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 25 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"
TOP 10 MUST-SEE
1. To take advantage of tax-free clothing: H&M, Zara, Forever 21 and A'Gaci: Fast-Fashion stores, cheap and trendy.
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.
3. For the kid in all of us: The Lego Store. Free to walk through. Fun to look at. Great thing to do with kids, or even those who act like one.
4. Restaurants: Kokomo's, Famous Daves (A Minnesota original), Crave or Rainforest Cafe. Really fun and memorable restaurants. For a quick fix: Noodles & Company (their mac and cheese is amazing!), Shake Shack or The Magic Crepe Stand
5. Dessert: Freeziac Frozen Yogurt. 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. For the 10 year old girl in all of us: American Girl Place. It's located inside of Nickelodeon Universe.
7. For the LOLZ: Alpaca Adventures, Minnesot-ah!, Love from Minnesota!
All great for Minnesota souvenirs & Minnesota tourists in general. And a laugh (at our expense).
Some other local themed stores are Debut as well as
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!
3 Things to Skip
1. Sealife Aquarium: There are other aquariums in town. Plus many think it's too expensive.
2. Theatres at MOA. Why go to a movie? You can do that anytime.
3. Discover the Dinosaurs. Unless you are really into Dinosaurs, this is one to skip. It is located outside one of the two food courts and has been many things over the years (including mini-golf). (Seen again in the Mary-Kate and Ashley video)
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.
The road outside the mall is under construction so plan out route in advance.
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. Also, if you have kids, go to the nearby Waterpark of America, Minnesota's largest indoor waterpark http://www.waterparkofamerica.com/ and stay at the hotel there.
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.
Here's another post I've done on Minneapolis places to go!