Abandoned Malls Litter America As Retail Chains Die Out

Published December 15, 2014
Updated August 20, 2019
Published December 15, 2014
Updated August 20, 2019

Retail stories are dying, which is why abandoned malls are becoming more commonplace.

All things must come to an end, and the era of the American shopping mall is no exception. With retail shopping becoming unpopular and unprofitable, abandoned malls all over America are being left to nature:

Abandoned Malls In America
Ceiling Of An Empty Mall
Abandoned Malls Photos
Abandoned Places In The US
Abandoned Malls Litter America As Retail Chains Die Out
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Shopping malls enjoyed their heyday in the 1970s and 80s, when the wealthy (and usually white) had left urban zones for glistening new homes--and shopping centers--in the suburbs. Not only did malls become an important part of consumer culture, they also composed an integral facet of American life. Many films, especially ones from the 1980s and 90s, heavily feature shopping malls as an important location. Mallrats, Clueless, The Blues Brothers, and George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead all have characters who spend major time in malls (though one just happens to be filled with zombies).

The very first enclosed shopping mall was built in Edina, Minnesota in 1956. The state is also home to one of the biggest malls in the nation, the Mall of America in Bloomington, which receives approximately 40 million visitors a year. The mall boasts four levels and more than 500 specialty shops and restaurants. The mall now sits atop what used to be old Metropolitan Stadium, where the Minnesota Vikings used to play. Among the main attractions is Nickelodeon Universe, the country's largest indoor amusement park. The mall is so big that it has its own zip code.

The Mall of America still stands today, and whether or not it survives the culling of retail chains remains to be seen.

For more on the decline of the American shopping mecca, we recommend you check out Seph Lawless's The Collapse of the American Shopping Mall.

And if you liked this visual dive into the abandoned malls of America, check out our other galleries on beautiful abandoned photographs and haunting images of abandoned Detroit.

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist, and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.