Minnesota’s Shopping Mecca
The Mall of America is a great winter destination. Really!
STORY: Hope S. Philbrick
In Bloomington, Minnesota, it’s 70 degrees year-round. Inside the Mall of America, that is. There’s no need to wait for summer to head to the country’s most famous shopping mall.
If you go now, you can enjoy the best travel prices. And you don’t have to worry about the cold and snow, because you can fly direct from Atlanta to Minneapolis and take the light rail straight into the mall: Train tickets start at $1.25, and you never even have to step outside!
Mall of America is one of the largest shopping and entertainment complexes in North America and the Midwest’s number one tourism attraction. Since opening in 1992, it has continually expanded to remain a one-stop destination with everything you need for a great vacation all under one roof.
Minnesota has no sales tax on clothing or shoes, a fact that helps lure more than 40 million visitors a year to the mall. It boasts more than 500 stores; if you were to spend just 10 minutes in each one, it would take you more than three days to complete your visit. There’s something for every shopper, from fashion to tech, toys to housewares, art to sporting goods. Familiar favorites such as Macy’s, L.L.Bean and Barnes & Noble are intermingled among unique shops such as Savage X Fenty (Rihanna’s line of lingerie), Alpaca Connection (100 percent alpaca products) and Vikings Locker Room (official NFL team gear). Buy a Mall of America coupon book for $9.95 for savings at hundreds of stores.
But great shopping isn’t the only reason to hit the mall. There are more than 50 dining options, from familiar chain restaurants to one-of-a-kind eateries offering everything from casual snacks to multi-course gourmet meals. The seven-acre Nickelodeon Universe theme park boasts 27 rides and attractions, including Barnacle Blast, the longest indoor zipline in North America. Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy hosts national acts. Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium is home to 19 species of sharks.
The 18-hole Moose Mountain Adventure Golf mini-course has an old-timey feel and whimsical Northwoods design. Solimar Spa offers pampering treatments. FlyOver America is a simulated flight experience. The Escape Game presents four different brain-teasing challenges. The new 14-screen CMX Cinemas boasts highend decor, cutting-edge audio technology, big reclining seats, gourmet dining plus wines and handcrafted cocktails. There’s even a chapel that’s hosted more than 8,500 weddings.
For a limited run in March 2019, the touring exhibit Candytopia will open its first Midwest location at the mall. The candy-coated experiential adventure features larger-than-life interactive art installations and sensory experiences, all made out of sweet treats.
If you go to Mall of America, be sure to bring your walking shoes. The property sprawls over 78 acres— the equivalent of 347 Statue of Liberties, 43 Boeing 747s or 9 Yankee Stadiums. And there’s land available to nearly double the size over the next 10 years. Construction is about to begin on a new waterpark slated to open in fall 2021. The $230 million world-class, fully enclosed water adventure will be connected directly to the mall and will create a tropical oasis with immersive discoveries for all ages and adventure levels.
You can even stay overnight without leaving the grounds, as both the Radisson Blu and JW Marriott Minneapolis are attached to the mall. Stay at either property and enjoy package pick-up service, the ultimate shopping convenience.
When it comes to entertainment options, it’s easy to see that the Mall of America rivals that of some small towns.