Pet-friendly shopping centers, ice rinks, department stores, AND the biggest mall in Southeast Mexico, Mérida has it all! We’ve put together a guide to some of the best malls in Mérida so that you can decide which is best suited to your shopping and eating needs.
Best Malls in Mérida 5th Place: Gran Plaza
Coming in at 5th place is Gran Plaza, one of the “original” malls in Mérida. About 5 years ago, this was one of the biggest and most popular shopping centers in the city. Located in an ideal spot on Prolongacion Paseo Montejo, it’s close to Sam’s Club, Costco and Home Depot.
However, Gran Plaza has since been overtaken in size by several other shopping centers and sadly many of the shops have relocated. It was once home to Zara, Bershka and a number of other clothing retailers which can now be found elsewhere.
Accelerated by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, there are now a number of empty units in Gran Plaza. The feeling of a bustling mall has disappeared. There are less options in the food court and it’s definitely much quieter at the weekend than it used to be.
If you park in the multi-story car park then you’ll definitely feel like you’re walking into a bit of a ghost mall. However, there are a few popular shops keeping this spark of this mall alive.
Reasons to go to Gran Plaza Mall Mérida:
- Sears (not the one you are used to). Similar to the local Liverpool, Sears has just about everything you’re looking for.
- Clothing shops such as Shasa, Caruso, Cuidado con el Perro and Lefties.
- Telcel. This is the place to come to in order to sort out your Mexican SIM card.
- CFE (the electric company). Yep, here is where you can pay your electricity bill if you don’t want to do it online. It’s located near one of the entrances, next to Telcel.
- We come here to wander around and get a bit lost. It’s one of the more confusing malls so don’t expect to know where you are when you turn a corner…
Best Malls in Mérida 4th Place: The Harbor
Honestly, the Harbor only makes it just above Gran Plaza because it’s the newest mall in the city and is pet friendly. However, it’s a story of failed ventures. Due to a combination of bad architectural planning, awful timing (it opened shortly after la Isla) and the pandemic, The Harbor lacks personality and is definitely not the busiest of malls in Merida.
Surprisingly, there are some really nice shops here including Beach House, Miniso, Sephora, Swarovski and Crochet (for all your crocheting needs). The department store is Gran Chapur, and there is a Cinépolis. Also, every third weekend of the month they host the X-hibit Bazaar where, throughout the mall, you can find local crafts and handmade products. This is a great way to support local businesses!
Located in the north of the city (practically on the Periferico) near the new Via Montejo complex, the outside part of the Harbor is actually rather lovely. There is a large fountain in the center of a pool surrounded by seats and a Starbucks. Because it has a lot of space inside and out, there have been some great events here in the past. There is also a zipline that takes you across the mini lake if you fancy something a bit different!
Porfirio’s Restaurant at The Harbor is on my list of Top 10 Restaurants in Mérida
Reasons to go to The Harbor Mall Mérida:
- Like we mentioned, it’s pet friendly. If you want to take your dog for a walk but it’s too hot or it’s raining outside, then you can happily stroll around the Harbor.
- Petco. There are a number of Petcos in Mérida now but this is by far the biggest. Remember, if you sign up to Petco you’re eligible for great discounts and coupons! They also have an adorable grooming salon.
- The ice-cream at Amorino. Some of the best ice-cream in Mérida. Oh, and if you want to be indulgent, (like us at Life in Mérida) have a macaroon on top of your ice-cream. Definitely, this is the place for you.
- It’s also really suitable for families and young kids with a couple of great play areas and a climbing wall.
- There are some upscale dining options such as Porfirios, Tatemar, and Maya de Asia.
Best Malls in Mérida 3rd Place: Altabrisa
Coming in at bronze, Altabrisa is another one of Merida’s “original” malls. However, this shopping center has fared better than Gran Plaza in the last couple of years. It is still super popular with families in the evenings and at weekends. It’s another large mall with plenty of places to eat, activities for kids to do and a cinema, a bowling alley and Recorcholis (a soft play and games area).
On Sundays the mall is filled with family activity. Many come here to “pasear” which is the Spanish verb to take a walk or stroll. It is commonly used to describe the activity of strolling around the malls.
Located in the Northeast of Merida, Altabrisa has done well to not lose out to some of the newer and bigger malls. It is good for a general browse but lacks some of the big brand names that you can find in other locations.
Reasons to go to Altabrisa Mall Mérida:
- The Leones shop. If you love the Mérida baseball team then this is where to get your merchandise if you don’t want to trek over to the actual stadium. Leones items can also be found in Liverpool but there are usually less options. There is also a Leones shop in Galerias.
- The Homestore. We particularly love it here at Christmas time with all the sparkly, festive decorations.
- Waffle Boutique and Ihop. If you’re looking for some American-style breakfast options then head to Ihop for pancakes and Waffle Boutique for waffles. And anything else, their menu is extensive to say the least.
- Similar to Gran Plaza, the department store at Altabrisa is Sears and it’s huge!
