Walking is one of my favorite activities. I keep track of my steps, and I try to beat my daily score each day using an app. But sometimes, the weather outside doesn't cooperate with my goals, so I resort to taking laps around the apartment or up & down the stairwells of the building in which I live.
But then, I had an idea... Why don’t I hop in the car and head out to Forest Fair Village? I hadn’t been in years, and it'd be a good change of pace/ scenery.
Even though its signage calls it ‘Cincinnati Mall,’ it’s often referred to by locals as ‘Forest Fair Mall’ or ‘Cincinnati Mills,’ depending on when you were last there. Long story short, it’s been called a lot of things, but now it’s called ‘Forest Fair Village.’
You know the place. Here's what you need to know about the state of the mall today:
I can’t stand crowded shopping malls, so that second point is particularly appealing. The mall touts 1.5-million square feet of space. You know what that means: lots of room for walking.
You can easily stretch your legs down entire wings without seeing a soul or an open business. It’s like wandering around a darkened movie set that’s completely frozen in time, which is fitting since there’s even an empty movie theater. The zen-like suburban stillness of the mall is honestly refreshing in the face of the city’s incessant hustle and bustle.
I smelled nothing.
I tasted nothing.
I saw only empty halls.
I heard only my own footsteps.
And I felt almost totally alone, minus the other lone mall walker or two.
I reveled in that peacefulness while I walked. Passing every tarp and shuttered retail space granted yet another wave of uninterrupted meditation, culminating in a weirdly introspective exercise session I didn’t expect to have. The mall is largely forgotten, and it felt like it was mine. It provided a momentary escape from the constant sensory overload I’ve grown accustomed to, and for that, I’m thankful it exists.
You'll want to see it for yourself, but for now, the gallery above should get you started.
Also, quick note: do not bring a camera into the mall. Security will ask you to leave. I used my phone to capture what I could and they didn't seem to mind.
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Forest Fair Village is located at 600 Cincinnati Mills Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45240.