I have loved and embraced the Lloyd Center mall for over 30 years. My parents and relatives loved and embraced Lloyd Center for lifetimes before me. As a preteen, I shopped my little heart out there. As a teen, I gained retail work experience at many of the shops. As an adult and now a parent, I take my kiddos on a regular basis. I was just there today and I must tell you – I am extremely worried for its future. I have not heard or read that it is closing any time soon, but the stores seem to be closing one by one, or not reopening after they closed for the pandemic. For the last year or so, we have noticed that more of the stores seem to be closed than open. We weren’t too surprised that some of the smaller stores were closed, but we really started to worry when the legendary Macy’s and Nordstrom shut down. We continued to go there, relaxed that Old Navy was still open. About two weeks ago, Old Navy closed too.
Our little family members are “creatures of routine,” and we do the same thing at Lloyd Center every time we go 1) get pretzels from Auntie Anne’s and 2) go to Barnes and Noble. Luckily, these two stores are still going strong. As I said earlier, we were there today, and we were able to “do the usual.” As we walked around today in the ghost town that is the mall, we made an exciting discovery – ice-skating is up and running again! For a long time, the rink has been empty but today, it wasn’t. We talked to the ice-skating office representatives to get the scoop. Apparently, they are only allowed to have six people at a time in 45-minute time slots. We were thrilled to hear this. I definitely plan on getting the kids on the ice sometime soon. I am scared if I don’t do it soon; they may never have a chance to ice skate on rink that is so dear to me and my family.
With all of this said, I wanted to write an article about what is left at Lloyd Center that kids may enjoy. Although I’m not sure if it will be closing, all signs seem to point to yes (tears). Here are some places that may be fun for kiddos at Lloyd Center mall.
The Ice-Skating Rink-
Currently, only 6 people are allowed for 45-minute time slots. You can either walk-up and hope to get lucky or reserve a time slot online. Here is the link: https://www.lloydice.com/.
Barnes and Noble-
This is our favorite, favorite place in the mall. Pre-COVID, we used to sit and read at their cute little tables in the children section. They also have a little stage and baskets of puppets where the kids are encouraged to do “puppet shows.” The stage is still there, but they have taken the tables out. Nonetheless, we still have fun exploring the array of new, beautiful kids’ books. They also usually have great clearance tables full of awesome kids’ toys. Here is the link to their offerings at Lloyd Center: https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/store/2077.
Bath and Body Works-
Some kids may not care at all about this store, but I can say that my 8-year-old daughter could spend an entire day here (and has tried to). She wants to try every lotion, smell every spray, and use every soap that is available in that store. We have shared many giggles and spent a ton of time there. She feels very grown up and “cool” in there, she has told me. Here is a link to their store’s goodies: https://www.lloydcenter.com/stores/bath-body-works/?location=s957.
Joe Brown’s Caramel Corn-
Every time we walk by this place, the magical scent of the caramel corn prompts my son to scream, “Can we go in there???” This place has existed since the 1930’s, closed all operations in the 40’s, and then reopened in the 60’s in Lloyd Center when it was built! Such an impressive history. I couldn’t be happier to report that they are currently open and standing strong. Here is a link to their wonderful store: https://www.lloydcenter.com/stores/joe-browns-carmel-corn/?location=s1117.
Although this store is aimed toward younger/older girls, there are some stuffed animals and things that little boys may enjoy. Many times, my 8-year-old daughter has dragged us in there for anything and everything and my 5-year-old son resisted, but then later walked out with something he loved. His latest score was a “Doug the Pug” stuffed animal (if you are unfamiliar, Google him … he is so incredibly adorable). Claire’s is known for ear-piercing, their accessories like earrings and costume jewelry, and they have now expanded their selection to stuff for younger girls as well. Here is a link to their store: https://stores.claires.com/us/or/portland/6070.html.
Gifts from Afar-
My kids have ooh’d and aah’d at this store for as long as I can remember. The window displays usually contain massive, intricate animal statues and other beautiful, unique items. My daughter stared at an elaborate belly-dancing outfit for months and months that was displayed in their storefront window. The people who own the store are so incredibly sweet. They are always happy to see my kiddos. Most recently, the kids chose little Ganesha statues from there. They have deemed them “very special” and display them up high in their rooms so nothing will happen to them. The purchase prompted us to study Ganesha (We learned he is Hindu and considered ‘the god of beginnings’). This store is simply magical. I am confident in my suggestion that many kids would love to peruse this store. Their Facebook page is a good place to peruse their offerings: https://www.facebook.com/giftsfromafar/.
I offer these suggestions as places younger children may enjoy, but there are stores that teens would probably love that are still open too. Spencers and Hot Topic are cool, wild “everything” kind of stores. Forever 21, Journeys, and H&M are clothes and shoe stores. Sadly, the mall doesn’t have many places to eat. The only 3 places open in the food court are 1) Chicken Connection, 2) Orange Julius/Dairy Queen combo, and 3) Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. On the other levels: there are only a handful of places open: 1) Jamba Juice, 2) Braganza Bubble Tea, and 3) Joe Brown’s Caramel Corn.
In a time when everything we need is usually on our phones, the mall may seem obsolete. But our family has a ton of fun there. It is nice to shop somewhere that isn’t solely a grocery store or a clothing store. In its prime, the mall is a jambalaya of things we need and things we don’t. Lloyd Center seems to be dwindling, but there is still time to soak up what is left of it. Best of luck to you all in embracing the last bits of Lloyd Center mall.
Stephanie McCoy was born and raised in Portland, Oregon-where she still lives. She recently graduated with a Master’s in Education degree from Concordia University. In her free time: she likes to read and write, get outdoors, embrace her kiddos and husband, and watch travel documentaries.