HOLIDAYS are a time to kick back and relax, but also to treat yourself.
And if you love to shop ’til you drop, there’s no better break than one where you can bring a few bargains back in your suitcase.
Even better if you’re near a mega mall, the world’s best places to shop.
They’re more than just shopping centres, hosting everything imaginable, from theme parks to indoor ski slopes.
With rollercoasters whizzing by or sharks looking on as you scope out some new sneakers, these impressive buildings are just as much of a draw for visitors as the shops themselves.
We bring you 10 of the world’s largest, quirkiest shopping centres…
West Edmonton Mall, Canada
From a haunted house to a lake with live sea lions, this Canadian centre boasts 800 shops and plenty of eateries. In fact, it spans the equivalent of 48 city blocks.
Among the more unusual additions are the world’s largest indoor triple-loop roller coaster and the largest indoor water park in the world. There’s also a petting zoo, an indoor lake, a full size replica of Christopher Columbus’s Santa Maria and several night clubs. It’s like the Mount Everest of entertainment.
Mall of America, Minnesota
This Minnesota mall, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, has more than 500 shops in 4.2million sq ft of space – and gets more visitors each year than any other mall in the world.
As well as department stores like Macy’s and Sears, there are plenty of quirky shops, like the Lego store where you can stop off to play and American Girl, where a personal shopper can help pick out outfits – for your doll!
As if you don’t like shopping, there’s plenty more to keep you occupied including a Nickelodeon theme park, wedding chapel, comedy club, cinema, aquarium, miniature golf course and flight simulators.
When your feet get tired, MoA has two in-house hotels where you can crash…and the concierges will even come and collect your shopping bags when you’ve got too much to carry!
The Dubai Mall, Dubai
When it comes to floor space, this is the biggest mall in the world.
With 1200 stores and stretching across 1.1million sq m, it’s the ultimate in retail heaven.
Whether it’s books, electronics, candy or high fashion you’re after, The Dubai Mall is guaranteed to have it. For haute couture, check out Fashion Avenue, where you can sift through the latest collections from top designers like Stella McCartney, Versace, Burberry and Alexander McQueen.
And when you get tired of trying things on, visit the in-house Dubai Aquarium, children’s theme parks and Ice Rink.
The Galleria, Houston
One of the main tourist attractions in this area, this shopping centre pulls in more than 30million visitors a year.
Spanning 2.4million sq ft and housing 400 stores and two hotels, it’s no small mall.
A plethora of amenities awaits those who want to break up their shopping with some activities, including a full-size ice rink, a jogging track, two swimming pools, seven beauty salons and a state-of-the-art kids play area to keep the little ones entertained.
There are also three banks, just incase you need to pick up some extra cash to splash!
Grand Canal Shoppes, Las Vegas
This magnificent 500,000sq ft shopping mall comes complete with indoor canals and gorgeous gondolas to take you from door to door.
It’s the perfect way to kick back and relax after checking out Barneys and a whole host of upscale boutiques.
The mall also has live performances throughout to add to the chilled out vibe.
Mall of the Emirates, Dubai
Shopping is just the beginning of the experience at this place, which is as much of an entertainment centre as a mall.
With 6.5 million square feet of space, it’s proved no squeeze to fit in more than 450 stores, as well as a breathtaking array of family fun, including Ski Dubai (the first ski resort and snow park in the Middle East), an art gallery, rides, games, and a 14-screen cinema.
When you need to rest those tired legs, there are three in-house hotels, including the Sheraton, Ibis and Novotel.
Siam Paragon, Thailand
If you’re looking for luxury, this is one shopping centre worth stopping for.
It’s one of the largest malls in Asia and where the wealthy come to play, with flagship designer stores from Pucci to Prada, as well as car showrooms for Lotus and Lamborghini.
The fourth floor is dedicated to the techno fans, with every kind of gizmo and gadget you could imagine, and, when it comes to entertainment, there’s an opera hall, 15-screen IMAX cinema, bowling alley and art gallery, as well as the Siam Ocean World Aquarium, the largest aquarium in south east Asia.
Istanbul Cevahir, Turkey
Under the beautiful glass roof is the largest shopping mall in Europe and second largest in the world.
Cevahir Shopping Centre has six floors and cost $250 million to build.
The roller coaster spanning the interior gives shoppers a view as they work their way round 280 stores.
It also has a cinema for children, a bowling hall and the 2,500-m²-glass roof carries the biggest clock in the world, with 3m digits.
Ngee Ann City, Singapore
Books Kinokuniya, Southeast Asia’s largest bookstore—and Japanese retail giant Takashimaya—remain this 1.75m sq ft centre’s star attractions.
Kinokuniya is known for its wide range of rare, valuable books, as well as its collection of Japanese tomes and manga.
The real draw at Takashimaya is the food court in the basement, where you can find everything from freshly cooked mochi on sticks to finger food like takopachi to Harrod’s teas.
Mall of Asia, Philippines
Its doors are graced by 200,000 people every day and it’s no wonder with so many exciting entertainments on offer.
One of the main attractions is the first ever IMAX theatre in the country. The mall features the Philippines’s first Olympic-sized ice skating rink. At 61 by 30 meters, the rink is described as the biggest of its kind in Southeast Asia.
The mall’s open-air music hall directly facing the sea has also held several events, contests and concerts.