Anyone who passes through the NH bypass would have noticed the long lines of cars parked on either side along the stretch between Edappally and Vytilla. For, that's where two major malls in the city operate.

And that sight has come to symbolise the changed perception among Kochiites of a weekend outing. In fact, the usage “weekend crowd” is fast getting replaced with ‘mall crowd,” for that's where the city thrives these days.

Gone are the days when a visit to a nearby park or beach or cinema hall would have made for a perfect weekend outing. Now, the buzz is around malls. And with only four major malls to speak of, the city seems not to have enough of it.

And for those looking for bigger malls and greater experiences, there is the upcoming Lulu Shopping Mall, claimed to be the biggest in Asia, scheduled for launch by the middle of next year at Edappally.

Shopping, entertainment, gaming, restaurant – the need to drive around to meet these varied needs is a thing of the past as malls dish out all this and much more. And the elaborate parking facilities only add to the attraction.

The numbers themselves should tell the tale. Oberon Mall that opened two years ago, attracts anywhere between 25,000 and 30,000 visitors on weekends.

The footfalls at the recently opened Abad Nucleus hit the 7,000 mark while at the Bay Pride Mall at Marine Drive the number touch 8,000 on weekends. While the Cricket Zone and the Scary House at Oberon Mall had many followers, Gold Souk at Vytilla woos peoples by its innovative bowling alley. Shyam Sunder, a doctor with Sunrise Hospital, feels that the image of ‘one stop shop for everything' is the biggest selling point of malls. “But then, the experience each one draws from it varies ,” he says. Prince Varghese, deputy general manager, Abad, notices a higher conversion rate in terms of shopping among the visitors. Mathew Luke, general manager of Oberon Mall, says that along with the four-screen multiplex, Spice Route, the swanky Indo-Arabic Restaurant spread over 4,000 sq.ft on the fourth floor, has added to the charm of Oberon Mall.