When we plan to travel, the first thing we think about is what destinations we need to visit. Visiting the biggest shopping malls and centers in Tbilisi might seem like not the first idea that will pop in your mind but hear me out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting to completely abandon the idea of visiting major sightings, but let’s just be open to the new experience- visiting the unsuspected places like shopping malls for example.
Shopping centers are often overlooked as a tourist hotspot. But if we think about them carefully, we’ll come to the conclusion that shopping malls are like a mini version of the country that you’re visiting. If you want to find out what type of people live here, just wander around and visit local shopping malls/ shopping centers. Nothing shows what people truly are rather than their consumer’s process.
Aside from the fact that while visiting shopping malls you’ll have an amazing opportunity to interact with locals and socialize, you’ll eventually find out what people here prefer, what is a local cuisine and in general what is the economic, social and political situation in the country you’re visiting. You can spot on the culture and get a sense of the place. If that sounds too scientific and boring, just consider the fact that there is “The Conditioner” which everyone enjoys from time to time, especially when it’s 39 degrees Celsius outside.
While big destinations are number one tourist spots and definitely should be your priority to visit on your list, it can seem a bit artificial, performative and crowded. While in shopping centers you’ll rarely see any tourists which is a big plus: no crowds, no yelling, and no queues.
If you like the idea of visiting the unexpected places and plan to travel to Georgia, here are some shopping centers you can check out.
Located on Davit Aghmashenebeli Avenue, Tbilisi Mall can be considered the first shopping mall that conforms to the international standards of shopping malls. It’s a five-story complex that combines 150 international brands, banks, offices, bookstores, and cinema. Aside from the traditional stores that you can find in your average malls here are also located electronics stores, big supermarkets, homewear, textile and decor sections.
After the rebuilding of Tbilisi Central which initially was just a train ticket purchasing place, now features a shopping mall on its lower levels. Tbilisi Central is located at a railway station; you can visit it if you happen to pass by Station Square. Even if the varieties of the brands are not as diverse as in Tbilisi Mall, it’s still worth checking out.
Karvasla Shopping Mall
Karvasla was the first shopping mall in Tbilisi which opened the European brand’s Outlet store in Tbilisi. Brands such as GAP, ZARA, KOTON, H&M, etc were not presented in shopping malls until Karvasla. Karvasla is located 240 meters from the railway station and is another one shopping destination with a wide variety of international and local brands.
Merani Shopping Mall
Unlike other shopping malls, Merani is known for its smaller size, even though it has four floors.
The brands here are not as wide-ranging compared to the other shopping malls. But you can still check it out if you’re planning to visit Freedom Square. Merani is located in the heart of tourist street- at Rustaveli Avenue. Note to remember, because of its location it’s hard to find parking places.
City Mall Gldani
Unlike Merani shopping Mall, City Mall Gldani according to Google reviews has not only various brands of clothing both international and local but also other markets all brands. And the most important it has many parking places and cafes and restaurants you can visit if you feel like eating a snack.
Located near Freedom Square, Galleria Tbilisi is a relatively new shopping mall in Tbilisi. It has six floors and features many international brands, cafes, cinema, restaurants, and other entertainment spots.
Often called the city within the city, East point stands out with its architecture decision. It is designed to look like the stores are located on the narrow streets. It features many clothing stores, cinemas, restaurants, and cafes and in general, is the best place for leisure and entertainment.
While the location of Lilo Mall is rather inconvenient, it is located pretty far from the city. Unlike other malls which are more oriented on leisure and entertainment, Lilo Mall is more practical. Here you can find not only clothing brands but also other categories. Here are some of the categories you can find here: wholesale trade; clothes and shoes; textiles and carpets; leather and fur; toys and accessories; building and repair materials; dinnerware and household goods; furniture and children’s products.
As already mentioned, shopping malls are not the most common tourist spots but it offers you a new perspective on the country you’re visiting: something unique and local. P.S interested in how to live like a local in Georgia? Check out this article.