Oldest Malls in World

Top 7 Oldest Malls in World

Embark on a journey through time as we delve into some of the oldest malls in the world on each continent, iconic shopping destinations that have withstood the test of time. These architectural marvels have witnessed the evolution of commerce, bridging the gap between the past and the present. 

From Europe to Asia, Africa to North America, and beyond, we bring you a curated list of historical shopping centers that continue to captivate visitors with their timeless charm. Join us as we unravel the stories behind these extraordinary malls and celebrate their enduring legacy.

7. Oldest Mall in Antarctica – Temporary Stores and Markets at Research Stations

Year Established: Temporary stores and markets only
Country: Antarctica
Current Status: Seasonal operations

Temporary Stores and Markets at Research StationsPhoto Source: Oceanwide expeditions

While Antarctica may not have permanent shopping malls due to its remote and uninhabited nature, temporary stores and markets may be set up during the summer season to cater to the needs of scientists and tourists stationed in research facilities. These temporary retail spaces provide essential supplies and a sense of convenience in an otherwise isolated environment.

Did you know?

The temporary stores at research stations provide essential supplies and offer a sense of convenience in Antarctica’s extreme conditions. These stores play a crucial role in supporting scientific research and ensuring the well-being of those living and working in Antarctica.

6. Oldest Mall in Australia/Oceania – The Strand Arcade (Sydney, Australia)

Year Established: 1892
Country: Australia
Current Status: Still in operation

The Strand Arcade (Sydney, Australia)Photo Source: Wikipedia

Standing as one of the oldest shopping malls in Australia and Oceania, The Strand Arcade in Sydney is a true architectural gem. Opened in 1892, this Victorian-style arcade captivates visitors with its ornate detailing and timeless charm. Housing a variety of boutique stores and delightful cafes, The Strand Arcade offers a unique shopping experience in the heart of Sydney.

Did you know?

The Strand Arcade was named after its developer, John R. Dean Strand. It has been meticulously restored to preserve its heritage charm.

5. Oldest Mall in Africa – The Old Mutual Mall (Cape Town, South Africa)

Year Established: 1939
Country: South Africa
Current Status: Still in operation

The Old Mutual Mall (Cape Town, South Africa)Photo Source: Business Day

Nestled in Cape Town, South Africa, The Old Mutual Mall, also known as Mutual Square, is recognized as one of the oldest shopping malls in Africa. Dating back to 1939, this bustling retail center has undergone renovations and expansions over the years, continually adapting to meet the needs of shoppers. With its vibrant atmosphere and diverse range of stores, The Old Mutual Mall remains a popular destination for locals and tourists.

Did you know?

The Old Mutual Mall was originally established as a department store and office complex.

4. Oldest Mall in South America – Galería Güemes (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Year Established: 1912-1915
Country: Argentina
Current Status: Still in operation

Galería Güemes (Buenos Aires, Argentina)Photo Source: Tripadvisor

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, stands Galería Güemes, one of the oldest shopping malls in South America. Built between 1912 and 1915, this architectural gem showcases an exquisite Art Nouveau style. Visitors to the mall can explore a diverse range of shops and offices and even enjoy a panoramic view of the city from its lookout point on the top floor.

Did you know?

Galería Güemes is named after its developer, José Antonio Güemes, and his family.

3. Oldest Mall in Asia – Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse (Yokohama, Japan)

Year Established: 1911
Country: Japan
Current Status: Still in operation

Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse (Yokohama, Japan)Photo Source: Tripadvisor

Among the oldest malls in Asia is the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, located in Yokohama, Japan. Originally constructed as customs warehouses in 1911 and 1913, these historic buildings were transformed into a vibrant shopping complex in 2002. Today, the warehouse complex houses a variety of shops, restaurants, and event spaces, attracting locals and tourists alike with its unique charm.

Did you know?

The warehouses were once an important hub for international trade in Yokohama’s port.

2. Oldest Mall in Europe – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Milan, Italy)

Year Established: 1877
Country: Italy
Current Status: Still in operation

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Milan, Italy)Photo Source: Tripadvisor

Situated in Milan, Italy, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is widely regarded as the oldest mall in the world and, of course, Europe. Opening its doors in 1877, this magnificent four-story shopping arcade showcases breathtaking architecture and grandeur. Housing an array of high-end retail stores, prestigious cafes, and exquisite restaurants, the Galleria is not only a shopper’s paradise but also a testament to Milan’s rich cultural heritage.

Did you know?

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is often referred to as “Milan’s drawing room” due to its elegant and luxurious ambiance.

1. Oldest Mall in North America – The Arcade (Providence, Rhode Island, USA)

Year Established: 1828
Country: United States
Current Status: Still in operation

The Arcade (Providence, Rhode Island, USA)Photo Source: Pinterest

Located in Providence, Rhode Island, USA, The Arcade is considered the oldest shopping mall in North America. Built-in 1828, this historic landmark boasts Greek Revival-style architecture and features a unique two-level indoor design with a stunning glass roof. Despite its age, The Arcade continues to thrive, offering a blend of retail shops, cafes, and a vibrant atmosphere for visitors to enjoy.

Did you know?

The Arcade was once referred to as the “noble experiment” due to its unique design and concept.


The oldest malls on each continent represent the enduring appeal of shopping and commerce throughout history. From Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II to Sydney’s Strand Arcade, these remarkable structures blend the past with the present, captivating visitors with their timeless charm. 

These iconic destinations have adapted to changing times while preserving their unique heritage, providing opportunities for shopping and immersing oneself in history and culture. These malls stand as witnesses to the lasting impact of commerce, bridging the gap between the past and the present.

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