Malls
3.7k voters

The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall

Updated June 14, 2019 49.9k votes 3.7k voters 56.4k views25 items

List RulesVote up the scents you most remember smelling during the '90s as you cruised the mall with your pals.

Scientists say smell is the most important sense linked to memory, and it’s not uncommon for scents to unlock long forgotten memories, bringing a tear of nostalgia to your eye. And there's probably nothing that makes you more nostalgic than catching a whiff of our favorite '90s mall smells. Whether it’s the overpowering wall of Abercrombie & Fitch cologne or movie theater popcorn, these are the smells from the mall that make you wish you could turn back time and waste a Saturday hanging out with your friends. Sniff out these memorable smells from the mall and try not to get too misty eyed.

If you’re too young to remember what the mall smelled like, then you’re in for a special treat. Collected on this list you’ll find a bevy of stores and smells that totally encompass the world of a true mallrat. Believe it or not, there was a generation of teenagers who looked forward to carousing through their local mall and munching on kiosk food, totally unsupervised by their parents. The nineties truly were a blissful time to be alive. If you were around for those good old days, check out these memorable scents from the mall and see how many are still secretly floating around inside your nose.

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  • The Food Court1
    2,493
    293

    The Food Court

    A true cacophony of fast food smells to delight your olfactory system.
  • Cinnabon2
    2,698
    463
    Oh, those heavenly ovens.
  • Movie Theater Popcorn3
    2,269
    444

    Movie Theater Popcorn

    An undead, fake butter smell.
  • Bath & Body Works4
    2,367
    531
    Cucumbers and vanilla and sweet pea soap, oh my!
  • Sbarro5
    2,131
    554

    Sbarro

    Distinctive and totally 100% for sure definitely Italian.
  • The Pretzel Kiosk6
    2,028
    539

    The Pretzel Kiosk

    Doughy, salty goodness.
  • The Mall Fountain7
    1,648
    764

    The Mall Fountain

    Mmmm... chlorine!
  • Yankee Candle8
    1,520
    781
    What's that scent? Some call it "the three wick surprise."
  • Payless9
    1,214
    781

    Payless

    Let fake leather dazzle your nose!
  • KB Toys10
    1,222
    793
    Home of a strange mixture of plastic and sweat.
  • Arcade Tokens11
    1,060
    711

    Arcade Tokens

    Metallic and almost like real money!
  • Abercrombie & Fitch12
    1,317
    934
    AKA: The Unescapable Wall of Cologne
  • J. C. Penny13
    979
    696
    There's nothing like the old lady smell of the makeup counter!
  • Panda Express14
    1,113
    805
    The orange chicken odor sticks to your hair and will be with you all day!
  • Claire's15
    1,044
    772
    A mix of clinical odors and rhinestones.
  • The Christmas Store16
    970
    799

    The Christmas Store

    Pine and cinnamon isn't just for December anymore!
  • Sweet Factory17
    829
    764

    Sweet Factory

    You can almost smell the diabetes!
  • Chick-fil-A18
    1,008
    940
    The original chicken scent.
  • The Parking Lot19
    709
    793

    The Parking Lot

    Asphalt in summer: it's what childhood dreams are made of.
  • The Gap20
    626
    796
    The grown-up scent of wardrobe basics.
  • B. Dalton21
    620
    853

    B. Dalton

    Is there anything that smells better than a new book?
  • Regis Salon22
    538
    837

    Regis Salon

    A mysterious mix of hairspray and desperation.
  • The Mall Massage Chairs23
    471
    817

    The Mall Massage Chairs

    When faux-leather meets all the local dads waiting for moms to finish up in Sephora.

  • Corn Dog 724
    456
    854

    Corn Dog 7

    Let the fry oil waft over you.
  • The Freshly Waxed Tile Floor25
    418
    823

    The Freshly Waxed Tile Floor

    Ain't nothin' like fresh wax!