16 February 2024

LEGO® Friends review: 42604 Heartlake City Shopping Mall

Posted by Eero

The LEGO® Friends theme was rebooted last year and in addition to brand new set concepts like 42605 Mars Space Base and Rocket it has brought many new takes on sets from earlier years. During its 12 year run, LEGO Friends has given us 41058 Heartlake Shopping Mall in 2014 – remembered for its Pearl Gold palm leaves, and 41450 Heartlake City Shopping Mall in 2021 – a surprisingly recent model that shares the same name, layout and escalator system as the new mall I'm reviewing today: 42604 Heartlake City Shopping Mall.


All of the rebooted LEGO Friends sets seem to be large improvements over their predecessors; so how does this mall fare?

Products in this article were gifted by The LEGO Group; the author's opinions are their own. This article contains affiliate links to LEGO.com; we may get a small commission if you purchase.

LEGO® Friends 42604 Heartlake City Shopping Mall
US$119.99/ £104.99/119.99€/ AU$199.99
1237 parts
1st January 2024

Set 42604 on LEGO.com

The parts of interest

New moulds

  • 4x Brick Round Corner 3 x 3 Macaroni Wide with 2 Studs in Transparent Clear (5152 | 6460335) - Unique

The 3x3 macaroni brick fills a gap in the LEGO System, and was long anticipated by builders. Its existence was foretold in the 3x3 macaroni tile.

  • 1x Banana, Open in Bright Yellow/Yellow (6464535 | 5215) - in 2 other sets
  • 1x Mini-doll Hipwear, Bag / Fanny Pack in Medium Lavender (6466138 | 5064) - with 1 extra, in 2 other sets

For a more analytical view on the new moulds, check out our introductory article to the LEGO Friends January elements line-up.


  • 2x Brick Curved, Internal Double, 3 x 3 with 1/3 Inverted Cutout, Corner in Medium Lavender (6471116 | 73682) - unique
  • 1x Minifig Head Plain [Vented Stud - 2 Holes] in Medium Azure (6454737 | 3274) - unique
  • 5x Tile Round Corners 4 x 4 x 2/3 in Cool Yellow/Bright Light Yellow (6471726 | 68869) - also in 42615 Pet Adoption Day
  • 2x Wedge Plate 6 x 6 Cut Corner in Bright Green (6471113 | 6106) - unique
  • 1x Boat / Kayak 2 x 15 in Flame Yellowish Orange/Bright Light Orange (6473185 | 29110)

This image gives glimpse of the delightful colour scheme of this set. The Bright Light Yellow rounded squares look so pleasant.

  • 6x Door Frame 1 x 4 x 6 Type 2 in Medium Nougat (6422085 | 40289)

Medium Nougat is a great colour for wooden, probably oaken windows, so these are very welcome.

  • 4x Brick Curved 1 x 2 x 1 1/3 with Curved Top in Vibrant Coral (6471115 | 32807) - also in 42615 Pet Adoption Day
  • 2x Equipment Oar / Paddle End in Reddish Orange (6470072 | 31990) - in 2 other sets, new colour in 2024
  • 2x Tile 4 x 4 Curved, Macaroni in Bright Green (6475600 | 3477) - unique

It's great to get this curved slope in Vibrant Coral. The hue is pretty hard to photograph though, so you have to take my word.

  • 50x Plant, Flower, Minifig Accessory with 7 Thick Petals and Pin in Bright Green (6471730 | 32606) - Unique

Mine came with older version (no ring in middle) but I suppose some editions might have new ones. It's a new recolour either way.

  •  1x Minifig Neckwear Headphones in Lavender (6466050 | 78135) - in 2 other sets

Rare parts

The rarity of these parts is not entirely coherent as it was measured before the inventories of 2024 were available. As a general rule, these parts appeared in 1 or 2 sets before the January 2024 wave.

  • 28x Technic Link Chain with Panel and Center Divider in Medium Stone Grey/Light Bluish Grey (6322917 | 69900) - in 2 other sets

Thomas Jenkins took a thorough look at this piece in his interview with the element designer of 69900 back in 2021; it includes two great models and is worth checking out.

