If you asked a Minnesotan what their state is famous for, you’d get a range of answers from “It’s the land of 10,00 Lakes” to “Minnesota nice”, to the gorgeous and wild beauty of the Boundary Waters, or stuffing burgers with cheese in the patty.
What you might also not hear is “Oh! we are known for the Mall of America, the largest mall in the entire country.” And yet, it is this mega-mall that is arguably the biggest attraction to tourists visiting flyover America.
Why you might wonder? Well, with 520 shops, innumerable restaurants, and a myriad of attractions, the Mall of America is not just a mall, but a destination vacation all on its own.
So strap on those mall-walking shoes as I take you through the best things to do at the Mall of America.
SEA LIFE Aquarium Minnesota is the perfect place to discover the amazing underwater world. With more than 10,000 sea creatures on display, there is plenty to see and learn about. The knowledgeable staff provides educational talks and there are also feedings throughout the day. You can also view cownose rays and sandtiger sharks through a glass tunnel. Admission to SEA LIFE Aquarium Minnesota also includes access to the Mall of America, making it the perfect place to take a break from shopping.
If you're looking for an unforgettable experience that the whole family will enjoy, look no further than Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America. Purchase an unlimited ride wristband to enjoy a full day of thrills and excitement on26 different rides, including spine-tingling thrill rides, junior rides, and family rides. You'll also get to meet some of your favorite Nickelodeon characters, like SpongeBob Squarepants, Paw Patrol, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Looking for a fun and colorful family outing? Then head to Crayola Experience at the Mall of America! With 26 one-of-a-kind attractions, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Create your own personalized Crayola crayon, make some spin art, or watch a live show on how Crayola crayons are made. It's a great way to spend quality time with the family and create lasting memories. So grab your tickets today and come experience the magic of color!
TL;DR Best things to do at the Mall of America
We get it, you have questions and need answers now! Here are some of our favorite places and fun things to do when you visit Mall of America:
- Best Tourist Attraction: Nickelodeon Universe
- Best Restaurant: Cedar + Stone, Urban Table
- Best Fast Food: Hot Indian
- Best Hotel: Radisson Blu Mall of America
- Best Thing to do for Families: Moose Mountain Adventure Golf
- Best Overall Store: The LEGO Store
Fun & Best Things to do at the Mall of America
Here are some of the best Mall of America attractions and fun things to do when visiting the Mall of America! Try and hit us as many as you can and let us know about your Mall of America experience.
1. Ride Roller Coasters at Nickelodeon Universe
For any older millennial Minnesotan, this theme park will always be Camp Snoopy. However, in 2006 the Mall lost the licensing rights for the Peanuts characters and turned the name to “The Park at the Mall” in the interim.
In 2008, the amusement park became Nickelodeon Universe and has stayed that way. Regardless, it’s still one of the largest indoor theme parks in the country, and as amusement parks go, it’s pretty rad. Despite the name, this theme park is seven acres of pure fun and has all the terrifying, motion-sickness-inducing rides that a kid could want.
Ride the Fairly Odd Coaster, SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge roller coaster, or Pepsi Orange Streak for a wild time. And check out the FlyOver America ride, a flight simulation ride, for a bird’s eye view of the States.
For other daring souls, there’s the Dutchman’s Deck Adventure Course, an awesome ziplining experience, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shell Shock flying ride.
If you’re looking for something a little more chill, there’s always the 18-hole Moose Mountain Adventure Golf course, and the ever-awesome Lego Store nearby.
PRO TIP: do not eat too much junk food before engaging in these activities, especially the roller coaster!
See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Shakopee, Minnesota
2. Feed Sea Creatures at SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium
Minnesota‘s largest sea life aquarium is home to exhibits and experiences like an underwater tunnel and “Journey into the Rainforest.”
Watch ginormous sharks swimming in the Shark Cove and come face to face with rescued sea turtles. Feed stingrays in the ray pool and touch creatures at the Pacific Northwest Rockpool.
The SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium also has educational talks and certain times when you can watch a carer feed the sea creatures. Keep those kids engaged and learning by collecting stamps in their “passport” throughout the exhibits for a special prize at the end! For an extra special experience, book the VIP tour and get a look behind-the-scenes!
See Related: Best Things to do in Bemidji, Minnesota
3. Create Art at Crayola Experience
Get those kiddos off their electronic gadgets and into some good old-fashioned crafting with the Crayola Experience!. Located on the third floor, this attraction features many activities including melted crayon art, making things out of modeling clay, drip art, painting, and naming and wrapping your own crayon!
The Crayola Experience even has a “Toddler Town” which has a mini gym to work out that 2-year-old energy, and colorful age-appropriate peg games.
For parents that want their child to learn something while they’re having fun, Cafe Stage explains the science behind the color of Crayola products.
In my opinion, the coolest activity is a machine that transforms your picture into a coloring page. What kid (or adult) wouldn’t want to color in their own picture?
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4. Catch a movie at B&B Theaters
If you’re tired after hoofing it around the mall all morning and want a bit of a break, catch a big-screen film at B&B Theaters. This theater, new as of 2021, has nice comfy seats and offers showings of the latest blockbusters.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Little Falls, Minnesota
5. Make a splash at Great Wolf Lodge Water Park
Great Wolf calls itself the “greatest water park in Minnesota” and with tube rides, a surf simulator, four-story slides, tree houses, and coves, I’m pretty sure it’s not exaggerating.
There are plenty of cool things for every age here and a perfect indoor activity for those cold Minnesota winter days. Despite the name, Great Wolf Lodge Water Park has many non-aquatic activities for the family.
Personally, I’m not a water park person, but I’d go to this place just to play MagiQuest, which is an interactive game for kids. In order to play, you have to purchase a wand for $17.99 – $22.99, and the game itself costs $13.99. Then you (I mean your kids…) get to explore the whole lodge, uncovering secrets and mystical creatures that will help them save Vellara from the Shadow Lord.
Besides the aforementioned features, Great Wolf Lodge has many other attractions including a ropes course, an arcade, Build-a-Bear Workshop, a bowling alley, and a climbing wall.
See Related: Minnesota National Parks and National Park Service Sites to Visit
6. Laugh until it hurts at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy
I think we could all use a few laughs these days, and this comedy club hosts some of the best comedians in the country while also promoting up-and-coming talent. Recent performers included Cam Bertrand, Day Drinking With Mom, and The Daily Show’s Dulce Sloan.
Established by award-winning comedian Rick Bronson, this is a great place to grab a drink and some food and enjoy a light-hearted evening of fun.
See Related: Where to Stay in Winona
7. Throw axes at The Fair on 4
If you aren’t a local, you might not know the colossal deal that is the Minnesota State Fair. And what could be better than extending it for the whole year? While the Fair on 4 cannot encompass the whole State Fair, it does a great job of encompassing that energy by serving favorite fair foods like cheese curds, corn dogs, and mini donuts.
It also has the largest selection of craft beer on tap at the Mall of America, which you might want to hit up after you try your hand at ax-throwing.
There are also go-karts, and bigger parties can book private events if they wish.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Duluth, Minnesota
8. Sink a hole-in-one at Rock of Ages Blacklight Mini Golf
I love mini-golf, but Rock of Ages takes it to a whole new level. Not only do you get to play your way through 18 holes of golf in the dark, but you get to do it with fun music that ranges from the 50s to the present day.
See Related: Best Things to Do in North Shore, Minnesota
9. Solve a mystery at The Escape Game
Fancy yourself a Sherlock or Poirot? The Escape Game offers 60 glorious minutes of pure escapism where you need to look for clues on how to get out of the room.
