fill your shopping bags at Texas-sized shopping emporium the Galleria in Houston. Three million square foot of space makes the Galleria to be the largest mall in the state of Texas. It comes anchored by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and two seperate Macy’s. There are 2 Macy’s outposts, along with snazzy retailers like Cartier, Gucci, Tiffany & Co and Louis Vuitton, Westin hotels, tasty restaurants like The Rainforest Cafe, The Cheesecake Factory and The Oceanaire Seafood Room, and even an ice-skating rink under the tall glass atriums. Their ice skating rink was actually the world’s first ever rink to be built inside a mall, which is pretty cool in and of itself. They also have a state of the art children’s play area, two swimming pools, a video arcade, three full-service national and international banks, two tailor shops, 12 beauty salons, and a post office. Yeah, a post office! It takes 1400 parking spaces throughout seven garages just to accommodate all these shoppers!
9. Roosevelt Field, New York City (1956): 21 million annual visitors
The historic Roosevelt Field forever changed the mall industry when it debuted in 1956 when suburban Long Island was expanding rapidly. Prior to that, the site was an airfield used by the pioneering likes of Amelia Earhart and Wiley Post; it’s especially remembered as one of the cradles of female aviation. The mall is also distinguished as one of the first high-profile projects designed by a then-unknown architect by the name of I. M. Pei. Manhattan’s iconic department stores—Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s—are the anchor tenants at Roosevelt. Dining options include a celebrity owned eatery called “Bobby’s Burger Palace. It features 10 signature burgers inspired by Chef Bobby Flay’s extensive travels throughout America and love of the grill in a convenient casual setting. The second largest full price shopping mall in NYC is currently undergoing a massive 100,000-square-foot expansion that will open in 2015 with new luxury tenants like Neiman Marcus.
10. Woodfield Mall, Chicago (1971): 21 million annual visitors
Located just outside of Chicago, Woodfield is the number one tourist destination in the State of Illinois. Its name pays posthumous tribute to two of the greatest retailers of all time: General Robert E. Wood of Sears fame and the legendary Marshall Field. Many of the specialty stores are the largest of their kind in the U.S., and Woodfield is often used to test new store design and marketing concept, such as how the 2004 opening and nationwide debut of RUEHL 925 by Abercrombie & Fitch made its premiere here. Its trademark stainless-steel sculptures were fashioned by artist Robert Engman. Stock up on your Cubs sports apparel and novelties at the Cubs Clubhouse or just let the kids play at their indoor mini golf facility called Glow Golf or at Yu Kids Island, a fun indoor play facility!
11. Palisades Center, New York City (1998): 20 million annual visitors
As one of the nation’s most lucrative malls, the industrial style mall, which houses over 400 stores, receives 20 million visitors a year, and produces $57 million a year in taxes. The mall opened in 1998, as it actually took 16 years to get the mall approved and built! Unlike many of these other malls, the Palisades Center focuses on more affordable shopping, with anchors like JC Penney, Target, Home Depot, and the Burlington Coat Factory. However, they also have a strong focus on the entertainment market with their very own ice rink, a stadium-seating 21-screen AMC Theatres, a comedy club, an IMAX theater, and the Palisades Climb Adventure, a five level, 85 foot tall climbing obstacle course created by WonderWorks that allows guests to climb on obstacles while strapped into a harness. Finish it all off by heading to the food court to take a ride on the carousel and ferris wheel!
12. Tysons Corner Center, Washington, DC (1968): 19 million visitors
Tysons Corner keeps DC’s socialites and well-heeled politicos looking stylish. As the largest shopping mall in the area, Tysons is known for its luxury retailers, spacious home stores like Restoration Hardware and Williams-Sonoma Grand Cuisine and even a fancy children’s play area sponsored by National Geographic. Anchors include the 16-screen AMC Theatres, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and Bloomingdale’s. It neighbors the even more upscale Tysons Galleria, which is anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Although, many notable openings took place right here at the center, including the first Nordstrom outside of the West Coast (1988), the first LL Bean store outside of Maine, and the first Apple Store in the world in 2001! That’s right, the first Apple Store ever opened right here. Pretty cool, huh?!
What’s your favorite mall? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!