Mall of America is a massive shopping center located in Bloomington, Minnesota, just 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis. It’s the largest shopping mall in the United States and has a plethora of retail shops and activities covering four levels. Heading to a mall while visiting Minneapolis may not seem like something that should be at the top of your travel list, but Mall of America is far from your average shopping center. From fun and games to fashion and food, this mega mall is a top place to experience when in Minnesota.
Here are six reasons to visit the Mall of America:
1. The Shopping
Let’s state the obvious first. There is a lot of shopping to be found at the Mall of America: more 520 stores ranging from international chains to small stores with local flair line Mall of America’s many corridors. In fact, according to the Mall’s website FAQs, it would take 86 hours to visit every store in Mall of America – and that’s only spending 10 minutes in each store. The mall is also flanked by department store favorites, including Nordstrom, Macy’s and Sears.
As an added bonus, there’s no tax on clothing or shoes in Minnesota, so out-of-state and international visitors can save big versus shopping at home.
2. The Indoor Amusement Park
Mall of America is home to Nickelodeon Universe, a seven-acre indoor amusement park with roller coasters zigzagging up multiple stories to the ceiling. There is even a log chute water ride, but don’t worry, you won’t get too wet – this is Minnesota after all and going outside in zero-degree weather while you’re drenched doesn’t bode well. Nickelodeon Universe also has carnival-style game stations, rides and activities for little kids and popular Nickelodeon characters like SpongeBob SquarePants walking around.
3. Good Eats
Mall of America doesn’t just have your average mall food court. Instead, you can take a break from shopping and choose from a variety of fun and innovative restaurants to dine at. Rainforest Café is a great option for families as both kids and adults will delight in the “thunder” and “lightning” that sporadically happens throughout your meal. Hard Rock Café is a lively place to head for those looking for some good American cuisine and a refreshing alcoholic beverage. For those wanting to try some cuisine with a local twist, Twin City Grill has a delicious walleye entrée plus an array of other comfort food favorites. Have something else in mind? Not to worry — there are over 50 eateries to choose from.
4. Extreme LEGOs
With the success of the LEGO Movie, those little colorful stacking blocks are a hot item. While there’s a LEGOland theme park in Southern California, it’s expensive and too far away for many families. At Mall of America, you can experience some LEGO magic for free (well, besides the LEGO kit you’ll inevitably buy if you have a kid with you). The LEGO Store at Mall of America has impressively large animals and other figures built completely from LEGOs, including a 34-foot robot (well, technically, the LEGO robot actually has a non-LEGO core). Everything is awesome, indeed.
5. It’s a Doll’s World
If there’s a little girl in your life who’s obsessed with her American Girl doll or Barbie doll – or both – there’s magical excitement to be found at Mall of America. The American Girl Doll store has a doll hair salon plus a café that caters to dolls just as much as children.
6. Fun Under the Sea in Minnesota
Minnesota may be known for its freshwater lakes, but you can learn about the saltwater side of things, too, at Mall of America. Discover more about that natural wonders found beneath the surface of the ocean at the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium. You’ll have the chance to see sharks, eels, starfish, jellyfish and many colorful fish and other sea creatures in an educational setting. The aquarium also has an interactive component, including a 12,000 gallon Ray Pool where you can touch sting rays as they glide past.