Malls
3.6k voters

The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall

Updated June 14, 2019 48.4k votes 3.6k voters 54.3k 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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  • 1
    The Food Court
    2,424
    287

    The Food Court

    A true cacophony of fast food smells to delight your olfactory system.
  • 2
    Cinnabon
    2,625
    443
    Oh, those heavenly ovens.
  • 3
    Movie Theater Popcorn
    2,192
    430

    Movie Theater Popcorn

    An undead, fake butter smell.
  • 4
    Bath & Body Works
    2,301
    513
    Cucumbers and vanilla and sweet pea soap, oh my!
  • 5
    Sbarro
    2,070
    540

    Sbarro

    Distinctive and totally 100% for sure definitely Italian.
  • 6
    The Pretzel Kiosk
    1,968
    523

    The Pretzel Kiosk

    Doughy, salty goodness.
  • 7
    The Mall Fountain
    1,600
    745

    The Mall Fountain

    Mmmm... chlorine!
  • 8
    Yankee Candle
    1,472
    764
    What's that scent? Some call it "the three wick surprise."
  • 9
    Payless
    1,178
    760

    Payless

    Let fake leather dazzle your nose!
  • 10
    KB Toys
    1,188
    769
    Home of a strange mixture of plastic and sweat.
  • 11
    Arcade Tokens
    1,015
    693

    Arcade Tokens

    Metallic and almost like real money!
  • 12
    Abercrombie & Fitch
    1,277
    907
    AKA: The Unescapable Wall of Cologne
  • 13
    J. C. Penny
    948
    676
    There's nothing like the old lady smell of the makeup counter!
  • 14
    Claire's
    1,021
    748
    A mix of clinical odors and rhinestones.
  • 15
    Panda Express
    1,066
    790
    The orange chicken odor sticks to your hair and will be with you all day!
  • 16
    The Christmas Store
    945
    783

    The Christmas Store

    Pine and cinnamon isn't just for December anymore!
  • 17
    Sweet Factory
    806
    748

    Sweet Factory

    You can almost smell the diabetes!
  • 18
    Chick-fil-A
    971
    926
    The original chicken scent.
  • 19
    The Parking Lot
    682
    778

    The Parking Lot

    Asphalt in summer: it's what childhood dreams are made of.
  • 20
    The Gap
    606
    778
    The grown-up scent of wardrobe basics.
  • 21
    B. Dalton
    603
    828

    B. Dalton

    Is there anything that smells better than a new book?
  • 22
    Regis Salon
    530
    810

    Regis Salon

    A mysterious mix of hairspray and desperation.
  • 23
    The Mall Massage Chairs
    451
    800

    The Mall Massage Chairs

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

  • 24
    Corn Dog 7
    441
    834

    Corn Dog 7

    Let the fry oil waft over you.
  • 25
    The Freshly Waxed Tile Floor
    402
    800

    The Freshly Waxed Tile Floor

    Ain't nothin' like fresh wax!