20 Mall of America Tips from a Local (plus Things to Do)!
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Intro: Mall of America Tips
If I had to count the number of times I’ve been to the Mall of America in Minnesota, we’d be here all day! Growing up in Northern Minnesota during my childhood, my family and I would trek to the Mall of America for our yearly school shopping long weekend and Mall of America vacation. These Mall of America vacation tips have been multiple decades in the making!
Later on in my life when I lived in the Twin Cities, I would periodically go to the mall for an event or if friends were visiting from out of state. So, I’ve been many many times and want to be sure you have a great time at the large mall located in Minnesota. Read on for more information in my Mall of America travel guide.
As the marketing slogan stated (this brings a lot of nostalgia btw), “The place for fun in your life, Mall of America!” Let’s talk more about the logistics and tips to ensure you have a great visit whether you’re going for one day or multiple days.
Mall of America Facts
The Mall of America is a large mall located in the Southern suburb of the Twin Cities metro area of Minnesota in Bloomington. The official address of the mall is 60 E Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425.
Prior to becoming what it is today and before it opened in 1992, the site was the former Metropolitan Stadium (prior home to the MLB team, the Minnesota Twins.) The Twins now play downtown Minneapolis at Target Field. When you visit, be sure to seek out the plaque within Nickelodeon Universe that commemorates where home plate used to be in its former life!
Visiting the largest retail shopping mall in North America with so much to do and see is something that is on many out-of-state tourists’ bucket lists. Not to mention the mall usually hosts over 400 events each year so there’s always something going on.
Minnesota is known usually for a few things, one of them is the Mall of America and the second is the Minnesota State Fair! You could combine the two for a great vacation to the Twin Cities.
How to get to Mall of America
There are many different ways to get to the Mall of America. Read on to determine what way will work best for you when you visit!
The easiest way to get to the Mall of America from nearby states or another location in Minnesota is by car. Parking is free onsite, it’s just a matter of finding a parking spot!
Mall of America has a huge parking facility with over 12,000 spaces available. This means that finding a spot shouldn’t be too difficult. Sometimes on the weekends or when large events are taking place that can definitely be a dicey situation!
There are two parking ramps attached to the Mall of America. The West Parking ramp and East Parking ramp.There is also additional overflow parking that’s a little farther away. But located on the other side of Lindau Ln is the North Parking Lot. There is also another parking lot located on the South side of the mall along Killebrew Dr.
The Mall of America is also close to the MSP (Minneapolis/St. Paul) international airport. The light rail transit links the Mall of America, MSP airport as well as downtown Minneapolis. If you’re ever on a long layover at MSP airport, you can just pop over to the mall if you have time! You can also check out breweries on a brewery crawl along the light rail transit line.
Metro transit buses that have routes throughout the Twin Cities area will drop passengers off at the transit station located at 24th Avenue. 24th Avenue is along the East side of the Mall of America.
If you’re staying in a nearby hotel, some offer free shuttle services to the mall! Read on for information on where you should stay when planning a trip to Mall of America.
If you’re getting dropped off by a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft, there are designated pick-up and drop-off zones at the Mall of America. The drop-off locations include at the North Entrance (on Lindau Lane), at the JW Marriott, at the Radisson Blu, the West Parking ramp, or the East Parking ramp.
Where to stay when visiting Mall of America
There are two onsite hotels that are actually connected to the Mall of America, Radisson Blu & JW Marriott.
Location is everything right? The Radisson Blu Mall of America has it all! It’s connected to the world-famous Mall of America via skyway which means shopping and entertainment options are just a hop, skip and jump away. Plus, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is only 4 miles away from here making it extremely convenient for travelers.
Now let’s talk about the rooms – they are spacious and well-appointed with modern amenities like free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges and coffee makers. They also have floor-to-ceiling windows that offer stunning views of either downtown Minneapolis or Mall of America (MOA).
Located within the Radisson Blu, FireLake Grill House and cocktail bar is a destination in itself! Enjoy delicious farm to table cuisine and thoughtfully crafted cocktails with a great ambiance.
If you’re planning a trip to Bloomington, Minnesota and looking for a luxurious place to stay, the JW Marriott Hotel is an excellent option. Situated in the heart of Bloomington, this hotel boasts exceptional amenities and world-class services that are sure to make your stay unforgettable.
