Today's Shopping Malls Provide Services Like WiFi and Entertainment Along With Shopping
Once popular weekend hangouts for the whole family, indoor shopping malls lost favor to strip shopping centers several years ago. Shopping malls still exist in many cities, however, and they have all of yesterday’s advantages plus some new ones.
Malls may be out of fashion, but they’re doing what they can to make a comeback by offering new amenities and improved experiences for their shoppers. Here are seven reasons you might want to go to a mall instead of to a strip center.
1. Surf the web with free wi-fi. Food courts and other seating areas in some malls now provide free wireless Internet connections. Grab a bite, surf the web and watch the people, all from one location. Malls added this service to compete with nearby fast-food restaurants that now offer wi-fi, but everyone benefits from their attempts to keep up with their neighbors.
2. Burn off some energy with clean, free play areas for the kids. Many shopping malls now feature a “kid’s court” -- a playground for children. These are usually safely enclosed to keep away predators and discourteous, fast-moving shoppers and are much more frequently cleaned than outdoor play areas. Some malls even have paid attractions like mini-trains that travel the halls of the mall.
3. Find services as well as shopping. Attempting to fill spaces that retailers no longer want, many malls have branched out. Expect to find jewelry repair shops, hair salons, spas and massage therapists alongside name-brand retail. Check your nearest mall to see which services you can get while you’re on a shopping spree.
4. Park your car only once. Shopping malls were created to allow customers to find everything under one roof and from one parking spot. Park once, then enjoy the stroll through heated and air-conditioned halls instead of along sidewalks subject to the elements.
5. Enjoy comfortable seating. Malls realize that their long corridors tire some visitors, so many of them now have comfortable seating areas with sofas and plush chairs throughout their facilities. Malls are also a great place to go on extremely hot or cold days if you don’t have adequate air or heat in your home. Just move around occasionally. Loitering may still be banned.
6. Watch for events. Fashion shows, children’s programs and parking lot carnivals are among the attractions some malls offer to bring in new visitors. Most offer several events a month, so ask at the customer service desk for a calendar.
7. Get some exercise, too. Mall walking isn’t something only senior citizens do. Check your local shopping malls at any hour. You’ll find men and women of all ages very literally pacing the corridors. They’re exercise walkers, and they choose malls because they’re clean, safe and climate-controlled.
Every mall is different, but the one near you may have even more unexpected perks. If you have more than one near you, visit them all. Some put more effort into providing amenities than others.
While those newer strip shopping center and quaintly-organized town centers look nice and have some advantages -- for example, parking close to a favorite store -- visiting several stores can be more difficult than at a mall because you have to move your car or navigate crowded and dangerous parking lots on foot.
Skip the strip center and visit a shopping mall the next time you’re looking for a few hours away from home. You may find a day’s worth of under-one-roof entertainment for the whole family.