What to REALLY do at the Mall of America (From a Local) +Tips
Disclaimer: Many of these are my personal favorites and include many opinions "From a Local" meaning this is what me "as a local" spend my time doing. I use the MOA as my mall to go shopping above anything else and these are the places I frequent as a 27 year old female. Just wanted to share that these are what I would go and do, and may not be the opinion of all! Thanks and continue.
So you've decided to visit the Mall of America for the first time. Good for you! It's one of the largest malls in the country (and the world!) and it's on the bucket list of many people. However, for those of us who live within close proximity of the mall, it has always been apart of our lives and really not that big of a deal, as personally it is just a place I buy clothes.
Fun Fact: The Mall of America and I share a birthday! August 11 (Me in 1991, the mall in 1992)
It's a great place to grow up going to. I have spent many a birthday party shopping with friends and eating at Rainforest Cafe, and also doing scavenger hunts with friends (ex. who can find the biggest teddy bear in the mall, take a picture high-fiving a stranger, etc..).
So, from a local, these are the places that I would deem "must see"
Hotels & Transportation:
There are two hotels connected to the mall
Radisson Blu & J W Marriott Mall of America. But there are many other options here
Have kids? I recommend the Great Wolf Lodge down the street, as it also has an indoor waterpark.
From the airport or downtown, you can take the metro transit http://metrotransit.org/ride-light-rail
Most hotels offer free shuttles to the mall as well!
You can also uber/lyft to the north end of the mall. They have an official partnership with Uber
TOP 10 MUST-SEE
1. Clothes (Tax free!)
H&M, Zara, Forever 21 and A'Gaci: Fast-Fashion stores, cheap and trendy.
Other awesome stores include: Altar’d State, Ragstock
Walgreens (with Birchbox)
2. For the thrill-seekers:
Nickelodeon Universe. Take a walk through the gigantic indoor theme park. Just know that each ride costs around $4-6 (and doesn't last very long) and unless you are a kid or a huge lover of rides, an all-day wrist band isn't worth the high cost ($32). Rides to try out: Carousel, Log Chute, SpongeBob Square Pants Rock Bottom Plunge, Fairly Odd Coaster.
Zip lining at Nick Universe
The Lego Store. Free to walk through. Fun to look at. Great thing to do with kids, or even those who act like one.
There are two main areas to eat, the North Side Food Court and the South Side Food Court/South Street Dining (row of large restaurants). If you want something more upscale, head to south side. If you want a quick bite, head to North Side.
South Side: Kokomo's, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Crave or Rainforest Cafe. Really fun and memorable restaurants.
North Side: Shake Shack or Wahlburgers
Freeziac Frozen Yogurt. Wonders. Also, Pinkberry is inside Macy's. If you don't like Fro-Yo, try Cupcake (a cupcake shop). Coldstone is a classic favorite. Or just be taken in by the aromas of Cinnabon (a mall classic)
6. Makeup Stores: Riley Rose, Morphe, NYX,
7. Local Love: Minnesot-ah!, Love from Minnesota!, Fourpost
8. Stationary: Typo & Paper Source.
I love stationary so these stores are a must go every time I'm at the mall.
9. For the Hipsters in the group: Urban Outfitters.
A really large space that has many odd gift ideas and always makes me laugh. This was the former site of FAO Schwartz Toy Store, (RIP!). The creepy face tree that was in the store (I just found out), is now inside the Rainforest Cafe.
10. Fly Over America.
Recently opened, I cannot wait to be able to fly over america in a simulated movie/ride experience!
Things to Skip
Sealife Aquarium: There are other aquariums in town. Plus many think it's too expensive.
Mini Golf. Unless you are really into mini-golf, this isn’t a great one to go to
Go on a weekday if possible. Less people, more parking spaces. Also, don't go in the summer or during Christmas, it is packed.
Get the MOA official App. There is free wifi all over the building!
Know if a speaker or singer is going if you want to see them (or avoid the crowd). Here's an example from Mall Cops: Mall of America.
Take a photo of your parking spot and remember which side of the building you came from (The whole place is symmetrical)
Have a plan and look up locations first and store them on your phone (I know where in the mall most of my stores are, but you won't!)
All stores have numbers on top (like E343) which designates which side (East, North, South, West), and the floor number (343 is on the third floor)
Nearby: Go to Ikea, right across the street. If you haven't been before go, if you have, it's pretty much the same as most other Ikeas.
It's so awesome-even the mighty ducks loved it! (Below)
In conclusion, the mall is a great place to go and really fun for first-timers. Just know you will be tired and overstimulated by the end of the day.
Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions to add.