The Walls in the Mall…

…are like totally totally tall, for sure, dude.

Only members of my immediate family will get that joke. But I thought of it today when I ventured into a Swiss version of a shopping mall in Zurich with my friend Stacy today.

Most shopping can be found in shops in a city’s center. A bakery can be found across the way from a trendy clothing store; a chocolate shop is right next to a small grocery. All of the shops are entered from the street. The idea of an American-style shopping mall where most or all of the shops are entered from within a giant building is probably strange to most Swiss (and Europeans for that matter). Having spent most of my life living in one suburb or another, I’m quite familiar with the good, bad, and ugly malls in several cities in the US.

Today I had a rare baby-free afternoon, and when I met up with my pal, we decided to check out the new Sihlcity on the west side of Zurich. We arrived by tram from the opposite side of the city. The design of the mall is pretty modern. When you first arrive, there is an open-air courtyard-type area that separates the movie theatre from the main mall building. There’s a hotel on one side (with a SPA! You have no idea how tempted we were to skip the mall and just go to the spa!). And most of the other store fronts that face the open courtyard are restaurants.

The restaurants are really nice, too. No trashy fast-food filled food-court here! We decided to eat at an Asian restaurant that had Japanese, Chinese, and Indian food. There was also a French bistro, a couple of cafes, and ok, I hate to admit it, a McDonald’s. Inside the mall itself, I don’t remember there being any food, but we were pretty distracted.

It was a Saturday, so the mall was pretty crowded. When we first walked in, we were offered free samples of some sort of wine cooler that was being launched off an existing line. We snuck around getting a few free samples until we realized that it was actually “alkoholfrei”! The amount of sugar in those drinks was making us pretty silly.

We squeezed around a temporary fashion show event related to the drink launch and went into a large bookstore. Like a lot of Swiss book stores, they had a small selection of books in English. Unlike most Swiss book stores, the books were reasonably priced. I practiced severe restraint and only bought two books for myself. We also spotted gifts for other people.

Next stop bathroom, where we noticed that the infant changing table was very conveniently located separate from both the women’s room and men’s room, so either parent could change their child’s diaper.

Most of the rest of the mall consisted of your average (for Europe) clothing stores, such as H&M, C&A, New Yorker, and even a Coop Department store. We each made a few purchases of essentials at the latter. There was also a pet-supply store, and a L’Occitane. The mall was clean, and nicely done, clearly imitating the style of an American mall. And I was pleasantly surprised to see people with their dogs inside the mall. Most stores are dog-friendly, and unless you see a sign on the door of a store indicating otherwise, you can assume that your (well-behaved) pooch is welcome.

Oh! I almost forgot! There was even a really nice day-care center for kids ages 3 to 8: Kinderparadies Tintenschiff. Depending on how long you wanted to leave your children (one to four hours) and how many you had, it cost only 4 to 18 francs. I think that this is an excellent idea! If my son was old enough, I’d definitely drop him off so I could try on clothes in peace. They also can do birthday parties. The day care is located on the opposite side of the parking garage from the mall on the third (2.Stock) floor – we followed the signs.

You can read an article in English about Sihlcity here (the article was written a few years ago, during the planning stage). I was interested to read about the small parking garage, and that the developers assumed (correctly) that most visitors would take public transportation within the city of Zurich to reach the mall.

Here is the link to Sihlcity’s website (the website is in German, though, with no English option).

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