Malls are climate-controlled. That’s important in many parts of the U.S. It’s not fun tramping through 6 (or more) inches of slushy, dirty snow.
When my husband and I were teenagers (1970s), indoor malls were THE place to hang out! My husband and I started dating when we were 15 and 16, and we often went to the big mall, walked around, possibly bought a book or something small, and of course, had a snack or meal (Hot Sam–big pretzels!).
I can actually remember when I was a young teen (12-14, in the late sixties early 70s), my girlfriends and I would walk or occasionally take a bus downtown in our city–there were still lots of stores and places to get a snack, and we didn’t mind the wet snow because it was still OK to wear boots. But then the downtown went bust when the big mall was built.
NOW our big mall is off limits to teens unaccompanied by adults!! There are signs everywhere forbidding teens to enter unaccompanied. AND–we have had several gang-related shootings in the parking lot.
And our downtown is (or was, until COVID) coming back to life and has some great little shops and eateries. And we have had lots of shootings downtown.
NOW–the teens don’t go anywhere to shop except their phones. I’m so glad I was a teen when we actually went to real places with real people, and life was bigger than a small phone screen. On the other hand, I can’t blame the teens for wanting to avoid getting shot. No one ever got shot ordering online.