Let’s start with the rooms. The JW Marriott offers 342 luxurious guest rooms and suites that are elegantly designed with modern furnishings and plush bedding. Each room features a flat-screen TV, high-speed internet access, and a spacious bathroom with premium toiletries.
If you’re someone who likes to stay active during their travels, then you’ll love the fitness center at this hotel. Equipped with state-of-the-art cardio and weight training equipment, it’s perfect for anyone who wants to maintain their workout routine while on vacation.
Other Hotels close to Mall of America
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Minneapolis Bloomington/Mall of America
This hotel is located just minutes away from the famous Mall of America at 2401 American Blvd E, Bloomington, MN 55425. That means shopping and entertainment are right at your fingertips! Plus, if you’re headed to the airport (MSP), it’s only a short drive away.
The Fairfield Inn & Suites has a modern and cozy vibe with comfortable beds that will make you want to snuggle up and stay awhile. There are both standard rooms and suites available depending on your needs. And don’t worry about staying connected while you’re here – each room comes equipped with free Wi-Fi. They also offer a complimentary breakfast buffet.
TownePlace Suites by Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America
Let me start off by saying that this hotel is not your average chain hotel. It’s designed with extended stays in mind and offers spacious suites with separate living areas, fully equipped kitchens, and free Wi-Fi. So if you’re looking for a home away from home while exploring the Mall of America or conducting business in the area, this is definitely the spot for you.
The location of TownePlace Suites couldn’t be any better – it’s literally right across the street from the mall! Located at 2500 Lindau Ln, Bloomington, MN 55425.
AC Hotel by Marriott Bloomington Mall of America
This hotel is located just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Mall of America at 8100 26th Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55425. So if you’re planning on doing some serious shopping or taking your family to experience the largest indoor theme park rides at Nickelodeon Universe, this hotel is an ideal place to stay.
The AC Hotel offers sleek and modern guest rooms that are designed with comfort and convenience in mind. Each room features free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, plush bedding, and a mini-refrigerator – everything you need for a comfortable stay.
If you’re looking for something extra special during your visit, consider booking one of their luxurious suites. These suites come complete with separate living area!
Element Bloomington Mall of America
The location is unbeatable! Located at 2400 E 82nd St, Bloomington, MN 55425. It’s literally right across from the Mall of America – one of the largest malls in the United States! So if you’re a shopaholic or just want to explore all that this mall has to offer, then staying at the Element Bloomington Mall of America is a no-brainer. But shopping aside, let’s talk about what makes this hotel so special.
For starters, it’s eco-friendly! That means they use sustainable materials and practices to reduce their carbon footprint while still providing top-notch accommodations for guests.
And speaking of accommodations, they have everything you need for a comfortable stay. Their rooms are spacious and modern with sleek designs.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Minneapolis Mall of America
Located just minutes away from the famous Mall of America at 2415 E Old Shakopee Rd Suite A, Bloomington, MN 55425, the Home2Suites offers all the amenities you need for a pleasant and relaxing stay. Let me tell you more about what makes this hotel special.
First, let’s talk about the rooms themselves. They are spacious and modern with all the comforts of home. Each room comes equipped with a fully-equipped kitchenette including a microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher, dishes and utensils – perfect for those who like to do their own cooking while on vacation.
Additionally, each room has free Wi-Fi access so you can easily stay connected during your stay. Another great feature of this hotel is its complimentary breakfast buffet! You can fuel up and head over to the Mall of America for days worth of fun.
Best Western Plus Bloomington Hotel
Located at 1901 Killebrew Dr, Bloomington, MN 55425 just south of Mall of America makes this a great location.
This hotel boasts comfortable and spacious rooms that are perfect after a long day of exploring. Each room comes equipped with modern amenities like flat-screen TVs, high-speed internet access, and plush bedding.
But what really sets this hotel apart is its convenient location. It’s just minutes away from popular attractions like the Mall of America. Plus, it’s located near several major highways making it easy to get around town.
The Best Western Plus Bloomington Hotel also has plenty of on-site amenities to keep you entertained during your stay. Take a dip in their heated indoor pool or break a sweat in their fitness center.
Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Minnesota
Located at 1700 American Blvd E, Bloomington, MN 55425. Only a short drive away from the Mall of America. If you have kids, this would make the ultimate family vacation. Great Wolf Lodge has a full indoor waterpark the whole family can enjoy. Especially in the winter or when the weather outside is less than desirable Great Wolf Lodge is a great place to stay!
Hampton Inn Suites Minneapolis St Paul Arpt-Mall of America
Located at 2860 Metro Dr, Bloomington, MN 55425 this hotel is convenient to both the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport and the Mall of America. Hampton Inn and Suites is located a little north of Mall of America, closer to the 494 freeway making access to MSP and downtown Minneapolis all attainable.
There are many more hotels along the 494 freeway near both the Mall of America and the Minneapolis/ St. Paul airport. Search using the tool listed below:
Mall of America Tips & Tricks
1) Go early
The earlier you go to the mall the less hectic it will be. Going earlier or later are always the best times of the day for the smallest crowds. Mid day will always be the busiest (especially on the weekends.)
2) Check hours
Hours vary so be sure you know the current hours of the Mall of America when you’re planning on going. Even though the mall may open, some stores and restaurants might have varying hours as well. If there are things you want to be sure to do, be prepared! The best time to visit, if possible is during the week & earlier in the day.
3) Plan your visit
Whether you’re visiting for one day or several days be sure to have a general plan. Where are you eating, are you shopping and then going to a movie or taking your kids to the amusement park? Having a plan of attack will make the trip a lot more enjoyable for your whole party.
The Mall of America hosts many events throughout the year. This could have a significant impact on the amount of people there. So, definitely look up any events that may be occurring at the time you plan to visit. This can be found on the Mall of America app.
5) Plan by floor
Maybe the first day you’re going to focus on certain floors or certain activities, whatever makes sense for you! But, having a rough plan by floor is the best way to not get overwhelmed.
[Keep in mind, the mall is constantly changing so these are just generalizations.]
In general here are the different floors explained:
- Floor 1: Most of the activities and family friendly things are on floor 1. For Example, you access Nickelodean Universe from the bottom floor. As well as Build a bear and Lego Land.
- Floor 2: Mostly retail stores and shopping
- Floor 3: The food court where you can grab a quick bite is located on this floor. It is right up from Nickelodean Universe. Crayola experience & Mini golfing is located on this floor.
- Floor 4: Level four has the movie theater, The Fair on 4, The comedy club, and other gaming opportunities.
6) Meet up spot
If you’re going to the mall with a group, be sure to designate a meeting point in case you get separated. If you haven’t done that, also knowing where you parked and entered the mall is important to not get turned around.
Purchasing tickets for experiences you’re sure you want to have while at the mall in advance is a great idea! Sometimes there will be online discount codes for pre-booking available.
8) Go Hungry!
There are so many places to eat at the Mall of America. From casual snack kiosks, to quick bites at the two food courts and actual sit down restaurants you’re sure to find something that suits your cravings.
9) Travel light!
Don’t bring a lot of unnecessary baggage or items with you as you’ll be lugging it all over the mall. Bring a small bag or crossbody if needed and free your hands so you can fill them with shopping bags!
10) Don’t overdress
Don’t get me wrong, it gets cold in Minnesota! But, even if you’re visiting in the cold of winter, you won’t want to have to lug your jacket around with you. Trust me, I’ve made this mistake before and been super sweaty then went outside where it was cold. Leave your jackets and thick clothing either in your hotel or car instead of bringing it in with you.
11) Wear comfortable shoes
You’ll be doing a lot of walking so it’s best to wear comfortable walking shoes. The only exception to this might be if you’re staying at one of the onsite hotels and going to dinner, but still you’ll probably have to walk a considerable distance.
If you drove, remember where you parked. When parking in the parking ramps, there are “landmark signs” stating things such as “P5 East New York” which will help. I usually park in the same general areas if possible, but taking a photo of these markers is a good thing to do so you don’t have to remember off the top of your head.
13) Parking Ramp
Everyone usually tries to park as close to the ground floor as possible. But, if you continue to the higher levels of the parking ramp you usually can park way closer to the doors to enter the mall.