Scenarios include escaping from prison, taking part in a heist, and exploring Mars. This is a great activity to do with friends or family although the recommended age is 13+.
They vary in difficulty so check out each escape room scenario before you book. The prison break is said to be the hardest – but my smarty-pants editor said his group beat it with 8 minutes to spare.
You be the judge!
See Related: Best Gunflint Trail Resorts for Lodging in Minnesota
10. Get creative at the LEGO Store
As a Danish resident, this speaks to me! Kids (and my grown-ass spouse) will have a blast at this part museum, part superstore, and ALL play area dedicated to Denmark’s greatest contribution to the human race. The store is unmissable, as it’s guarded by several HUGE Lego statues, all made from these versatile little bricks.
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11. Get your wiggles out at Toddler Tuesdays
If you’re like me and have a couple of toddlers at home, and are wondering how the heck you’re going to burn off their seemingly endless energy reserves, do not fret: enter Toddler Tuesdays!
This free weekly program takes place from 11 am-Noon on (yes – you guessed it), Tuesdays. Caretakers, please breathe a collective sigh of relief as you let your child be entertained by special character appearances from Nickelodeon Universe, arts and crafts, and storytime.
Discounts are also available for kiddie rides!
See Related: Best Things to Do in Plymouth, Minnesota
12. Play laser tag at Tactical Urban Combat
Kids are destructive little treasures who need to burn off some of that murderous energy, lest they break something valuable. Likewise, adults may find some comfort in beating them at their own games.
Either way, both parties will get a lot of fun out of Tactical Urban Combat; a massive indoor laser tag and NERF gun arena complex inspired by FPS games and available for 30-minute public shoot-em-ups or hour-long private sessions.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Maple Grove, Minnesota
13. Go behind the scenes in The Official Mall of America Insider Tour
This 90-minute scavenger hunt tour takes you behind the scenes of how the Mall of America is run. Not only do you get to learn more about the amusement park, but you also get to see where the mall’s Christmas decorations are stored, and learn about how the MOA takes steps to recycle and their impact on Minnesota.
At the tour’s conclusion, you will receive a souvenir, lanyard, and other VIP items. You can further customize your tour with a happy hour or various mall attractions.
See Related: Best Hiking Trails in Duluth, Minnesota
14. Upcoming Events at the Mall of America
The Mall of America stages over 400 events a year. Aside from my awe-inspiring performance at the Mall of America with my 7th-grade orchestra back in the early aughts, there are some truly attention-grabbing showcases. Upcoming events and free concerts include:
Mall of America’s 30 Birthday Event
To commemorate 30 years of existence, the Mall of America is hosting events. The Mall will have 30 sweepstakes over the course of the year; the first was two tickets to Super Bowl LVL, airfare, and hotel accommodation.
The next giveaway is 2 tickets to Nickelodeon Universe and Flyover America, as well as gift cards to Benihana, Zara, Nordstrom, Sephora, DSW, and Mall of America.
Make sure to enter all sweepstakes on the Mall of America website!
See Related: Spots for the Best Breakfast in Minnesota
Workout Party with Celebrity Trainer Erin Oprea
Not only has she trained some A-list celebrities (Kacey Musgraves and Carrie Underwood), but she is also a veteran of the Marines. After an intense 60-minute workout, you will go to the LuluLemon store for drinks, nibbles, and a meet-and-greet with Erin herself.
This event takes place last April 16, 2022, and is $20. Make sure to bring a yoga mat with you!
Octonauts The Great Gup Rescue at SEA LIFE
Lats March 10 to April 18, 2022, kids enjoyed these Octonauts-themed challenges at SEA LIFE. Search for clues to find missing gups and take pictures with your favorite characters during the meet-and-greet.
