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Planning a Trip to the Mall of America
Imagine a place where you can try different foods from around the world, catch a movie, ride a rollercoaster, and shop among almost any high end and affordable store you can think of all in one place? At the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota you can do just that!
Since 1992, the Mall of America has been offering great food, shopping, and attractions that are great for the whole family. You will be sure to find something for everyone here!
Continue reading to find out everything you need to know to plan your next trip including parking, a rundown of the main attractions, great food choices, high end and affordable shopping options, one of a kind shops, and tips for navigating your next visit.
Have you ever been to the Mall of America?
As you arrive at the mall, the enormity of the building can initially feel overwhelming. With such a huge building, where’s one to park? Never fear – the malls gigantic parking garage actually makes it very easy to navigate.
As you pull into the parking garage, you can easily see the 4 large department stores that anchor the corners of the mall. That makes it easy to choose a parking spot next to the wing of your choice. If you are looking to simply explore the mall in its entirety simply choose a parking spot in the garage that works for you.
As you move through the garage, you will see several signs with colors and State names so you can easily remember in which section you parked your vehicle. During our last trip the mall, my husband and I parked in the red section in West Texas which was right next to the elevator that led us directly to the mall entrance.
While most people think shopping when they think about going to a mall, the Mall of America offers much more options than just spending your hard earned cash on retail. You can choose from several attractions including everything from seeing life sized Lego figurines to riding a rollercoaster! Check out the most popular attractions, below and find the one that speaks to you.
Formerly called “Camp Snoopy” the whole family will have a great time at Nickelodeon Universe, a theme park featuring everyone’s favorite Nickelodeon characters. You can ride rollercoasters, take part in thrilling rides or stop by the specialty shops and grab a snack as you make your way through the park.
CSI: The Experience
Are you a crime nerd or ever wonder what it would be like to have a career in Criminology, just like you see on your favorite crime shows like CSI? Access chemistry equipment to see what it’s like to conduct DNA or toxicology investigations, conduct special investigations, and present your findings!
Barbie The Dream House Experience
Did you ever dream of trying on Barbie’s clothes or frolicking through her dream house? Now you can in the Dream House Experience! Become a living doll as you try on makeup, clothes, enjoy the fireplace, or check out the bright pink Volkswagen.
If all the shopping, eating, and attractions leave you feeling tired or wanting to relax, catch a show in one of the several movie theaters.
Ever wonder what it would be like to pilot your own plane? Now you can in the Flight Simulator attraction. See what it’s like to be a pilot and soar above the clouds.
Sea Life Aquarium
Jellyfish, seahorses, turtles, fish, and sharks – oh my! Walk through the large underwater aquarium right in the middle of the mall! A fascinating look to life under the sea that people of all ages will enjoy.
Larger than life Lego characters come to life in the Lego area. You will find it fascinating how these large sea monsters, transformers and more were all built by hand, one lego at a time!
Moose Mountain Adventure Golf
Want to challenge your friends of family to a game of mini golf? Be sure to drop by Moose Mountain Adventure Golf.
If you don’t arrive at the mall with an appetite you will surely have one after all of the shopping and attractions you plan to visit during your trip. Whether you are looking for a nice place to sit down and enjoy a meal with a glass of wine, need to grab a quick bite to eat, are looking for an affordable bite, or have picky eaters in your family who all want something different, you will definitely find what you are looking for.
These are just some of the dining options you will have available as you make your way through the mall:
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
Buffalo Wild Wings
Hard Rock Cafe
High End Shopping
If you are like many of us, you probably don’t live in Beverly Hills or on Madison Avenue so your choices of high end shopping may be limited to what is available in your area. Sure, you can shop online, but online shopping does not give you the same opportunity to look, feel, and ask questions about the products in person.
At the Mall of America, you have a variety of high end, name brand shops within your reach so you do not have to wait to visit your favorite designers or travel very far to find everything you’re looking for in one place.
Whether you are looking to add a signature hand bag, a staple pair of shoes, a statement piece of jewelry, or a sharp outfit for a special event you have a variety of designers to choose from.
Below are just some of the many high end and designer names you will find as you browse the mall’s corridors:
BCBG MAX AZRIA
Even if you do not have the budget to spend a lot of money at the higher end stores, the window shopping is worth the trip down the wing to check out the beautiful designs or to help you start making a future wish list for an upcoming birthday or holiday!
If you are looking for more practical, every day wear or accessories, the mall is filled with affordable shops and options to enhance your wardrobe and home.
You can find several mid-priced and low priced stores usually offering great sales for everyone in the family. One great advantage of the wide variety is that if you’re shopping with the kids you will find a lot of stores to peak their interest and keep them patient while you step into a few shops to find something for yourself along the way.
