If you’ve ever stepped inside a mega-mall, you know what an overwhelming experience it can be. After all, these enormous malls are like small communities; they offer a wide range of services in a single space.
Shopping is just a small part of the experience – visitors come to dine, meet friends, and experience some of the world’s most exciting entertainment.
The biggest malls in the world defy traditional size expectations. The largest, the Iran Mall, has 15 million square feet of gross leasable area (GLA) – that’s nearly three times the size of the Mall of America.
The majority of the world’s mega-malls are located in Asia. Bangkok, Thailand, has six; China and the Philippines both have five. The Americas, by contrast, have just three.
Table of Contents
- The Biggest Malls in the World
- 1. Iran Mall: 15,000,000 sq ft (1,450,000 m²)
- 2. South China Mall: 7,100,000 sq ft (659,612 m²)
- 3. SM Mall of Asia: 6,349,530 sq ft (589,891 m²)
- 4. SM Tianjin: 6,080,000 sq ft (565,000 m²)
- 5. Golden Resources Mall: 6,000,010 sq ft (557,419 m²)
- 6. CentralPlaza WestGate: 5,923,140 sq ft (550,278 m²)
- 7. CentralWorld: 5,900,000 sq ft (550,000 m²)
- 8. ICONSIAM: 5,650,000 sq ft (525,000 m²)
- 9. Mall of America: 5,600,000 sq ft (520,257 m²)
- 10. 1 Utama: 5,590,000 sq ft (519,328 m²)
- 11. SM City North EDSA: 5,351,960 sq ft (497,213 m²)
- 12. Global Harbor: 5,200,000 sq ft (480,000 m²)
- 13. SM Megamall: 5,100,000 sq ft (474,000 m²)
- 14. SM Seaside City Cebu: 5,064,270 sq ft (470,486 m²)
- 15. Isfahan City Center: 5,010,000 sq ft (465,000 m²)
- 16. Persian Gulf Complex: 4,800,000 sq ft (450,000 m²)
- 17. Central Phuket: 4,500,000 sq ft (420,000 m²)
- 18. The Avenues Mall: 4,300,000 sq ft (400,000 m²)
- 19. New Century Global Center: 4,300,000 sq ft (400,000 m²)
- 20. Dream Mall: 4,300,000 sq ft (400,000 m²)
- 21. Siam Paragon: 4,300,000 sq ft (400,000 m²)
- 22. Festival Alabang: 4,300,000 sq ft (400,000 m²)
- 23. Sunway Pyramid: 4,260,000 sq ft (396,000 m²)
- 24. Lotte World Mall: 4,127,600 sq ft (383,470 m²)
- 25. Jamuna Future Park: 4,100,000 sq ft (380,000 m²)
- 26. Albrook Mall: 4,100,000 sq ft (380,000 m²)
- 27. Mal Taman Anggrek: 3,900,000 sq ft (360,000 m²)
- 28. Fashion Island (Thailand): 3,800,000 sq ft (350,000 m²)
- 29. West Edmonton Mall: 3,800,000 sq ft (350,000 m²)
- 30. The Dubai Mall: 3,800,000 sq ft (350,000 m²)
The Biggest Malls in the World
With a GLA of 15,000,000 square feet, Iran Mall is the biggest shopping mall in the world. This remarkable, multi-use shopping center features seven floors and more than 2,500 stores. That’s just the start – the owner, Aydandesh Bank, has plans to expand the mall even further.
Iran Mall is located in Chitgar Lake, a suburb on the northwest side of Tehran. People come from around the country to explore a traditional-style market, an elegant roof garden, and a spectacular hall of mirrors.
This mall is designed for more than just shopping; you can book a room in the on-site hotel and try the many restaurants. While you’re at it, check out the movie theater, ice rink, and bowling alley.
When it was first built in 2005, the South China Mall seemed like an impressive feat. It offered more than 7 million square feet of space and room for more than 2,350 stores. However, for more than a decade after it opened, the mall was practically empty.
