The Spectrum Metro Mall shopping center is an interesting place. It is of course not just a place to go shopping, but it has become a mufti-purpose place. Where people used to go shopping in downtown areas of cities, and go there for other activities as well, they now go to the mall. It has become a fixture of modern life, one of those things that we can’t imagine doing without. For a relatively modern development, the mall shopping center has been a successful idea that has made fortunes for developers, investors and retailers. What it has done for the average person is another story, but its importance in everyday life is huge, and the influence of the mall is everywhere.
It seems like the primary function of a mall these days is as a social space, a place for people of all ages to meet up, eat, talk, and generally hang out together. For young people, it’s the only place to get together and socialize. For others, the shopping center is a place to walk (mall walking is an established practice for older folks) and meet friends, but they have other social spaces like the church, the community center, and so on. But for the young crowd, it’s the mall or stay home.
Not only is the mall shopping center the gathering place, it’s entertainment – lots of people go there to escape boredom. They do this by window shopping, enjoying the food mart, and going to the movies – many theaters are connected to malls or even inside them. There’s something about the bright lights, the music, and the sights and smells that make the mall a great place to go for entertainment of all kinds.
Big shopping malls have become tourist attractions as another one of their many functions. The Galleria in Houston, Texas and the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota are examples in the United States, and similar mega-malls bring tourists to countries around the world. The sheer size of these places is the usual attraction, but of course they serve a purpose for shopping and other activities as well.
Mall shopping centers have become the homes of restaurants too, and not just in the food courts. Many restaurants cluster around the periphery of the mall, connected, adjacent, and on the outskirts of the parking lots. These days if you want to go out to eat at a chain restaurant or a local favorite, chances are you’ll be heading for the local big shopping center.