Last updated on February 18th, 2021 at 05:23 pm
Have you ever been to the Mall of America? As you probably know, it is SO much more than a mall! It’s a destination, attracting about 40 million visitors every year from all over the world–yes, I said 40 million every year! Four out of ten visitors are tourists, with millions of people from all over the world visiting each year.
I was lucky enough to live in Minneapolis when the Mall of America opened in nearby Bloomington, Minnesota in 1992, and it was big news. Even though I don’t live there anymore, my family is still in Minnesota, so we go back often. I think we’ve squeezed in a visit to “MOA” on just about every visit. My kids love it, and as they’ve gone from preschoolers to college-age young adults, there is still plenty for them to see and do.
If you’re wondering what’s so special about the Mall of America, here’s why you need to visit–
The Mall of America has more than 520 stores
At the time of this post, there are over 520 stores in the Mall of America, so whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it at this mall, along with lots of things you’ve never even thought of. If you love to shop, this is where you need to be. And more good news, there’s no sales tax on clothes or shoes in Minnesota!
Mall of America Restaurants
You’ll get hungry after all that shopping, and you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to food at the Mall of America,with over 50 dining options. From snacks to fast food to sit down restaurants, MOA has something for every taste and budget–even the famous Carlo’s Bakery! In our family, we can never all agree on the same thing, so we each get our favorites, and meet back at one of the food courts.
Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America
Now, on to the really fun stuff–let’s start with Nickelodeon Universe! Photos can’t do it justice. You have to experience it for yourself, but I can tell you that Nickelodeon Universe is its own little amusement park right inside the mall, complete with sidewalks, trees, and of course, rides! There are activities and rides for all ages. The last time we were there, Nickelodeon characters were posing for photos with the children, so follow MOA on Twitter or Facebook to keep up-to-date on the latest events.
Our Favorite Things to do at the Mall of America
— SEA LIFE® Minnesota Aquarium
The SEA LIFE® Minnesota Aquarium is on the lower level of the Mall of American and definitely worth a visit. You don’t want to miss taking a walk through the 1,200,000-gallon tunnel that’s home to thousands of aquatic creatures, including a large collection of sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and freshwater fish. Go to the Sea Life website to see when the free creature talks are given and to find out about discounts on your Sea Life ticket.
— Flyover America
This might be my favorite thing ever at the Mall of America. FlyOver America is a flight simulation ride that takes you on a breathtaking, aerial tour of some of the greatest landmarks and regions throughout the United States in virtual flight technology. This is a completely immersive experience including wind, mist, and even scents. Aerial tour doesn’t mean a “plane” tour, you feel more like a bird. I can’t recommended this experience highly enough. By the way, the oldest person to ever ride on a FlyOver attraction was 104 years old!
— The Escape Game
The Escape Game is an immersive 60-minute adventure! Your team will choose from five themes: escape prison, explore space, take part in a heist, and more. You’ll have 60 minutes to crack codes, uncover clues, solve puzzles and complete a mission.
Our family chose the “gold rush” theme, and I’m sorry to say, we did not escape. We had a lot of fun trying though, and we all worked together as a team so well! I would love to do this again.
— The LEGO Store
My boys have always loved LEGOs, so the LEGO Store was one of our favorite stops when we’d visit the Mall. There’s a LEGO play area outside the store, which is always full of children and parents. It’s a great place to sit down, take a break, and let the kids burn off some energy. When my boys were young, there were two ramps in the play area for racing the LEGO cars you built. It’s been a favorite forever!
The Mall of America is always innovating and bringing new attractions and entertainment to visitors. Several years ago, when the Wii was new on the market, MOA was offering demonstrations, so my kids were able to try it before it was widely available. One year, you could play Double Dare, just like on the Nickelodeon TV show! Make sure to check out Mall of America’s Entertainment page to see all there is to do and this page for MOA special events. I haven’t mentioned the Crayola Experience yet, but it is hugely popular too! If you have younger kids, don’t miss it.
On a more recent visit, we saw a 5,000 square-foot art installation in progress. (Read more about the artist, Eric Rieger, known as HOTTEA, and the yarn art installation here.)
Another example of the diverse attractions you’ll find at Mall of America–years ago, on a very quick visit to the mall, I walked into one of the entrances, and ran right into an exhibit of Princess Diana’s gowns! I was visiting from out of town and had no idea it was happening. I didn’t have time to buy a ticket and wait for the next time I could enter the exhibit, as there were scheduled times. Of course, I was disappointed. These old cell phone photos are all I have to show for that experience. Now I plan ahead to see what events are happening at the Mall when I’m going to be in town.
There is so much to do and see at the Mall of America, it’s a little mind-boggling. Here are a few more cool facts about the Mall–
- The Mall of America has 5.6 MILLION square feet of gross building area. That’s as much as: nine Yankee Stadiums, 174 Taj Mahals, or 103 White Houses.
- More than 50 hotels are located within 10 minutes of Mall of America and offer complimentary shuttle service. Two hotels are attached to the Mall.
- MOA does not use a central heating system; instead, 70 degrees is maintained year-round with passive solar energy from 1.2 miles of skylights and heat generated from lighting, store fixtures, and body heat
- More than 30,000 live plants and 300 live trees act as natural air purifiers within MOA
- Mall of America hosts more than 400 events a year, ranging from concerts, to celebrity appearances and fashion shows.
- As I mentioned, each year, 40 million people from around the world visit the mall. That generates nearly $2 billion each year in economic impact for the state.
- Mall of America contributes an average of $25,000 every day in cash, products, and in-kind support to charities and non-profits. Contributions to their community partners total more than $12 million annually.
So, what are you waiting for? You need to add the Mall of America to your list of places to go this year. It’s the perfect family destination. It makes a great winter getaway too. Make sure to check out this link to find out about MOA’s attraction passes and more.
And, if you’re looking for other things to do in the Twin Cities (as if you need anything else), check out this post–What to do and Where to Stay in Minneapolis-St. Paul (and Around Minnesota).
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