Part of the reason for the mall’s initial failure was its location. It sits in the city of Dongguan, where residents have moderate or low incomes. Locals started calling it the “ghost mall.”
Eventually, the owner renovated the space and started attracting retail and dining outlets. Today, the space boasts seven themed areas and a huge variety of shops, entertainment venues, and restaurants.
Head to the city of Pasay in the Philippines to check out the SM Mall of Asia. This enormous space opened in 2006 and offers more than 1,000 stores in four separate buildings. Set on the outskirts of Manila, this mall is a popular destination for locals and tourists.
Like other enormous shopping malls, the SM Mall of Asia offers much more than retail therapy. Watch a basketball game at the on-site stadium, or catch a movie in the IMAX movie theater. If the heat of the Philippines feels overwhelming, drop by the ice rink for an afternoon of skating.
This mall is so big that it’s become a social hub. People come from across the city to spend hours here with friends.
SM Tianjin was built with one goal: to be among the biggest shopping malls in the world. It succeeded – this 2,500-store mall spreads across more than 6 million square feet in Tianjin, China.
You’ll note that the name of this mall is similar to SM Mall of Asia; that’s because both buildings are owned by the same company. SM (Supermalls) Prime Holdings, a Filipino-Chinese company, is taking over the mega-mall category in Asia.
SM Tianjin stands out because of its unique design, which features four overlapping, oval-shaped buildings. Tucked inside, you’ll find fountains, restaurants, and shopping to spare.
Beijing is one of the biggest cities in the world, so it makes sense that it’s home to one of the biggest malls. The Golden Resources Mall was the world’s biggest when it opened in 2004 but was quickly outranked by the South China Mall.
This enormous mall was a disappointment when it first opened. At that time, local residents didn’t have the disposable income to accommodate the high-priced goods. As the local economy has improved over the past two decades, however, the mall has become increasingly popular.
Today, there are more than 1,000 stores inside the mall. Visitors can shop, eat, and go to the movies without leaving the building.
Bangkok is known for its unusually high concentration of shopping malls. The biggest of the bunch is CentralPlaza WestGate, which is located in the suburb of Nonthaburi. Since its grand opening in 2015, this spot has become a gathering place for shoppers and casual visitors.
Until 2017, CentralPlaza WestGate was the second-largest mall in Bangkok. That all changed when a huge IKEA store opened its doors, adding more than 540,000 square feet of shopping space.
In true mega-mall style, this shopping center is packed with things to do. You can work out at the gym, refuel in the Food Park, and spend the evening at the WestGate Cineplex. More than 1,000 stores offer something for everyone.
CentralWorld is one of the most popular shopping malls in Bangkok. It’s also one of the biggest, with 5.9 million square feet of space. Located in the center of the city, this spot is easy to access by train, bus, or car.
From the outside, CentralWorld looks like any standard shopping center in Asia. Once you get inside, however, you’ll discover eight floors surrounding a towering central atrium.
The 600 stores – including a large Apple Store – are just part of the fun at CentralWorld. The mall is also home to an ice-skating rink, a large food court, a movie theater, and a grocery store. You’ll also find a hotel, offices, and a convention center.
When it comes to luxury, it’s hard to beat ICONSIAM. The majority of this 5.6-million square foot mall is dedicated to high-end brands, including Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Bottega Veneta. Two upscale apartment buildings rise from the mall, offering immediate access to shopping.
When ICONSIAM opened in 2018, its elegant interior and over-the-top design made a splash in Bangkok. Today, it’s a hub for entertainment, thanks to its hotel and an array of the city’s best restaurants.
Part of this shopping mall’s appeal is its location. Travelers can reach the entrance by metro, sky train, or car. The mall even has its own dock for private boats and Bangkok’s public ferry system.
The Mall of America is the biggest shopping mall in North America. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it covers 5.6 million square feet. In fact, a single loop around the mall is more than 1 mile long.
