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What is the Difference Between a Plaza Mall and Arcade in Pakistan?

Difference Between a Plaza Mall and Arcade in Pakistan

Pakistan boasts a variety of shopping malls, arcades, plazas, and entertainment spaces, each with its unique charm and offerings. This article will explain the difference between a plaza mall and arcade in Pakistan in depth.  Let’s dive into the various distinctions to help you navigate these spaces better.

Plazas in Pakistan

Plazas in Pakistan are often multi-story buildings that host diverse shops, offices, and sometimes even residential areas. They are a fusion of commercial and social spaces, often comprising smaller shops, boutiques, offices, and eateries. You might find a mix of clothing stores, small electronics shops, beauty salons, or local eateries within a plaza. 

They’re usually more compact than malls and offer a cozier, sometimes more intimate shopping experience. The atmosphere is often more intimate, making it a perfect spot for personalized shopping and a glimpse into local entrepreneurial endeavors.

Malls in Pakistan

Malls are larger and more comprehensive shopping destinations. In Pakistan, malls are not just about shopping; they’re experiences in themselves. They often house various stores, from high-end fashion brands to everyday necessities, alongside entertainment options like cinemas, food courts, and sometimes even indoor amusement parks. 

Read more: 091 Mall Peshawar | NOC | Location | Master Plan | Payment Plan

Malls provide a one-stop destination for shopping, entertainment, and dining. The ambiance is vibrant, and they tend to attract a larger crowd, especially during weekends and holidays.

Arcades in Pakistan

In Pakistan, arcades are relatively smaller entertainment spaces within malls or standalone areas. They feature various gaming and food & drink sections.

Other than these, there are also separate arcades that are more than entertainment zones. They have evolved beyond their traditional focus on gaming to offer a diverse range of amenities, including social spaces designed for relaxation and interaction. These designated areas with comfortable seating encourage visitors to unwind, socialize, and immerse themselves in the lively atmosphere of the venue.

Arcades often provide event spaces that can be rented for private functions, corporate events, or special gatherings. They also feature cafes, restaurants, or partnerships with local food vendors, providing a diverse menu to suit different tastes. Lastly, they also offer dedicated parking.

Difference Between a Plaza Mall and Arcade in Pakistan

As Pakistanis, we are fortunate to have a range of spaces catering to diverse preferences. The choice between a cozy, personalized experience in a plaza, a grand shopping spree in a mall, or gaming fun in an arcade depends on our individual tastes and the kind of day we wish to have.

Let’s explore these differences in detail.

FeatureShopping MallArcadePlaza
SizeLarge, expansiveSmall to medium-sizedMedium-sized
PurposeShopping, entertainment, diningEntertainment, food & drink, social spacesShopping, small businesses, offices
StoresDiverse range from high-end to everydayFood & Drink, Clubs, gamingMix of smaller shops and boutiques
EntertainmentCinemas, food courts, sometimes parksCoin-operated games, socializationLimited, if any
OfferingsComprehensive, all-in-one destinationFocused on social interactionMix of shops, services, and offices

Size and Purpose

Shopping malls in Pakistan stand out as large, expansive spaces encompassing diverse offerings, from high-end stores to everyday necessities. They serve as multifunctional destinations, providing shopping, entertainment, and dining opportunities under one roof. 

On the other hand, arcades are smaller to medium-sized spaces that primarily cater to entertainment. Often found within malls or as standalone venues, these areas are filled with gaming consoles and food & drink sections, attracting a younger crowd seeking a thrilling experience. 

Plazas, meanwhile, fall in between—medium-sized spaces that blend small businesses, boutiques, and sometimes offices, offering a personalized and local shopping experience.

Stores and Entertainment

Malls in Pakistan are known for their diverse collection of stores, ranging from luxurious brands to everyday essentials. They complement shopping with entertainment options like cinemas, food courts, and sometimes even amusement parks, making them a one-stop destination for a day out. 

Arcades, in contrast, are predominantly focused on entertainment, housing various gaming consoles and social interactions, providing an energetic space specifically tailored for young enthusiasts. 

Plazas, while they may host a mix of smaller shops and boutiques, often lack designated entertainment areas, offering a quieter, more intimate shopping experience.

Atmosphere and Social Space

The atmosphere of these spaces varies significantly. Shopping malls boast a vibrant and bustling ambiance, catering to diverse crowds and acting as gathering spots for families and friends. Their energetic environment and diverse offerings make them a social hub. 

Read more: 091 Mall Peshawar | NOC | Location | Master Plan | Payment Plan

Arcades, conversely, are more targeted towards a specific audience, often attracting a moderate crowd of youth seeking entertainment. 

Plazas, in contrast, provide a more localized and community-oriented atmosphere. They offer a more personal and cozy experience, emphasizing the presence of local businesses and a more intimate setting.

These spaces not only offer shopping and entertainment but also represent the vibrancy and diversity of our culture. The next time you plan a day out, whether for shopping, entertainment, or simply hanging out, understanding the nuances between plazas, malls, and arcades can help you select the perfect destination for your day.

Our country is rich with these vibrant spaces, each offering a different slice of the Pakistani experience. So, embrace the diversity, explore these varied spots, and revel in the richness they bring to our lives!

Choosing the Right Space

When deciding where to spend your time, it’s essential to consider your preferences. A plaza might be the way to go if you seek a quick shopping experience with a personal touch. A mall could be your ideal destination for a more extensive shopping spree with entertainment and dining options.

And if you’re just looking for some fun, an arcade within a mall might be the perfect spot. Each of these spaces offers a unique atmosphere and range of experiences, catering to different needs and preferences.

Next time you’re planning a shopping trip or looking for some entertainment, understanding the differences between plazas, malls, and arcades in Pakistan can help you choose the best destination for your day out. Whether it’s exploring quaint shops in a plaza, indulging in a grand shopping spree in a mall, or reliving childhood memories in an arcade, Pakistan has something for everyone!

Enjoy exploring these vibrant spaces and the rich tapestry of experiences they offer!

The Bottom Line

We hope you have understood the difference between a plaza mall and arcade in Pakistan. Each of these spaces—shopping malls, arcades, and plazas—serves a distinct purpose, offering unique experiences to visitors. Whether seeking a comprehensive shopping and entertainment experience, gaming-centric fun, or a more personalized and local shopping vibe, Pakistan’s varied spaces cater to diverse preferences and needs. 

Understanding these differences helps individuals choose the ideal destination based on their preferences, making their outing or shopping experience more enjoyable and tailored to their desires.


What is the difference between a mall and a plaza?

A shopping plaza refers to a space encircled by diverse shops and businesses. Contrarily, a mall is a singular building housing various stores or brands, distinct from the dispersed layout of a shopping area.

What is the difference between a mall and a complex?

A mall encompasses an open layout, while a shopping center generally features an enclosed design.

What is the difference between a mall and an arcade?

Malls are characterized by two primary entrances and a single emergency exit. In contrast, arcades feature multiple entries and exits.

Why is it called plaza?

The term for a public square in Spanish is “plaza”. It originates from the Latin word “platea,” denoting a ‘broad street’ or ‘public square.’

What type of structure is a mall?

A mall structure is described as a single enclosure housing multiple tenants and occupancies, where two or more tenants or tenant buildings have a primary entrance leading to one or more mall concourses.

Published by: Hammad Shah 

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