  • 4x Plate Special 4 Stud 45° Angle Plate in Medium Stone Grey/Light Bluish Grey (6442144 | 15706) - in 4 other sets
  • 4x Brick Round 2 x 2 with Axle Hole in Medium Nougat (6454167 | 6143) - in 5 other sets
  • 2x Tile Round 2 x 4 in Cool Yellow/Bright Light Yellow (6363809 | 66857) - in 4 other sets
  • 1x Sports Snowboard Small in Vibrant Yellow/Bright Light Yellow (6454148 | 18746) - also in 41756 Holiday Ski Slope and Café
  • 1x Door 1 x 4 x 6 Smooth with Chamfered Handle Plinth in Lavender (6344038 | 35291) - in 5 other sets
  • 1x Tile 1 x 2 with Groove in Vibrant Yellow (6392235 | 3069) - in 6 other sets
  • 1x Tile 1 x 2 with White Koi print in Transparent Light Blue (6435012 | 103319) - in 3 other sets
  • 8x Slope Curved 2 x 1 No Studs [1/2 Bow] in Bright Green (6460836 | 11477) - also in 71426 Piranha Plant

  • 2x Plate Round Half 4 x 8 in Lavender (6204112 | 22888) - also in 41718 Pet Day-Care Center
  • 2x Plate 4 x 10 in Medium Azure (6423262 | 3030) - in 2 other sets
  • 1x Plate Round Corner 6 x 6 in Bright Yellow/Yellow (6376454 | 6003) - also in 41948 Cute Banana Pen Holder
  • 1x Plate 4 x 8 in Bright Green (6021996 | 3035) - in 3 other sets

Sticker sheet

The sticker sheet of this set has a lot of going on. Most of these are cool and are logical stickers with my only gripe being the two-dimensional toys in #18; although the Mars rocket is a fun detail. I applied most but not all of the stickers, as some of them are more generally usable on other pieces. For example, the pop star in #15 is more useful, in my opinion, on a 6x6 tile than on a 1x6x6 panel.

Oh and yes, there is a LEGO® BIONICLE® sticker featuring Lewa, taking me back to childhood. It's applied to a Black 2x3 tile which is ideal. 

Here's the official render, showing how many of the stickers look applied:

©2024 The LEGO Group


There are seven dolls in this set. 

First up, Aliya, Irene, Victoria and Nova. Their new and unique parts are:

  • 1x Mini-doll Trousers with White Socks and Dark Blue Shoes in Bright Red/Red (6474875 | 101347) 1x Mini-doll Skirt with Light Nougat Skin, Yellow Tall Socks and Dark Blue Shoes in Lavender (6474872 | 2241)
  • 1x Mini-doll Head Irene in Light Nougat (6466181 | 105928)
  • 1x Mini-doll Torso Girl with Lavender Vest in Light Nougat (6474869 | 73141)
  • 1x Hair Long with 2 Buns in Bright Blue/Blue (6474868 | 66915)
  • 1x Micro-doll Body with Warm Tan Skin and Ribbon Pattern in Bright Orange/Orange (6466192 | 105942)
  • 1x Mini-doll Head Victoria in Warm Tan (6466193 | 105943)

These are Liann, Petch and Michelle. Petch is the first mini-doll to have a prosthetic leg. Their new and unique parts are:

  • 1x Mini-doll Head Petch in Warm Tan (6466735 | 106062)
  • 1x Mini-doll Body with White Shirt in Warm Tan (6475556 | 73161)
  • 1x Mini-doll Legs with Shorts, Lavender Prosthetics Leg and Medium Nougat Shoes in Flame Yellowish Orange (6462562 | 105310) 
  • 1x Mini-doll Head Michelle in Light Nougat (6466737 | 106064)
  • 1x Hair Short and Bushy in Black (6474064 | 3061) - new recolour
  • 1x Mini-doll Torso Woman with Lavender Coat and Spotted Shirt Pattern in Light Nougat (6474066 | 73152)
  • 1x Mini-doll skirt with Light Nougat legs and Dark Bluish Grey Shoes in Brick Yellow/Tan (6474073 | 59794) 

At the mall

I suppose this set takes place indoors, and there's probably a glass roof over it; escalators rarely appear outside; at least not in northern climates. The overall shape is an L with a 45 degree angled central module. The best thing in this layout is the "architectural promenade" that takes the mini-dolls from the ground floor to the "roof" terrace via two escalator stairs, passing the shops on the second floor.

The right wing is considerably longer, but the left with has its escalator in its tip, balancing the mass. The central module has a waterfall with a wishing well and a koi fish is living in it. A somewhat cheesy architectural element, but fitting to this commercial environment.

There are a lot of colours in this model, but I think the effect is surprisingly harmonic. I think this is due to White walls and natural-looking Medium Nougat railings and window frames. The rounded corners further calm the building and prevent sharp shadows. I'm unsure if that's intentional, but it works well. It certainly looks more down-to-earth than the 2021 version.