The mall is one of Minneapolis-St. Paul’s biggest tourist attractions. Stay at an adjacent hotel, and you’ll be steps from 500+ stores, a movie theater, and a wide range of restaurants. The mall also hosts more than 400 events every year.
The star of the show is the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, which sits in an atrium in the center of the complex. When you’re done riding roller coasters, check out the mall’s aquarium, movie theater, or comedy venue.
Located west of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, 1 Utama serves the densely populated Petaling Jaya area. In keeping with the tradition of shopping malls in Asia, it offers 5.59 million square feet of space and more than 700 stores.
This mall has been around for a long time. The first phase opened in 1995; 1 Utama expanded in 2003 and 2018. Today, it’s something like a small city – there’s even a dedicated bus station with connections to points around Malaysia and Singapore.
Inside 1 Utama, you’ll find a variety of unique features. Satisfy your craving for American fast food and walk off the calories in the rainforest.
SM City North EDSA is another shopping mall owned by SM Prime Holdings. Like the SM Mall of Asia, this mall is located in the greater Manila area in the Philippines. It boasts 5.3 million square feet of leasable area.
Visit the mall’s Quezon City location, and you’ll find 40 acres of shopping, parking, dining, and entertainment. The goal of the mall is to be a one-stop destination for visitors’ needs. After you pick up everything you need, stay for a round of bowling or a workout.
SM City North EDSA has been around since 1985 and has continued to grow and evolve. It was renovated fully between 2006 and 2009 and now offers state-of-the-art facilities.
Set in Shanghai, China, Global Harbor opened in 2013. More than 1,000 stores occupy 5.2 million square feet of space, and two tall buildings rise above the shopping center.
Global Harbor is a popular spot for Shanghai Instagrammers – the interior features spectacular glass domes, grand architecture, and plenty of over-the-top decorations. A set of standard Chinese and Western stores sell everything from clothing to electronics.
Shoppers love Global Harbor in part because of its convenience. The Jinshajiang Road Station is adjacent to the mall, so it’s easy to reach in all types of weather.
Are you starting to see a trend? The SM Megamall is another SM Prime Holdings-owned facility in the Manila metro area. This supersized shopping mall is the smallest of the bunch, with 5.1 million square feet.
You’d never classify this mall as “small,” however – it’s a massive complex that takes up 25 acres of space. Inside, you can attend a church service, dine on French pastries, or even get a passport.
If shopping is your thing, the mall’s Mega Fashion Hall should be your first stop. Here, you’ll find the usual international chains, including H&M, as well as a number of independently owned shops. Refuel at a restaurant and make sure to check out the many public art installations.
SM Prime Holdings expanded into Cebu in the Philippines in 2015 with the SM Seaside City Cebu shopping mall. Construction took four years. Today, the mall houses more than 700 stores.
Shopping is an afterthought for many Filipinos and tourists who visit Seaside. It’s easy to see why – the mall has an ice rink, multiple movie theaters, and a bowling alley. You can also catch a concert in the upcoming arena or take the elevator to the mall’s observation platform to see the view.
As its name suggests, SM Seaside City is located on the ocean. The building is round, with a tall tower in the center.
Travel to Isfahan, Iran, to visit the massive Isfahan City Center. Built in 2012, this shopping mall is one of the country’s prime retail centers. It spans 5 million square feet and offers 750 stores.
Plan a full day when visiting Isfahan City Center – you’ll need it. Stop by the museum, book a night in the hotel, and stock up on groceries. The highlight of the mall is the on-site amusement park, which is one of the biggest in the region.
Inside Isfahan City Center, you’ll find an ultra-modern experience. The architecture is sleek and streamlined, and the seasonal displays are opulent. If you need fresh air, the outdoor plaza has plenty of places to relax.
Located about 300 miles from the Isfahan City Center, the Persian Gulf Complex is another of Iran’s largest shopping malls. It’s only slightly smaller, with 4.8 million square feet of retail space.
