From nappy-changing rooms to designated parking for families with strollers, more family-friendly facilities can be found at these malls than others.
The best family-friendly malls
Touted as Malaysia’s first enrichment mall, families come here not so much for the shopping as for the music schools, kindergartens, kids’ gyms and language learning centres. There’s also a good selection of F&B outlets and a Cold Storage supermarket, as well as separate spaces for mums and dads to change nappies, let the kids play, or just to take a breather.
One the shopping greats in KL, Suria KLCC offers a wide selection of high fashion labels as well as toys, books, stationery and kids’ fashion stores. Family-friendly attractions include Petrosains, Aquaria KLCC, Galeri Petrosains and the popular KLCC Park with large playground and wading pool, one of the few green pockets in the city centre.
There are changing rooms on all floors, and parents will be glad to know that Suria KLCC also has a special parents’ room; located on the concourse level, the space provides diaper changing stations, hot water, as well as a small area for the kids to play while parents take a break away from the crowds.
Located in one of the most established and lively suburbs in KL, Bangsar Village I and II are proof that you don’t have to go to a huge megamall to have a good shopping experience with your family. Bangsar residents will remember that this used to be the old Hankyu Jaya which shut down and was left derelict for several years. After a sleek makeover, it has now become a new shopping hotspot.
The attached malls are the epitome 'family-friendly' for several reasons – easy parking, clean bathrooms, baby changing facilities, and a good selection of kid-friendly eateries, shops and enrichment centres. They're small enough to be deemed neighbourhood malls, but come complete with an array of outlets catering to all your needs, from health and beauty to groceries and furniture.
Another neighbourhood mall that has become a favourite family hangout, Publika is easy to get around especially if you have younger kids and have to push a stroller. The shop selection isn’t as comprehensive, but it’s good enough to stock up on groceries at Ben’s Independent Grocer and unique toys at Carousel. There’s also a good choice of kid-friendly dining options including Marmalade and Benbino. Regular events like art exhibitions, weekend markets and performances ensure that there’s always something to see and do during the weekend.
The newly refurbished mall houses one of H&M's two flagship stores, Cotton On, Fitness First, Muji and Presto among little bakeries and cafés. Meanwhile, the Leica store is an attractive, clean space for shutterbugs. The mall is convenient to commute to via LRT and the high volume of buses and taxis at its entrance.
Previously known as Wisma Atria, this mall has recently undergone a radical transformation and is now the go-to neighbourhood mall in PJ. The brightly lit car park has ample places, you can borrow baby strollers at the concierge and there are baby rooms on every floor. The biggest draw here is the staggering amount of eateries, from popular fast-food joints like KFC to local favourites like Little Penang Kafé; there’s also a Dave’s Deli for a trip down memory lane. Keep the kids entertained at Jungle Gym, shop for kids’ furniture, bath products and clothes at Kiddie Casetta, or give the kids a makeover at the very kid-friendly in-store hair salon (the younger ones get their hair cut sitting in a race car or space ship).
IOI Putrajaya is becoming a favourite family-friendly mall thanks to District 21, an indoor extreme play park boasting attractions specially created for kids. The mall also plays host to Malaysia’s largest ice skating rink. Head to the first floor where there are a number of shops dedicated to kids’ fashion and a conveniently located nursing room. For tired little feet, the mall offers complimentary strollers and electronic scooters for the older ones. To end the shopping excursion, go to the Symphony Walk on the ground floor, which overlooks the golf course, for an alfresco dining experience with your family accompanied by musical fountains and light shows.
While the number of shopping malls in Penang pales in comparison to Kuala Lumpur, 1st Avenue Mall is number one in our books for comfortable family outings. If your toddler can’t get enough of cuddly stuffed toys, make a stop at Classic Teddy Café, the first and only teddy bear-themed café on the island. Older kids, on the other hand, will be racing to get to level three, where you’ll find the ESCAPE Room and Laser OPS. Leave the teens to their own devices while you shop for personal vices. If it’s quality family time you seek, cosy up in a soundproof room at Red Box Karaoke or catch the latest family-friendly flick at TGV Cinemas.