Hi, Please Enjoy These Eerie Photos of Abandoned Shopping Malls on Instagram I’m Obsessed With

Alex Aronson
Photo credit: @flannelkimono - Instagram
Photo credit: @flannelkimono - Instagram

From Cosmopolitan

Admit it: You probably have an online shopping tab open right now. Which, same. I mean, I could spend actual hours every night scrolling and adding items to cart—it’s actually a problem. I mean, do I really need to order a third set of dish towels? Nope. But am I going to order them anyway? You betcha. Mm-hmm, I’m fine.

Thing is, there’s just something about strolling through an actual mall, trying on clothes in a tiny dressing room with too-bright lighting, and permanently smelling like an Auntie Anne’s pretzel that makes the mall-going experience *sigh* special.

But major mall anchors, like JCPenney, Starbucks, and Victoria’s Secret, are on their way out the door. And it feels like a new big-name brand gets added to that exit list, like, every other day. Needless to say, it’s putting malls across the country fully out of business. And with every mall that closes down, a massive, empty in a sort-of-creepy-but-sort-of-cool way, haunting structure is left behind to collect dust. Some urban explorers have, uh, “gained access” to these structures, posting pictures of their discoveries on social media. Let’s look around, shall we?

1. The Food Court

TBH, the food court is the best part of any mall. Don’t get me started on all the delicious cuisine options. There’s something about a mall pizza that just hits different.

2. The Shoe Store

Am I the only person who is obsessed with the smell of shoe stores? I can’t really explain what the scent is, but you know exactly what I’m talking about. However, something tells me this one has lost its signature scent. (Again, I’m fine.)

3. The Atrium

If a mall were a small city, this would definitely be the town square. It’s the central hub where you meet your friends and hatch your plan on what stores to hit up first.

4. Spencer’s

Spencer’s Gifts really does have it all: weird collectibles, *wiggles eyebrows* toys, and, um, all the random stuff in between.

5. The Movie Theater

Two words: Sticky! Floors! But also, am I the only person who dumps chocolate M&Ms into my popcorn? If you’ve never done it, stop what you’re doing right now and try it. You’ll thank me later.

6. The Escalators

As a kid, this was the most exciting part of visiting the mall. Minus the anxiety of getting on and getting off at the exact right moment, it was like riding an amusement park ride. Sort of.

7. Empty Food Bar

This photo whispers the echoes of Taco Bells past, and now I’m super hungry.

8. The Fountains

The fountains were the place to hang out. You could sit on the ledge, gossip with your bestie, eat frozen yogurt, and people-watch for days.

9. The Entrance

You can always tell which wing is considered the “main entrance” based on the size of its glass atrium, you know? You know. Here, nature has started to reclaim its rightful place.

10. Empty Shelves

Anyone who has ever worked a retail job knows the pain of finding misplaced items on the shelves. Seriously, people, if you don’t want something, just put it back where you originally found it. End rant.

11. Leftover Decorations

There’s nothing more extravagant than the way department stores decorate for the holiday season. The lights. The garland. The bulbs. Santa’s hut. It’s truly next-level, and I’m here for it.

12. Price Check on Aisle 3

The thrilling rush of finding an item without a price tag is unmatched. Is it a super bargain or unfairly overpriced? The anticipation of finding the price checker was, and still is, enough to get the adrenaline pumping through my veins!!!!

13. A Long and Empty Hall

To think about the foot traffic this walkway once encountered is kind of crazy. Now, the hall just sits empty as an ancient tomb.

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