The Persian Gulf Complex is all about entertainment. Take a ride at the amusement park or get in a workout at the pool or tennis courts. Like most mega-malls, this center also offers a bowling alley, movie theater, and a massive parking deck.
You don’t need to drive to get to this mall; if you can afford it, simply hop in a helicopter and head for the on-site landing area.
Phuket is one of Thailand’s biggest tourist destinations. To accommodate the large crowds that descend upon the island, a developer built the Central Phuket shopping mall. With 800 shops, it’s a hub for locals and visitors.
Central Phuket was built in two phases. The first, the Festival building, opened in 2004. In 2018, the mall added the Floresta building to create additional space. You can travel between the two on moving sidewalks.
As you might expect of a mall in a major tourist area, Central Phuket offers plenty to do. Explore the aquarium, take a ride in the theme park, or enjoy treatments at the on-site spa.
Shopping malls are an important part of the social scene in the Middle East; the extreme heat forces people to gather indoors. In Kuwait, one of the most important malls is The Avenues Mall in Al-Rai. Since 2006, this spot has delighted locals with 4.3 million square feet of fun.
The Avenues Mall wasn’t always as large as it is today. To maximize revenue, the developer built the facility in four different phases. The most recent section opened in 2018.
Although this shopping mall is fully enclosed, parts of it are designed to simulate an outdoor experience. Head to the Grand Avenue to walk down a paved, tree-lined street. For a unique day of shopping, visit the Grand Plaza, which is designed to look like an adorable town square.
With its grand, sloping roof and towing glass walls, the New Century Global Center is an architectural masterpiece. Located in Chengdu, China, it’s one of the city’s biggest claims to fame.
When visiting the New Century Global Center, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an international destination. Part of the mall is designed to resemble a town on the Mediterranean; another features an indoor waterpark with a sandy beach. Elsewhere in the mall, you can go ice skating or attend a concert.
The New Century Global Center opened in 2013, offering 4.3 million square feet of space. Retail outlets quickly rented spots, and soon, shoppers were able to explore more than 2,300 stores.
If you happen to be in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, don’t miss the spectacular Dream Mall. The largest shopping center in the country, this stunning mall is oriented around a central atrium. It offers 2,300 shops spread out across 4.3 million square feet.
One of the mall’s most recognizable features is the Kaohsiung Eye, an enormous Ferris wheel that sits on top of the roof. Hop in one of the gondolas to see spectacular views across the city.
Dream Mall is a breeze to access, thanks to the nearby subway station. To get there, take the train to Kaisyuan Station.
Siam Paragon is one of the biggest and busiest shopping malls in Bangkok, Thailand. Thanks to its ideal location, it’s an important spot for events, entertainment, and celebrations throughout the year.
Two BTS Skytrain lines stop next to Siam Paragon, so you can walk directly into the mall. Inside, you’ll find everything from street food stands to high-end designer boutiques. Head up the escalators to find the large movie theater complex.
Families with kids flock to Siam Paragon to explore the aquarium, while music lovers come for the opera theater. A few steps away, you can explore two additional malls, which offer more shopping and dining opportunities.
Located in Alabang in the Philippines, the Festival Alabang shopping mall is a sight to behold. It’s an all-in-one destination for everything you might need: groceries, clothing, take-out food, and entertainment. If that’s not enough, you can also check out two theme parks or admire the water garden.
Festival Alabang is known for its statement-making displays. One part of the mall features a carousel with two stories. In another area, a small train travels along the lower level.
If you’re more interested in shopping than roller coasters, you’re in luck. The mall is home to 2,000+ stores, including international and Filipino brands.
Sunway Pyramid opened in 1997 and instantly became famous. The reason? At the time, it was home to Malaysia’s only ice rink.
While this Petaling Jaya shopping mall no longer maintains this claim to fame – the country now has several other ice rinks – it’s still a popular destination. After two expansion projects, it now offers 4.2 million square feet and more than 800 stores.
