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Shopping in Colombo: recommended malls and retail complexes

Shopping in the city is more than just a pastime, it's entertainment – find shops, food courts, cineplexes and children's play areas with our guide to Colombo's malls

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For a more commercial take on Sri Lankan culture, try shopping in Colombo. Explore the multi-storey House of Fashions, considered to be the biggest department store in the country, or step inside Odel where you'll find bars, sushi bars and french delis alongside an assortment of shops. Better yet, spend the day at Majestic City mall, enjoying the food, browsing the shops and seeing the latest Bollywood film at the cinema. Traditional or contemporary, fun or fabulous, follow our guide to Colombo's prime shopping destinations to help you find whatever you need. 

Majestic City

Majestic City is one of oldest malls in Sri Lanka and still remains the country’s most sought after shopping destination. It is a seven-storied building with 96 shops. The basement has a kids’ play area and a decent food court. After a major renovation in 2008, MC as it is widely known, got its own cineplex with four cinemas. These are the MC Platinum, Gold, Ultra and Superior cinemas. Platinum is the largest. There are few showrooms of international brands and perhaps MC lacks the glamour of shopping malls elsewhere but by international standards it qualifies as a fine shopping complex. MC has also become “THE” place for a hangout with youngsters strolling its corridors window shopping or lounging on its galleries.

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Liberty Plaza

This is the country’s first shopping complex and dates back to the late 1980s. If Liberty Plaza seems staid, on closer inspection it will delight you with some rarities. It is home to some of the quaintest shops in the city. There are plenty of outlets which offer good deals on mobile phones, electronic goods etc. The “Photo Technica” is the city’s abode for all photographers - it sells the latest variety of digital cams and other electronic accessories. The mall is slightly old fashioned with its timings as it closes at 7pm on weekdays. Also it’s closed on Sundays, making it difficult for weekend shoppers.

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A name that’s now synonymous with Colombo, Odel is an integral part of the city’s shopping scene.  Boasting 33,000 square feet of sheer retail bliss, Odel has steadily grown from humble beginnings to a department store worthy of international acclaim. Odel’s exterior presence follows a traditional formula; tall arched entrances, brilliant white walls and rich wooden interiors, Odel is a homage to colonial architectural establishments in the city. 
Odel has a rich collection of clothes, from basic tees to exquisite designer wear, Odel is one of the few stores in Colombo that manages to appeal to both a mass and niche audience. Like any department store, apparel is just one of Odel’s product offerings. Designer time pieces, exotic sarees, an extravagant perfume collection, a cosy book store, an eclectic assortment of jewellery and a playful kids’ department truly makes Odel your go-to shopping destination. Though the very essence of Odel is shopping, you will be amazed by the number of things one can do within its richly adorned interior. From a Japanese sushi bar, to a French delicatessen, to a well stocked bar and even a foot spa.

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Arcade Independence Square

A complex of colonial style buildings housing a host of outlets and facilities for shopping, dining and entertainment. It’s the latest prominent landmark in the city with outdoor sitting areas, promenades, fountains and flowerbeds while inside are 24 retail stores ranging from clothing to electronics. Both local and international brands are represented here, including Nike, Levis, Giordano, Samsung, TITAN, Parfumerie, Kookaburra, Stone ‘N’ String and Amante. Sri Lankan, Indian, Thai, Japanese and fast food restaurants are among the dining options and there is a Cineplex for 3D movies.

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House of Fashions

A fashion centre of Southeast Asia replete with fabulous fashion, spread out across 250,000 square feet is a veritable shoppers’ paradise comprising some of the most well-known brands of clothing for men, women and kids, household items, fashion accessories and loads of gift items for any occasion. Seventeen escalators operate for ease of access for shoppers as well as a 350 car park for customer convenience. The ground floor has a vast lobby, information centre and ample cashier counters. Cosmetics, perfumes, and jewellery will capture the attention of any discerning shopper as they enter the first floor whilst women will be kept busy on the second floor dedicated solely to women’s wear. The fourth floor has a range of men’s wear and accessories including shoes, belts, ties and casual, office and high-end wear. An entire floor of this mega store is dedicated to kids ranging from infants to teenagers. Clothes, toys and accessories. The home ware section comprises a huge array of items designed to enhance the bedroom and the elegance of bathrooms. 

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