Inside the biggest malls in the world

a view of a city next to a body of water

SM City North EDSA (Quezon City, Philippines)

Many shopping malls around the world go beyond their primary function and offer more than just stores. Shoppers can now enjoy movie theatres, skating rinks, roller-coasters, and even zoos in addition to the hundreds—sometimes thousands—of shops. Here’s a roundup of the 20 most impressive shopping malls in the world.

a car parked on the side of a building

New South China Mall (Dongguan, People’s Republic of China)

Opened to the public in 2005 in Dongguan, on the outskirts of Beijing, the biggest shopping mall in the world (in terms of gross leasable space) was abandoned for nearly a decade, during which time its occupancy rate was less than 10%, earning it the classification of a “dead mall.” But recently, investors have been breathing new life into the mall. Highlights include a giant Egyptian sphinx outside the complex and a 25-metre-tall (82-foot-tall) replica of the Arc de Triomphe alongside fountains and canals complete with Venetian gondolas. There’s even an indoor roller-coaster and an IMAX movie theatre.

a living room filled with furniture and a large window

West Edmonton Mall (Edmonton, Canada)

Inspired by the traditional urban bazaars of Persia, the West Edmonton Mall is a place where people come to shop, play, and stay. The mall spans 490,000 square metres (5.3 million square feet), the size of a small city, and is home to more than 800 stores, an amusement park with more than 24 rides and attractions, a skating rink, a waterpark, two hotels, and over 100 restaurants. It even features a zoo, a golf course, and an ice palace! All told, it’s the biggest shopping mall in North America and the No. 1 tourist attraction in the province of Alberta.

food, inside the biggest malls in the world

Hong Kong Times Square (Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China)

This shopping mall occupies 16 floors with some 230 shops, 10 restaurants, and a variety of entertainment venues. Every month, numerous exhibitions and special events are held at Hong Kong Times Square, including art exhibits, cultural programs, movie promotions, charity events, and product launches. And every year, a big New Year’s Eve celebration is held at the mall.

a sign in front of a building

The Dubai Mall (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

With its 1,300 shops spread over 548,000 square metres (5.9 million square feet), the Dubai Mall is the world’s most-visited retail and entertainment destination, welcoming over 80 million visitors a year. The mall offers an unbeatable selection of activities, including an amusement park, one of the biggest aquariums in the world—featuring a glass walkthrough tunnel—an Olympic-sized skating rink, two five-star hotels, a movie multiplex, and some 200 coffee shops and restaurants, including several high-end options.

a close up of a green door

Elements (Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China)

This mall is divided into five zones inspired by the five elements of traditional Chinese culture: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. The decor of each zone is inspired by the element it’s based on. Elements houses 123 stores, including 58 clothing shops, as well as Hong Kong’s biggest movie theatre—seating 1,600—a skating rink with a panoramic view of the water, and art exhibitions showcasing works by famous artists such as Andy Warhol.

food, inside the biggest malls in the world

Mall of the Emirates (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Luxury spanning more than 233,000 square metres (2.5 million square feet)! Featuring over 630 brand-name boutiques, the Mall of the Emirates is perfect for families with its theme park and indoor ski hill, as well as more than 100 restaurants and cafés to choose from.

a group of people performing on stage in front of a building

Although its over 350 international boutiques and 50 restaurants spanning nine floors are a big draw, the main attractions at New Town Plaza are the entertainment options. This Hong Kong shopping mall boasts a three-floor shopping arcade, an outdoor playground called Snoopy’s World, a boating canal, a rooftop garden, musical fountains, and a state-of-the-art movie complex.

food, inside the biggest malls in the world

Siam Paragon (Bangkok, Thailand)

The second-biggest shopping mall in Thailand, after CentralWorld, is Siam Paragon, which features tons of specialty stores and restaurants, plus an opera concert hall, a luxury hotel, an art gallery, a cinema, a large bowling alley, the Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World aquarium, and a karaoke centre.

food, inside the biggest malls in the world

Cevahir Mall (Istanbul, Turkey)

Covering an impressive 344,000 square metres (3.47 million square feet), Cevahir Mall is the biggest shopping centre in Europe. The complex opened in 2005 and is home to 48 restaurants and more than 200 stores spread across six floors. The mall also has a 12 movie theatres, roller-coasters, a bowling alley, plus an enormous stage where a variety of major shows are held.

a large building

King of Prussia (Pennsylvania, United States)

It may be one of the oldest shopping malls on this list, but King of Prussia, which opened in 1963 and spans 279,000 square metres (three million square feet), is currently the biggest mall in the United States. The centre attracts some 22 million visitors a year to its 450 stores, which include many high-end shops such as Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and Nordstrom.

