When I was in my 20s, a friend of mine challenged me to go a week without visiting the mall. (We really only had one in the small city in which I lived at the time.) I couldn’t do it.
In those golden days, a large enclosed mall was truly the center of shopping. They contained nearly every type of store (though few in the US had supermarkets, a staple of early malls in Canada and other countries). But they were a weather proof hangout; I almost always ran into someone I knew at the mall.
But with the rise of big box stores and the return-with-a-vengeance of strip malls in the 1990s, followed by the rise of online shopping in the past decade, coupled with the remaining scars of a few recessions and a heck of a lot of overbuilding in-between, many malls aren’t what they used to be. Some are dead or in hospice care, as noted by the DeadMalls.com website.
Others are discovering life beyond retail, as noted in How About Gardening or Golfing at the Mall? reported by Stephanie Clifford in the New York Times