Sunway Pyramid is decorated in an Egyptian style. As you enter, you’ll walk under the Sphinx and into a giant pyramid. Inside, explore multiple shopping areas, enjoy the many restaurants, or simply gaze over the railing at the skaters below.
Lotte World Mall is located in Seoul, South Korea. Owned by the Lotte Group, this unusual mall features multiple floors oriented around a central tower. It’s known for its artistic, curving escalators and ultra-modern design.
Step inside the Lotte World Mall, and you’ll discover all the brands you’d expect in a major international shopping center. This complex offers a particularly good array of global brands, including Lululemon and H&M.
Although its initial construction was plagued by delays, the Lotte World Mall is thriving. In addition to shopping, it contains a concert hall, a hotel, an aquarium, and a cinema.
Set in the densely populated city of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Jamuna Future Park offers a stark contrast to the crowded city streets. True to its name, this mall is sleek and futuristic. Here, you’ll find seven floors of fun.
With 4.1 million square feet of leasable area, Jamuna Future Park has plenty to offer. Start with five floors of shopping; then, watch a movie, sing karaoke, or go bowling. If you’re in need of a workout, the mall offers a swimming pool and gym.
If you’re bringing the family, head outdoors – a huge amusement park offers roller coasters, kids’ rides, and more.
Next to the Mall of America, the Albrook Mall is the second-largest shopping mall in North and South America. It opened in 2002 in Panama City, Panama. With just two stories, this mall covers a great deal of ground; in fact, it was built on the site of a former military base.
The Albrook Mall is one of Panama City’s top attractions, thanks to its size and proximity to the Panama Canal. In addition to world-class shopping, visitors can check out the kids’ amusement area or head to one of several fitness centers.
Head to Jakarta, Indonesia, to visit the Mal Taman Anggrek shopping mall. Built in 1996, this mall has 3.9 million square feet of art, shopping, dining, and event spaces. It’s sandwiched between a variety of residential buildings, ensuring that the halls are busy at all times.
When you shop at Mal Taman Anggrek, you’ll find a wide collection of Indonesian stores and international chains. Uniqlo and Ace Hardware both have stores in the mall, and you can also shop at Forever 21 and Levi’s.
Once you’re done shopping, try skating at Skyrink Jakarta, or grab a coffee at one of the many restaurants.
Many of Bangkok’s mega-malls are magnets for tourists, but Fashion Island stands alone. Since it’s located in the northwest corner of the Bangkok metro area, this mall caters mainly to local residents. It’s relatively small, with an area of just 3.8 million square feet and 300 stores.
Fashion Island is one of the city’s more modest spots; it caters to mid-market consumers. Some of the major chains include Supersports and Big C Supercenter. Shoppers can also check out the movie theater, food court, and kids’ area.
If you visit Fashion Island, you might notice the closed amusement park and monorail. They both shut down in 2002 after an accidental fire caused a loss of life.
The West Edmonton Mall is one of just three malls in the global “top 30.” It’s also the oldest – this Canadian mall opened in 1981 in Edmonton, Alberta. Since then, it’s provided residents with an impressive 800 stores and 3.8 million square feet of space.
Locals flock to the West Edmonton Mall year-round; in the winter, they come to escape the city’s legendary cold weather. Inside, you’ll find an amusement park, an ice rink, a waterpark, and a mini-golf course. You can also try go-karting or escape rooms.
The Dubai Mall might be the smallest on our list, but it’s also one of the most impressive. It’s a hub for social events and entertainment in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Allow plenty of time for a visit to The Dubai Mall – you’ll need it to explore the haunted house, attend the Dubai Opera, or marvel at the sea creatures in the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. Exercise in the Zabeel Sports District, go ice skating, or spend hours in the VR Park.
With 1,200 stores and 3.8 million square feet of space to explore, the Dubai Mall is an impressive feat of engineering. The entire space is air-conditioned, so it’s often busy with people seeking to get out of the desert heat.