a store inside of Berjaya Times Square Theme Park

Berjaya Times Square (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Consisting of twin towers with a combined surface area of 697,000 square metres (7.5 million square feet), this mall houses over 1,000 stores, 65 restaurants, and two five-star hotels. The shopping centre boasts Asia’s biggest indoor theme park, Cosmo’s World, and the first IMAX 2D and 3D cinema in Malaysia. It’s also the fifth-largest building in the world.

a view of a city at night

CentralWorld (Bangkok, Thailand)

Thailand’s biggest shopping complex, CentralWorld, opened in 1990 and features clothing boutiques, bookshops, furniture stores, import grocery stores, banks, beauty salons, restaurants, a skating rink, and a rooftop terrace, all spread across eight floors. In May 2010, CentralWorld was set on fire by antigovernment protesters, but, after months of repairs, the complex finally reopened and seems more popular than ever.

food, inside the biggest malls in the world

SM Megamall (Manila, Philippines)

Located in two main buildings—one housing a foodcourt, bowling alley, Toy Kingdom, and cinemas, while the other is mainly for clothing boutiques—SM Megamall opened in 1991 and draws nearly one million visitors a day, with a maximum capacity of four million people.

a display in a store window

Morocco Mall (Casablanca, Morocco)

This shopping mall spans 70,000 square metres (753,000 square feet) across three levels and boasts 350 retail spaces and 600 brands. Morocco Mall features an IMAX cinema, a 6D projection theatre, musical fountains, the theme park Adventureland, a skating rink, and a gigantic aquarium that is home to over 40 different species of fish and can be explored via a panoramic elevator that can hold up to 12 people. This mall is pretty much the opposite of the traditional souks that Morocco is famous for!

a group of people performing on a counter

SM Mall of Asia (Manila, Philippines)

Inaugurated in 2006, this complex consists of four buildings interconnected by walkways and a 20-seat tram that shuttles visitors from one end of the mall to the other. The main attraction is the IMAX theatre featuring one of the biggest 3D screens in the world. SM Mall of Asia is also home to an Olympic-sized skating rink that can host figure skating competitions and ice hockey. The mall welcomes more than 200,000 people every day.

a car that has a sign on the side of a building

Golden Resources Shopping Mall (Beijing, People’s Republic of China)

With more than 1,000 stores spread across 560,000 square metres (six million square feet) and six floors, China’s Golden Resources Shopping Mall is one-and-a-half times bigger than the largest shopping mall in the United States. Inaugurated in 2005, the mall is also known as the “Great Mall of China”. Although it got off to a rough start due to accessibility issues, since the opening of subway Line 10 (and soon Line 12), the mall’s popularity has skyrocketed.

a view of a city next to a body of water

SM City North EDSA (Quezon City, Philippines)

SM City North EDSA opened in 1985, but has seen several expansions and renovations since then, including a new Annex building in 2008 and the Sky Garden, inaugurated in May 2009, with its main feature, the Sky Dome, a 1,500-seat events venue with a floor area of 10,000 square metres (110,000 square feet). Today, it is the largest shopping mall in the Philippines and the eighth-largest in the world, with a retail floor area of 497,000 square metres (5.3 million square feet). The mall includes a bowling alley, a foodcourt, a 12-theatre cinema, a supermarket, and 820 specialty stores.

a close up of a laptop

Isfahan City Center (Isfahan, Iran)

Spread across four floors, Isfahan City Center spans approximately 465,500 square metres (five million square feet) and consists of a modern shopping mall with 750 stores, a museum, a five-star hotel, a cinema complex, and an amusement park.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd

ICONSIAM (Bangkok, Thailand)

Brand-new and beautiful, this shopping mall that opened in November 2018 and cost US$1.65 billion was named the Icon of Eternal Prosperity. With 525,000 square metres (5.6 million square feet) of commercial space, ICONSIAM is now Thailand’s biggest shopping mall. But it’s actually a multipurpose venue that also houses a 3,000-seat auditorium, a stunning 400-metre-long (1,300-foot-long) multimedia water feature, hundreds of international restaurants, and private residences.

a group of people in a store with Nickelodeon Universe in the background

Mall of America (Bloomington, United States)

The second-largest shopping mall in the United States (after King of Prussia) was inaugurated in 1992 and is located in the suburbs of Minneapolis. It has a retail area that spans 258,000 square metres (2.8 million square feet), the equivalent of seven Yankee Stadiums, and includes the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park in its centre. The rest of the space is divided among 500 stores, 14 movie theatres, some 50 restaurants (including the very first Rainforest Cafe in 1994), eight nightclubs—and a chapel! The mall attracts 40 million visitors a year and generates nearly US$2 billion in economic impact each year for the state.

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