Fashion square mall movies
For most Americans, it’s just not the holidays without a mall visit. Chicago-area Woodfield prepped weeks before the Black Friday shopping blitz, debuting an Ice Palace with a light show and Santa photo-ops.
After all, its parking lots are crowded whatever the season. Woodfield gets 27 million annual visitors—more than any other Illinois attraction (only 8.69 million make it to Chicago’s Navy Pier). A heady mix of shopping, eating, and entertainment options has turned malls across the U.S. into similar tourism magnets and coined the phrase “destination malls.”
The 20 most-visited shopping malls range from pioneering Mall of America in Minnesota—ranked No. 1 with a staggering 40 million annual visitors—to upscale NorthPark Center, which displays rotating works by artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and hosts events during the Dallas International Film Festival.
“Shopping centers and malls, especially large enclosed malls, are increasingly attempting to become something more than just a place for the distribution of goods,” says Jesse Tron of the International Council of Shopping Centers, a nonprofit that monitors the global mall industry. “This trend has increased industry-wide coming out of the recession.”
Sure, nearly every large mall has a movie complex and food court these days. But what was cutting edge 20 years ago is now old hat, as malls up the ante on their extras. According to Tama Shor, publisher of the Directory of Major Malls, which compiles data on more than 7,200 malls and shopping centers in the U.S. and Canada, ice rinks within malls used to be a big deal, but no longer.
“Malls have gotten much more creative,” says Shor. “They’ve taken what used to be traditional retail space and turned it into gymnastics studios, playhouses, trampoline places, you name it. All of these things generate revenues, and the hope is that many of the people who come for other reasons will make purchases in the more traditional retail stores.”
Among the more innovative additions are an indoor reptile zoo at Gurnee Mills near Chicago, a permanent catwalk for fashion shows (and Santa’s arrival) at Fashion Show in Las Vegas, an indoor tennis club at the Houston Galleria, and the massive new aquarium (nurturing more than 10,000 sea creatures) at the Mall of America.
And developers are thinking even bigger. The 3-million-square-foot American Dream Meadowlands mall is under construction in northern New Jersey with ambitious plans for an indoor ski/snowboard slope, a skydive simulator, and full-scale amusement and water parks.
Chances are these 20 most-visited shopping malls will gear up for the competition.
Methodology: We obtained the latest Directory of Major Malls list of the top 50 largest enclosed malls in the United States and set out to determine annual visitor numbers.
Some mall owners were glad to share their latest data; others either refused or said they don’t keep track of how many people come through their doors. In cases where we couldn’t get the data directly from the malls, we used alternative sources including chambers of commerce, newspapers, advertising agencies, and tourism websites. Given that people don’t purchase tickets to a mall, all of the annual visitation numbers are estimates no matter what the source.
We focused on traditional enclosed malls, avoiding outlet malls as well as unconventional designs like the open-air Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, which attracts roughly 42 million visitors per year, and Chesterfield Commons near St. Louis, considered the most popular strip mall, with about 10 million annual visitors.
1 of 30 iStockphoto
No. 1 Mall of America, Bloomington, MN
2 of 30 Courtesy Aventura Mall
No. 2 Aventura Mall, Aventura, FL
3 of 30 Courtesy Del Amo Fashion Center
No. 3 Del Amo Fashion Center, Torrance, CA
4 of 30 Courtesy of Woodfield Mall
No. 4 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, IL
5 of 30 Courtesy Sawgrass Mills
No. 5 Sawgrass Mills, Sunrise, FL
6 of 30 Courtesy King of Prussia Mall
No. 6 King of Prussia Mall, King of Prussia, PA
7 of 30 Courtesy Houston Galleria
No. 7 Houston Galleria, Houston
8 of 30 Railyn Mest
No. 8 Palisades Center, West Nyack, NY
9 of 30 Courtesy Gunree Mills
No. 9 Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, IL
10 of 30 Courtesy of Tysons Corner Center
No. 10 Tysons Corner Center, McLean, VA
11 of 30 Courtesy Roosevelt Field Mall
No. 11 Roosevelt Field Mall, Garden City, NY
12 of 30 Courtesy South Coast Plaza
No. 11 South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, CA
13 of 30 Courtesy NorthPark Center
No. 13 NorthPark Center, Dallas
14 of 30 Courtesy of Carousel Center
No. 14 Carousel Center, Syracuse, NY
15 of 30 Courtesy of Crossgates Mall
No.14 Crossgates Mall, Albany, NY
16 of 30 Courtesy of Hanes Mall
No. 14 Hanes Mall, Winston-Salem, NC
17 of 30 Courtesy of Westfield Garden State Mall
No. 14 Westfield Garden State, Paramus, NJ
18 of 30 Courtesy of Walden Galleria Mall
No. 18 Walden Galleria, Cheektowaga, NY
19 of 30 Philip Greenspun
No.19 Natick Mall,Natick,MA
20 of 30 Courtesy Lakewood Center
No. 20 Lakewood Center, Lakewood, CA
21 of 30 Courtesy of Memorial City Mall, Houston
No. 20Memorial City Mall,Houston
22 of 30 Courtesy of Mall of Georgia
No.22Mall of Georgia,Buford,GA
23 of 30 Courtesy Fashion Show
No. 23 Fashion Show, Las Vegas
24 of 30 Courtesy Darrylee Cohen / Scottsdale Fashion Square
No. 24 Scottsdale Fashion Square, Scottsdale, AZ
25 of 30 Getty Images
No.25 Freehold Raceway Mall, Freehold,NJ
26 of 30 Courtesy of Town Center Mall
No.26Town Center at Boca Raton, Boca Raton, FL
27 of 30 Courtesy of Yorktown Center
28 of 30 David L. Moore - Washington / Alamy
No.28Westfield Southcenter, Tukwila, WA
29 of 30 Courtesy of Northland Center
No.29Northland Shopping Center, Southfield, MI
30 of 30 Railyn Mest