Shopping centers that are just for shopping? Such a thing of the past.
Malls have become huge entertainment zones, where families can do more than just window shop. In fact, some malls around the world resemble amusement parks more than shopping spaces: roller coasters, bowling alleys, even indoor water parks…
Here are 10 shopping centers around the world that will keep you entertained for hours, even if you don’t buy a single thing.
Dubai Mall – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The world’s largest mall is also one of the most luxurious. Not a surprise, considering the excesses and luxury Dubai is famous for.
The Dubai Mall has a lot going for it. Aside from 1,200 shops, it’s also home to the Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre, the world’s largest candy store (Candylicious), a 76,0000-square-foot indoor theme park, and an ice rink. Also inside the mall is Reel Cinemas, which offers 22 screens, and KidZania, an interactive edutainment center. Oh, and let’s not forget the Dubai Fountain, which shoots water jets to a height of 500 feet and features 6,600 WET Superlights in 25 colors.
For those shopping, the Dubai Mall offers access to the world’s top brands, including Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, and Marks & Spencer.
The Grand Canal Shoppes – Las Vegas, USA
The only shopping center in this list that’s actually part of a hotel, The Shoppes at the Palazzo (formerly known as The Grand Canal Shoppes) is unique in more ways than one. For starters, this is a themed mall, where visitors can not only window shop, but where they can do so while pretending to walk around one of Italy’s most famous cities. Or take a ride on an Italian gondola while enjoying the street performers walking the surrounding cobblestone streets.
Compared to other luxury malls, the Shoppes is relatively small. It features just 91 spaces for shopping and dining, where you’ll find brands like Diane von Furstenburg, Dooney & Bourke, and Barneys New York. Despite its relatively small size, the Shoppes attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, who come here for the atmosphere and attractions such as The Sands Showroom and the shows and entertainment waiting to serenade you as you exit the shops.
Mall of the Emirates – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
With “just” over 700 stores, this is certainly not Dubai’s largest mall – but that doesn’t mean it’s any less luxurious. While the mall features many chances to shop and eat (it houses 90 cafes and restaurants), it is perhaps most famous for its Ski Dubai center, an indoor skiing facility. Aside from being the world’s largest indoor snow park, the center also offers five slopes, including the world’s first indoor black run and a chance to try tobogganing or snowboarding.
The Mall of the Emirates is also home to DUCTAC (Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre), a 14-screen multiplex cinema, and an indoor family entertainment center featuring a 4D theater, racing simulators, and a number of thrill rides.
The mall has been undergoing changes since September 2013, These include an expansion of the leasable area, new dining and café spots, and a larger parking space.
Canal City — Fukuoka, Japan
Just like the name indicates, Canal City is designed to look like a city built around canals. In this case, the buildings around the canals house shops, entertainment areas, and viewing areas. There are also plenty of fountains, water features, and curving sculptures, all designed to “trick” you into believing you’re in a natural space rather than in the center of a very busy city.
There’s a game center and a cinema here, as well as a music stadium, street comedic performances and even exotic art displays that include metal art and more. The entire fifth floor of the complex is known as Ramen Stadium and features a large number of booths selling all types of ramen noodles.
Okhotny Ryad Shopping Center – Moscow, Russia
The Okhotny Ryad Center is a shopping mall that defies explanation: a mix of old Russian design and decadent Western luxury where everything costs a small fortune. The hundred or so shops here feature all the popular luxury brands as well as some middle-ground ones – from Tommy Hillfiger to Yves Rocher and more.
The best part? The entire mall is built underground, so many tourists miss it – which means you might end up mixing with lots of locals when shopping here. The center stage of the mall is the giant troika fountain, which splashes visitors as they step into the mall. Plus, to make up for the lack of natural light, the mall features lots of stained glass domes and windows that open up towards the metro station — and showcase some of the best architectural design in Moscow.
Bawadi Mall – Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
The Emirates are home to some of the most luxurious shopping areas in the world, and the Bawadi Mall is no exception. While the 400 plus shops and restaurants here are impressive enough, it’s everything else the mall has to offer that makes this an awe-inspiring place.
For starters, Bawadi features a 16-lane bowling alley, a multi-screen cinema, a children’s play area, and an ice skating rink. There’s also a small indoor roller coaster and the mall is surrounded by the Heritage Villages theme park, where visitors can experience traditional UAE life, see Islamic architecture and shop for rugs and handicrafts.
Ala Moana Shopping Center – Honolulu, Hawaii
The worlds largest outdoor shopping center, Ala Moana has become a tourist attraction in its own right. Aside from the weekly farmer’s market and the almost 300 booths selling traditional Hawaiian products and foods, the mall also features an open-air stage where hula shows can be seen daily.
Too tired to carry your bags? Hope on the historical Ala Moana Shopping Trolley to travel between stores or to catch a ride to several locations around Waikiki.
Berjaya Times Square – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
For being one of Asia’s largest malls (7.5 million square-foot), Berjaya looks very Western. In fact, a large area of the mall is designed to mimic Fifth Avenue in New York City. There’s even a “pretend” subway station here for those who want to experience the magic of the “city that never sleeps.
While Berjaya’s 1000 retail stores are certainly impressive, it’s Berjaya Times Square Theme Park that has made this shopping center a legend. One of the largest indoor amusement parks in Asia, the park offers a looping roller coaster, a number of spinning rides, a walk-through haunted house, an Octopus ride and much more. There’s also an area called Fantasy Garden that caters to the younger members of the family.
Not enough? How about a giant musical staircase, a kids’ theater, a multi-screen cinema and a number of live events that take place throughout the mall.
Villagio – Doha, Qatar
The Villagio is another shopping center designed to look like you’re strolling through Venice, Italy. Just like in the Las Vegas mall, there are man-made canals and gondolas and street entertainment. In addition, though, Villagio also features separate areas to represent Venice at different times of the day – stroll this way for a magical morning peek of the city, then head the other way to see the splendor of Venice at night.
The mall’s Gondolania Theme Park is home to an indoor roller coaster as well as a water coaster, a 360-degree rotation ride, a Ferris wheel, a drop tower, and a dark ride. Visitors can also try the glow-in-the-dark bowling alley, or have some fun at the 4D cinema or the laser arena. Gondolania’s ice rink offers lessons, riding times and shows for all ages.
West Edmonton Mall — Edmonton, Canada
West Edmonton Mall ticks a few boxes: it’s one of the largest malls in the world and home to the world’s largest indoor water park. It also features the world’s largest wave pool, an 83-foot-high slide and a children’s play park area. Not enough? How about an indoor lake that’s home to four sea lions, an ice rink and an 18-hole miniature golf course?
West Edmonton Mall’s wonders don’t stop there. Visitors can also try the indoor shooting range, watch a movie, or spend some time at the Ed’s Recreation Centre, which houses a bowling alley, a music stage and arcade games. The indoor park GalaxyLand is home to 24 rides and attractions, including a triple-loop roller coaster, a 3D Theater and a number of thrill rides.
The mall even houses an inter-dominational chapel, where hundreds of couples have gotten married since the mall opened in 1981.