The noodle shop on the roof terrace feels a bit minute, and some cooking equipment wouldn't have hurt. There are two tables along the terrace.

The escalators are the foremost play feature of this set. They move slowly by turning the grey ball joint with a worm gear as a transmission system to slow it down. However, as the gears in each end (57520) have a relatively large diameter, the stair segments will turn around it before reaching the top or bottom. Therefore, the mini-doll has to leap off about 2 metres before reaching the destined level, otherwise they'll first hit their head and then get their legs eaten by the machine. In other words, they'll offer hours of amusement to kids. And likely, to older hobbyists too. The Coral hand rails, while pretty, are also very high, reaching the doll's armpits.

The separate mini-build has an ice cream stand. The tree design is excellent and there's an identical one on the roof terrace. I hope they'll make the 4-module wide windscreen (81911) in opaque colours one day.

The shops, five total with two additional spaces, are open to the back. The angled joints look quite unfinished. The wing modules are connected with some Technic pins, which is good, but these connections also fall down easily if the whole mall is lifted by the middle part. That is, the lower Light Bluish Grey A-frame plates are on the bottom plate layer and not sandwiched properly into the structure. They only "hang" from the White 2x4 bricks by four studs both. Small thing, but doing it properly would have increased the model's stability.


The backside is far less serene than the front, but that is to be expected. The right wing includes a large hiking equipment store, a little garden shop and a public toilet, as this is, after all, a Friends set.

The left wing has a small toy shop and a slightly larger cosmetics store. The noodle shop seller is really living on the edge.

The hiking accessory store and the flower shop bring more down-to-earthness to the mall. The little gas burner is nice mini-build (but probably shouldn't be alight inside the store). The toilet bowl has handles as it's probably intended to be accessible, but as a person who's drawn hundreds of accessibility measurement circles into floors plans I can say that it doesn't quite fill the spatial requirements. But LEGO interiors are always very crammed, so I can let it slide. The Trans-Light Blue water puddle is rather realistic detail of a public toilet; it's fortunately not Trans-Yellow.

The back wall of the escalator looks unfinished. I don't think a White 1x4x3 panel instead of the Dark Bluish Grey one would have been too much to ask.

Irene's video game store is in the middle which is not an ideal angle for it as the cool lightning-shaped carpet is not visible. There is a cash machine on the ground floor, but this space seems very bare, like a basement, and is not connected to the main courtyard due to it being located behind the waterfall.

The cosmetics store downstairs is the most "stereotypically LEGO Friends" store in this mall. It looks quite bare, but I like the use of Bright Pink 1x1 round tiles with pins as powder makeup applicators. The upper floor has a toy story, which is the only venue here to feature a traditional cash register; other stores are strictly mobile and plastic payments only. But as we know, kids use pocket money, so taking in coins is essential in their favourite shop. Unfortunately, that unsightly Dark Bluish Grey panel is used here too.


There is a lot of going on in 42604 Heartlake City Shopping Mall. Fortunately, the colours are well chosen, earthing some of the fuzz, resulting in a surprisingly calm overall atmosphere. White, rounded walls and Medium Nougat window frames and railings are excellent choices that balance otherwise vibrant and almost random colours. Some of the interiors are a bit bare but suitable for play, so this shouldn't be a big issue to the target audience. The escalators are fun precisely because to their safety shortcomings. They certainly rock and roll. On the structural side, the model could be a bit sturdier as it's not easy to lift without the side wings falling off which wouldn't have been hard to fix in the design phase. 

US$119.99/ £104.99/119.99€/ AU$199.99 for 1237 parts including 7 mini-dolls is decent value. The new and rare parts are not extraordinary, but the assortment is not bad at all, boasting some pleasant colours. While not breathtaking, this new Mall improves over its precursors and keeps up the high standard of the rebooted LEGO® Friends theme.

READ MORE: LEGO® review: 40712 Micro Rocket Launch Pad - Gift with Purchase

Help New Elementary keep publishing articles like this. Become a Patron!

A huge thank you to all our patrons for your support, especially our 'Vibrant Coral' tier: London AFOLs, Antonio Serra, Beyond the Brick, Huw Millington, Big B Bricks, Dave Schefcik, David and Breda Fennell, Gerald Lasser, Baixo LMmodels, Sue Ann Barber and Trevor Clark, Markus Rollbühler, Elspeth De Montes, Megan Lum, Andy Price, Chuck Hagenbuch, Jf, Wayne R. Tyler, Daniel Church, Lukas Kurth (StoneWars) and Timo Luehnen! You folks are just the cutest little baby bows.

