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Shopping at the Mall of America

For years, I have been trying to figure out what it is about the “Mall of America” that gets me excited. It’s just a Mall right? Well, they have pulled off the ultimate “Stay, Play, and Eat” all in one spot without taking a step outside. Sure, theme parks do it every day, but all under one roof? It’s surely a sensory overload, and don’t call me Shirley. I am here to shed some light on why I love to shop there, my trip there of recent, and why it’s just a cool place to see at least once in your life.

The Mall of America opened it’s doors on August 11th, 1992 by the Triple Five Group who also owned the largest Mall in North America. They started with 330 Stores and vendors and have now grown to 880 as of 2023. The concept of the mall was four floors stacked in a rectangular shape, using the top floor for entertainment such as movie screenings and activities. They are also very known for hosting large events in their famous rotunda, along with the entire Mall. I have attended a Scrapbooking Event that took over the entire first floor hallways with tables full of fun workshops for page ideas- it was great!  In the rotunda, Kyra and I waited to meet a Children’s Author to get an autograph for my Mom so she could put it with the doll she had. (Funny side story here, the author tripped on stage right before we walked up, we all had a moment, she was ok, but it was one of those “had to be there”).  Many concerts, celebrity events, etc. happen here, so always check out their activities calendar if you are in the area.

This past trip, Craig and I stayed at the attached hotel, the JW Marriott, to the Mall- INCREDIBLE stay which you can read about HERE. It made going there all weekend so much more convenient and I have to say, so much more FUN!! We weren’t worried about driving home, the crowds, if we had enough time. Literally at one point we looked at each other and said “Wow, I am tired, want to take a nap and come back?” Yes!! The man of my dreams! You know you are living you best middle age life when a nap seems more exciting than checking out the tricopoplats of Malls, but it was. And honestly, it was like half an hour, and it recharged us to walk around and play even longer in the mall, so totally worth it.

If you are a first timer, I highly suggest a couple of things. One, wear comfortable shoes. This isn’t the Grammys, your toes are going to be BLEEDING if y’all think wearing high heels for hours are going to be remotely comfortable. That also being said, take breaks, use escalators and elevators whenever possible, and pace yourself. The Mall is like a Marathon, it’s ALL in how you pace. I don’t think there is really a rhyme or reason to exploring the RIGHT way, most people start on the floor they come in from the parking garage or where the drop off area is on the first floor from the road. I would say that if you are considering anything “extra” from shopping and dining, to do that FIRST. Sea Life, which I will post about at a later date, is an aquarium located in the basement, and then you have the former Camp Snoopy, now Nickelodeon Universe. As you probably know, this Mall has an Amusement park smack dab in the center of it all.  If just visiting for a day, I would recommend doing a half day on the rides or aquarium and the other half shopping. It’s better to make it at LEAST two days if you are planning to see it all.

Yes, they have stores, and LOTS of them. If you have shopped your local Mall, I am sure it is here as well. In fact, the Mall is so big that you will see a couple of stores repeated on different floors. They didn’t get you on the first floor? Well, here it is again on the third. Genius honestly, who wants to retrace their steps at the biggest Mall? To even remember where you saw it, hours before in your day, is another fun game. Basically, I use the Nickelodeon Universe as my map for finding my way back to things. The Ferris wheel can be easily seen on one end of the Mall, so I use that as one of my “You are Here” spots. It has only been of recent that I have started to find my way around the mall with a bit more confidence- and I have been going for years, it’s just that big! (That’s what she said).

And the food? Oh, my goodness the food! Craig and I have enjoyed an Anniversary here one year, eating at “Famous Daves” on the third floor, which was eventually replaced. I tried out “Sugar” on my last road trip, which is the restaurant chain started by the Kardashians. Fun place with crazy bright lighting, colorful foods, and everything known to spark your sweet tooth. This last trip we really enjoyed “Cadillac Ranch” which was a BBQ place, complete with a bull riding area. Check out our review HERE. Many sit-down restaurants, and several food courts can be found as well. They also have single stops spread across the mall, so once again, you don’t have to get your Orange Julius on the top floor while shopping on the bottom. I feel they did a really good job of spreading everything out to make it as convenient as possible, knowing people would be sick of walking after a while.

They have added so much over the years, it’s always something new when we come back for a visit. Sadly, this past year, they had two shootings in the Mall, so with everything, be careful. Know your exits, study the map before going shopping, the Mall doesn’t have metal detectors walking in. Yes, they have security, and before the shootings, I never felt unsafe there. Now a days, it’s about keeping an eye out no matter where you go, and just being on high alert of your surroundings at all times. The Mall does attract a lot of people, and when it gets busy, it can be a cattle call of craziness. Please, be safe.

That all being said, of course we will be back. Craig and I love looking at the Legos Store and pretending we would actually complete one of the cool projects some day LOL. We also loved the Disney Store, now gone, may it rest in peace. We don’t ride the rides much anymore, it was a thing more with our kids when they were little. BUT we do enjoy watching other lose their ever-loving crap on them, you couldn’t pay me to ride some of their insane ones. Ysou can find me in line to see Spongebob. Yes, the Mall even has Character greetings. Basically a cheap knock off of a Disney theme park, but with more stores. It’s a great alternative for something to do on a weekend in one of the coldest States in the U.S., located in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Easy to get to, parking garage has plenty of room, get there early to get closest to one of the mall entrances. They do have surrounding parking lots, and now there is an IKEA located outside the Main Entrance where you find the famous marquee sign. And if that looks familiar, you might have seen it at Christmas time. The film “Jingle all the Way” was filmed here, being a location of one of the toy stores that Arnold Schwarzeneggers character looks for “Turbo Man” at. Speaking of, not only do we quote this movie way to much as a family, I bought us our OWN Turbo Man this year for Christmas as a gag gift we would have to regift each other every Christmas. Yes, we are THAT family, a bunch of nerds. LOL

Basically treat the Mall of America like a day at the theme parks. Have a strategy, bring plenty of snacks, comfortable shoes, pack all of your patience, have a full breakfast for energy, and pick up a guide map on the way in for directions as well as safety. Have a great time and as Robin sang on “How I Met Your Mother” – see you at the Mall!

****Side note, thanks to EVERYONE who have donated to my hard work. This is what I do for a living, and it is a passion for me, so tossing me a couple bucks below helps me SO MUCH with everything needed. If you can’t, please consider subscribing to the blog, LIKING the blog post, and sharing any content you enjoy– it helps me out SOOOO much! I love being able to bring you all these amazing places so that YOU can do them as well. I work mostly on donations so thanks again.

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