Below is a list of some of the most popular affordable stores you can find as you browse through the mall, but keep in mind this list is just the tip of the iceberg!
In the mall’s 4 corners you will find 4 major department stores that span all 4 floors of the mall. Those department stores include:
The beauty of the department stores having been designed to anchor down the 4 corners of the mall is that shoppers may park outside any one of them and go into and in without having to navigate the entire belly of the mall.
If you are looking for a gift, need a new outfit, or are short on time, hitting one of the these 4 stores will surely give you anything you are looking for at your fingertips.
One of a Kind Shops
If you are traveling from out of the area and making the Mall of America part of your vacation or getaway you will not be disappointed with the one of a kind experiences the mall has to offer. In fact, there are specialty stores and experiences you won’t find anywhere else!
Below is a list of some of the most popular one of a kind stores you must put on your list when planning your visit. Check them out!
If you have a young girl in your family or were a fan of the books growing up, you’ve got to check out the American Girl store! Not only can you shop the endless selecting of dolls across 2 levels (including their never-ending selection of clothes, accessories, pets, and kits), but you can even bring in your own American Girl doll and get her hair done at the salon or taker her to lunch at their in-store café!
Is your daughter, niece, granddaughter, or special young girl in your life looking for the perfect outfit to match her American Girl? She can even purchase clothes for herself and her doll.
If you’re older than the average young girl shopping there or grew up reading the American Girls book series, be sure to stop by the top floor where they feature many of the classic dolls like Samantha, Rebecca, or Addy.
Unique gifts, sweaters, hats, bags, purses, blouses, slippers, gloves, and more are just some of the softest items you will ever feel in the Alpaca Connection shop.
Made completely out of alpaca hair, these are one of a kind gifts with a story behind them that are perfect for the holidays, a birthday or for yourself! Prices are extremely affordable and you will often find sales racks.
Browse the large selection of Harley-Davidson brand clothes for men, women, and kids including accessories for yourself or your bike.
From Tigger to Tinkerbell, you can find your favorite Disney character on T-shirts, sweatshirts, toys, gifts, home good, books, movies, and more!
Build A Bear
Looking for a special gift for a young person in your life or want to share a special experience with a son, daughter, niece, nephew, or grandchild? The Build a Bear Workshop is a fun experience for the whole family and one that people of all ages will enjoy.
There are 8 build stations where you can create a custom bear or stuffed animal friend. Choose their outfit, color, and take your new friend home for life!
Looking for a special souvenir to remember your trip to Minnesota? Love the rustic, outdoors and beautiful nature that only Minnesota can offer? You can find everything from loon figurines, wild rice soup mix, lindenberry jam, funny Scandinavian humor on T-shirts at one of several Minnesota themed shops with local goods.
Are you a modern guy or gal with old world sensibility? Do you enjoy the rockabilly and vintage culture? You must stop by Tatyana. All designs are inspired by the 1940s – 1960s so you can find the perfect party dress, blouse, wingtip shoes, and beautiful accessories that will take you back to the style of old Hollywood.
10 Things You Didn't Know about the MOA
Tips for Navigating
Stay organized and make the most of your visit with some of these tips I've learned from past visits:
Plan a large portion of time
With a mall this big, you are definitely going to need a good amount of time to ensure you are not rushed and have sufficient time to see everything you want to fit in during your visit. Plan at least half a day if not more, especially if you are visiting with more than one person so that everyone gets to hit the shops or attractions on their list.
What’s your priority?
Hundreds of stores and dozens of restaurants and attractions can make it difficult to decide exactly what you want to see. While you probably won’t have time to do everything on your list (unless you plan more than one day), you should decide what’s most important to you. During our last visit, my husband and I made a list of the stores we absolutely wanted to shop at and a list of those that we would like to see if we had time left over.
Map your route
If you’ve never been to the mall before, you will probably want to see as much as you can. In that case, it may be best for you to simply park at any entrance and walk through as much of the mall as you have time for, stopping by those shops or places you find most interesting as you make your way through.
If you are limited on time or want to only visit specific stores or attractions, grab a map or stop by one of the directories as soon as you get to the mall to plan the fastest routes with the least amount of walking to get where you need to go.
Keep the day of the week in mind
If at all possible, try to get to the mall during the week so as to avoid the large crowds that flock there during the weekend. The late morning/early afternoon on a week day is probably the best time to avoid crowds as it gets a little more crowded in the evenings as locals get off work.
Most importantly, make sure to have fun! Try some new food you’ve never had before or check out a ride you’ve never ridden or buy yourself a special treat. This is the perfect place to have new experiences and enjoy your time.