LEGO® Shop at Home
USA: FREE SHIPPING every day on orders over $35!
UK: Free delivery when you spend £50 or more at LEGO!
Australia: Discover the latest promotions and offers on LEGO.com

All text and images are © New Elementary unless otherwise attributed.


  1. All I care about are the new macaroni bricks. I have a observation train car that will use them in trans-clear.

  2. Nice review!

    While the color scheme of this set does come out looking nice, I sort of preferred the very well-organized color scheme of the last shopping mall set (which had lovely magenta/yellow/azure stripes along the walls, and floors in shades of purple that varied by floor).

    It's great to get another set with working escalators, even though we have yet to get a set that realistically "pairs" them (since escalators only work in one direction at a time, you'd need an up and down pair between each floor). Since the escalators could be geared together relatively easily I feel like that would make the function even more satisfying; I assume the only reason it hasn't happened yet has been a matter of budget (since parts used for additional escalators are parts that couldn't be used for the rest of the build).

    1. Phillip Thorne19 Feb 2024, 20:58:00

      I've been in multi-story malls (Bangkok's Central World and Silom Center) in which escalator-pairs are not adjacent; they're flattened into one layer on the edge of an atrium (and yes, finding the counterpart is an extra cognitive load when you're trying to exit the level). Since this set depicts only part of the mall, we can posit walking "around the curve" to reach the missing escalators.

  3. I like the commitment to having bionicle video games in the friends universe.

  4. Good review! I hadn't noticed that Victoria has a new expression in this set (in last year's sets she had a toothy grin instead of a subtler smirk).

    I love all the delightful details on this set's sticker sheet referencing other Friends sets and other LEGO themes:
    • Mysterious pop star Ley-La from last year's animated series and this year's sets is modeling lipstick for an ad in the cosmetic store
    • A billboard/poster advertises the karaoke venue from https://brickset.com/sets/42610-1/Karaoke-Music-Party
    • The video game on the game store's TV monitor is not only a Bionicle reference but potentially also a callback to the video game from https://brickset.com/sets/41755-1/Nova-s-Room
    • The Game On poster matches Nova's ghost T-shirt from https://brickset.com/sets/41741-1/Dog-Rescue-Van
    • The other poster outside the game store features a fun new variant of the Classic Space logo with a D20 die instead of a planet, presumably advertising a tabletop RPG.
    • One of the two action figures echoes the one from the prize wall in https://brickset.com/sets/41737-1/Beach-Amusement-Park.
    • I spotted the reference to this year's Mars set on one of the comic book covers, but I hadn't even noticed the mini mars rocket in the toy store until you pointed it out!

    I believe there are rumored to be some camping sets coming in the summer wave, and some of the stickers and accessories in this set also foreshadow that nicely. I am reminded of how https://brickset.com/sets/41118-1/Heartlake-Supermarket and foreshadowed the 2016 summer wave with stickered amusement park poster!

    With that in mind, I expect that the new kayak and paddle recolors will show up in at least one of those sets — it would be surprising for a kayak recolor to be introduced specifically for a set as indoor-focused as this one!

    It's rare to see minifig neck accessories shared with mini-dolls (due to their differently shaped and proportioned chins, necks, and shoulders), but this headset piece works quite well for that — although it doesn't fit snug between the head and shoulders, it's honestly more realistic for it to hang over the shoulders loosely like this.

    The mall build as a whole is very fun with its "green walls", dual escalators, and curved contours. I also love the potted tree construction and the color-coded floors which correspond to the mall directory sticker. The variety of stores and dining options is also nice, contrasting nicely with the variety in previous shopping mall sets while still feeling realistic for this type of setting. In general, the designers have continued to do an amazing job making sets for this generation of LEGO Friends that stand out from and surpass their predecessors!

  5. is the mention of "Trans-Medium Blue" a typo, or have they finally resurrected that from its retirement in 2018?

    1. It was a mistake. I often mix those two, mostly because Medium Blue is a common colour and Light Blue is not; and TMB is no more "medium" than TLB, whatever that means. TMB is a cold, icy colour, whereas TLB is more greenish. I'd like to call it Trans-Azure, which would be faster to type, too, and actually tell something about the colour.

      I think neither BL nor Lego colour names are very optimal - the names should be compact as well as unequivocal - we at New Elementary have to type Bright Bluish Green for a colour people know as "teal" quite often. No person ever walks into a building and notes that the wall has been painted Bright Bluish Green. But as no-one would like to get even more confused with a third set of colour names, we'll stick with Trans-Light Blue. I have fixed it - thanks for the heads-up and sorry for the venting.

  6. Curious how long this took to put together?