Best Malls in Mérida 2nd Place: Galerias
Narrowly missing out on the top spot is Galerias, the Harbor’s neighbor and predecessor. It’s also the only shopping center in Merida with an ice rink. Yep, you heard that right. In the north of Mérida you can actually go ice skating if you want to!
After an extension in 2018, Galerias is now one of the biggest shopping centers in the city. It has everything you need for a clothes shopping trip and much more besides. There is no underground parking but there is lots of shade if you park at the rear entrance by the Ibis hotel. Galerias also has one of two Liverpool department stores in Mérida. It is conveniently located close to Costco and Chedraui Selecto. Perfect if you’re heading into Merida from the beach towns to do a bit of city shopping.
It’s definitely one of Mérida’s most popular malls and comes alive at the weekend. With plenty of shopping options, new stores, many eateries and a big Cinemex, it’s got everything you might need.
The skating rink at Galerias Mall is never busy. And, it’s fun to watch the skaters.
Reasons to go to Galerias Mall Mérida:
- The variety of clothes shops is the main reason we pop to Galerias. Options include H&M, Zara, Bershka, Pull and Bear, Sfera and Stradivarius.
- The big new Ki’Xocolatl shop which opened in Summer 2021. Browse all the colourful, chocolatey items and drool over the bars and truffles at the counter.
- The coffee shops. It’s a surprisingly nice place to just sit and have a coffee, either at Tbar or Urban Corner. We actually recommend Urban Corner for a bit of remote working – look for our upcoming article on places to work remotely.
- A bunch of other new national and international shops are appearing all the time including the Xaomi store and the popular Mumuso. We also love the new Muy Mucho store.
Best Malls in Mérida 1st Place: La Isla
Scooping up the grand prize of first place on our list is La Isla, the biggest commercial shopping center in Southeast Mexico. Opening in 2018, La Isla very quickly became the place to be. With space for almost 200 stores and an artificial lake, La Isla is located in Cabo Norte. A great location just north of the Periferico and City Center (not to be confused with the center of the city), close to the hospital Faro.
Even if you’re not shopping, La Isla is a really pleasant place to be. There are lots of trees and plants so you don’t feel like you’re trapped inside on a sunny day. Additionally, it’s big enough to feel like you’re doing some exercise just by taking a stroll. The outside man-made lake is overlooked by the mall and nearby apartment buildings. There are options to do watersports here and shaded places for children to play. You could spend hours here without even realising it.
Like other malls there is a Cinépolis, a giant food court, a department store (the massive Liverpool) and a gym. Sports World is not actually connected but sits to the rear of Liverpool. This is our number 1 pick because it literally has everything.
We often take our clients to Tatemar, the sister restaurant of Apoala (Santa Lucia Park).
Reasons to go to La Isla Mall Mérida:
- Where to start? It’s pet friendly and perfect for just wandering around. If you fancy taking a stroll in the air conditioning but still feeling like you’re outside then this is perfect for you.
- Restaurants with a view. Have lunch or coffee with a view of the lake – not something you can find easily in the Yucatan Peninsula. This includes the extensive food court which has indoor and outdoor seating options.
- International brands are everywhere here.
- It’s extremely spacious so if you’re unsure about being around too many people then this is a place where you can keep your distance, even at the weekend.
- We’ve previously mentioned Liverpool but this department store is absolutely huge. It also has a big food court of its own with lots of international food and drink.
Best Malls in Mérida Honorable Mentions
Plaza las Americas
Plaza las Americas makes the list purely based on the fact that there’s a big Chedraui and a sizable food court but not much else. It is, however, the only shopping center not directly in the north. So, if you’re looking to wander around some shops for a bit in air condioning, this is closer to the center of Mérida.
We’d argue that City Center is not really a mall but a selection of shops including Walmart. It’s more of an oddly shaped plaza with plenty of parking. You’ll find many other small plazas close to City Center as well. Places of interest are mostly food and drink related such as Starbucks, Subway, Europea, TGI’s, Querreke and Tere Cazola. There is cover and shade but it can get very hot at City Center in the middle of the day when there’s no escape from the heat.
You’ll find a few specialty shops in City Center. La Europea liquor stores has a wide variety of specialty beers,
wines, liquors, cheeses, and meats with an English speaking staff.
Located quite far from other malls, Macroplaza is in the East of the city and is not really worth the trek if you live in the center or the north of Mérida. However, if you do live close by then it offers a selection of shops and is conveniently just off the Periferico, near the neighborhood of Chichi Suarez. There’s a Chedraui here, a California Fitness Gym and a Cinemex.
And finally, Altabrisa’s younger sibling is UpTown, located just down the road. It’s a small shopping center connected to Walmart with a number of useful shops, Cinemex and a number of places to grab a bite to eat. There’s a Vips, a Santa Clara and a Starbucks. It’s also connected to the Hilton Garden Inn.
Final Thoughts on Where are the best malls in Mérida?
We hope our list of best malls in Mérida is helpful. It’s important to note, as Mérida continues to experience growth, more and more malls, shopping centers, businesses, and establishments will follow. And please, remember to follow Covid-19 guidelines, wear masks, use hand sanitizer, and have your temperature taken whenever entering a mall. Happy shopping folks!