If you’re under 18, ensure you have your ID with you (also if you’re over 18 and if you want a cocktail!) After a certain time unaccompanied minors aren’t allowed. Be prepared to prove your age if asked by police or security personnel. This is to ensure you’re following the parental escort policy.
15) Sales tax
Minnesota doesn’t charge sales tax on clothing, so be ready to shop until you drop! Unlike some states, these items in Minnesota aren’t taxed. Most other states they are so it’s a great opportunity to go on that shopping spree you’ve been wanting to!
16) MOA app
There’s literally an app for everything! Including the Mall of America. Download the MOA mobile app to find stores, restaurants and attractions while at the mall.
17) Coupon book
The Mall of America coupon book can save you considerable money depending on what your plans are while at the mall. The coupon book is just under $10 and provides savings across many attractions, stores and activities at the mall.
18) Rentable items
You can rent a locker to store your jackets, bags or belongings in. But additionally you can rent a motorized wheelchair, stroller, or shopping cart from guest services within the Mall of America
19) People watch
The Mall of America is a busy bustling place. Take some time to just chill, hang out, sit back and just people watch.
20) Store Numbers
When looking on the directory there will be a “store number” for example 350E or E350. (I can’t remember which exact one it is but you get the idea!) This means it’s on the third level and the store number is 350 on the East side of the mall. So, when you’re planning what stores to go to keep this in mind! The numbers are located on the glass when you look up toward the ceiling of the storefront, usually in one of the corners.
Things to do: Mall of America guide
There are so many things to do at the Mall of America! (The most obvious of those is shopping!) Since Minnesota doesn’t charge sales tax on clothing if you’re from a state that does it’s a great opportunity to prepare for the next season by purchasing some new clothes.
Other things to do at Mall of America are listed below:
SeaLife Minnesota Aquarium
An indoor aquarium featuring sharks, fish and a 300 ft long tunnel.
Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park
The Nickelodeon Universe theme park within the Mall of America consists of seven-acres in the center of the mall. It is an atrium area filled with amusement park rides including a roller coaster and log chute ride. (This was formerly known as Camp Snoopy prior to 2008.)
Located on floor four of the Mall of America. Featuring different movies and showtimes. Some can be booked in advance.
Open Tuesday through Sunday the comedy club has showtimes for adults only! Featuring food, drinks, and hopefully laughs as well! Experience comedy at Mall of America.
Formerly Legoland is an interactive Lego experience that’s fun for all ages! As well as having the ability to build a LEGO creation, there are many LEGO sets for retail sale to continue the fun at home.
Build a Bear Workshop
Located on the first floor is the build a bear workshop where you can custom make a cuddly best friend to bring home with you. There are even party packages where you can celebrate your little ones birthday or event here.
There are a few different mini golf experiences available in the Mall of America. The Moose Mountain Adventure golf or the Rock of Ages Blacklight mini golf. Both are located on the third floor. Moose Mountain is close to the food court.
An interactive experience that’s fun for the whole family. Including naming and wrapping your own Crayola crayon!
A virtual experience ride where you fly over well known landmarks experiencing them as though you were right there. The theme changes frequently! Sometimes you’ll go over USA landmarks or different world landmarks.
The escape game is located on floor three. You will choose what escape scenario you set out to break in exactly one hours time.
Gameworks is located on the fourth floor. There is a bowling alley as well as the combination of games, food, and sports. This activity is family friendly!
Take a photo with the Mall of America sign outside
Don’t forget to take advantage of the Mall of America sign outside to snap a photo to remember your fun times!
Watch the Universe of Light show
If you’re at the mall close to closing time you can experience the Universe of Light show. The 9 minute long light show features light, music, and smoke effects. Be sure to check when the Universe of Light Show is scheduled for during your visit.
Take a live fitness class at Lululemon
The athletic wear retail store, Lululemon hosts live fitness classes at the Mall of America. Check here for available classes and times. (via the Mindbody application.)
The Fair on 4
Simulating the Minnesota State Fair is the Fair on 4 at the MOA. Located on the fourth floor of the Mall of America with attractions such as go karts, axe throwing, Minnesota craft beer and tasty snacks.
Mall of America FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How much does it cost to go to the Mall of America?
It doesn’t cost anything to just go to the Mall of America. Even parking within the regular parking ramps is free (valet has an extra charge). What you choose to eat, drink, and do while at the Mall of America will dictate your overall cost. You could spend a lot or nothing at all.
Is the Mall of America busy right now?
Generally, the Mall of America is busiest on the weekends. The best time to go if you’re looking for lighter crowds is during the weekdays and earlier in the day when the mall first opens. Depending on what day it is right now would dictate how busy it is. Holidays or holiday weekends also tend to be really busy times.
Is Mall of America worth visiting?
Yes, Mall of America is definitely worth visiting at least once. There’s so much to do within a range of interests there’s sure to be something for everyone in your group or your family to have a great time.
Is Mall of America the biggest in the world?
No, the Mall of America is the biggest mall in North America. It ranks as the 11th largest mall in the world. The largest mall in the world is located in Dubai.
How many stores are in the Mall of America?
There are over 520 stores in the Mall of America. It boasts many well-known brands and fun specialty stores that are sure to delight. There are directories onsite at the mall or you can also download the Mall of America app. There are several stores that have multiple locations in Mall of America.
How long does it take to walk the Mall of America?
There are four main levels of the Mall of America. Each level is about 1.15 miles. So, walking the whole mall and not even taking into account any shopping could take a considerable amount of time. But, if you’re just walking laps it could take you around 2-3 hours to walk just under 6 miles.
How many restaurants are in the Mall of America?
There are over 50 restaurants in the Mall of America. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite at the food court, or a sit-down meal the Mall of America has plenty of options. Many restaurants offer indoor dining as well as online ordering and pickup. Some restaurants even offer happy hour specials!
How many days do you need at Mall of America?
It really depends on all of the activities and shopping you want to do. You very well can spend one day there and just mostly shop. Iif you want to do more than that, 2-3 days is sufficient. Mid week is usually better because it isn’t as busy. But a weekend (or long weekend) is the perfect amount of time!
Where should I stay when visiting Mall of America?
There are many hotels in close proximity to the Mall of America and near the MSP airport as well as two onsite hotels that are attached to the mall. Don’t worry about traffic or parking, the Radisson Blu and JW Marriott are attached to the MOA and offer additional great amenities onsite.
How far is the Mall of America from the airport?
The Mall of America is less than 2 miles from the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport (MSP). It only takes about 5 minutes to get from one to the other by car. Even the light rail connects the two. If you’re short on time but have an extended layover jet over to the largest mall in North America.
Where can I get a Mall of America map?
There are conveniently located kiosks on every floor of the Mall to refer to while at the Mall of America. If you want a more convenient option, I would download the Mall of America app to have the information at your fingertips. The kiosks have never done me wrong though!
Can you park overnight at the Mall of America?
When it comes to parking overnight, things get a little tricky. The official policy of the Mall of America is that overnight parking is not allowed. This means that if you do park your vehicle there after hours and leave it overnight, you might receive a ticket or even have your car towed away.
Can you bring a backpack to the Mall of America?
Yes. You can bring a backpack (or luggage) with you to the Mall of America. But a bit of advice, don’t! It will only slow you down as you explore at the mall. But if you can’t get around it you can always get a locker to put it in for the day.
Can you walk in Mall of America before it opens?
Yes, mall walkers are welcome. The outside doors to the Mall of America open three hours prior to the retail shop hours. Current retail hours of the Mall of America can fluctuate, so be sure to check directly with the Mall of America or within the Mall of America app.
Is the Mall of America coupon book worth it?
The Mall of America coupon book costs just under $10 but is filled with over 250 coupons and deals at participating stores, restaurants, attractions, and also hotels! If you’re planning on spending at least a few days at the Mall of America it’s definitely worth getting a coupon book.
Conclusion: Mall of America Tips
I hope these Mall of America tips were helpful for you to organize your first Mall of America trip or next trip to the largest mall in North America! But be sure to brush up on your Minnesotan slang first and how to spot a Minnesota long goodbye. (You’ll be sure to experience these while in the northland!)
Now that you know a little bit more about the largest mall in North America, where to stay, and what to do what are you waiting for? Book your staycation or vacation to Minnesota for a fun filled time. (Bonus points to strategically plan it when you want to update you and your families wardrobe.)