Royal Canadian International Circus
The Royal Canadian International Circus performed 17 dazzling shows at the Mall of America last 2022. Acts include tightrope walking, aerialists, acrobats, trapeze artists, and more! It last from May 6 to May 15, 2022.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in St. Paul, Minnesota
Shopping at the MOA
Holding the title of the largest mall in the United States, the Mall of America is home to 520 stores and tons of unique kiosks. For a full directory of shops, click on this link.
PRO TIP: The Mall of America is ideal for people who are shopping for a new wardrobe, as Minnesota has no sales tax on clothes!
The Mall of America is not your average mall with a food court containing the usual greasy fair (although it has that too!) With 50 restaurants on the third and fourth floor, even the pickiest eater is sure to find something that suits.
For a complete listing of all Mall of America restaurants and dining establishments, check out this link to the Mall of America website. Otherwise, read on to discover some of the more gourmet and full-service restaurants!
PRO TIP: if you’re planning to keep your Mall of America vacation as thrifty as possible, wandering the food court and confectionary stores can be a great source of free samples!
- FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar – Located in the Radisson Blu at the Mall of America, this restaurant offers delicious farm-to-table food that focuses on the cuisine of the North. A transparent eatery, lists the ranchers, farmers, and producers with whom they work. Everything from the Wild Alaskan Salmon to the Bison Burger looks mouthwatering.
- Twin City Grill – Have a craving for Minnesota comfort food? Twin City Grill has got you covered with Walleye Fish Fry, Prime Meatloaf, and Hickory Smoked Baby Back Ribs.
- Masu Sushi and Robata – Not only does this restaurant serve some tasty fish, but they also care deeply about conservation. They make sure that the type of seafood that they serve are plentiful and is caught in humane and sustainable ways.
- Cedar + Stone, Urban Table – Located in the JW Marriott in the Mall of America, this dining establishment also works with farmers within a 200-mile200 mile radius to deliver fresh and locally-sourced meals. The ambiance of this restaurant is fun with an industrial design and decor.
- Cantina Laredo – Skip Chipotle and go to an authentic Mexican restaurant. Cantina Laredo describes itself as a modern twist on Mexican City cuisine. With sauces like sautéed artichoke hearts and roasted red bell pepper topping mouthwatering dishes, it’s no wonder they are a popular place to eat.
- Crave – This restaurant has an extensive menu and is a perfect place to dine if you and your friends are craving (see what I did there?) different dinner fare. From sushi to sandwiches to healthy bowls and salads, Crave has got you covered. If you go, try the Truffle Parmesan Fries. They are mouthwateringly good.
- Shake Shack – You might be surprised that a fast-food restaurant made this list, but what sets Shake Shack apart from its competitors is that they use 100% antibiotic-free Angus beef. So hie thee to Shake Shack and grab a shake while you’re at it!
- Hot Indian Foods – Cultures collide at this unique fast food joint, selling Indian fare with an American twist. Try the Indi Frites!
- Rainforest Cafe – This is a staple for every Minnesotan kid! This fun rainforest-themed restaurant serves family favorites in a one-of-a-kind setting.
See Related: Best Things to do in Minneapolis
Places to Stay Near the Mall of America
If you’re looking to make your visit to the Mall of America a get-away, there are plenty of places to stay nearby including two hotels connected to the mall itself. Here are some Mall of America hotels!
Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington, Minnesota
Well, if you’re all tuckered out from a day at Great Wolf Lodge Water Park, you might as well crash there. Located one mile from the Mall of America, Great Wolf Lodge offers three tiers of rooms: Standard Suites, Themed Suites, and Premium Suites.
When I looked to book rooms, prices averaged from $179.99 a night for the simpler standard suites to $453.32 for the premium suites. This price included both lodging and access to the water park.
Price: Average $240 per night which includes access to the water park
Amenities: free wi-fi, microwave and mini-fridge, sleeper sofa, coffee maker
Cleanliness: Reviews tended to be mixed on the cleanliness of the hotel and the attentiveness of housekeeping.
Restaurants/Bars: With six dining options, Great Wolf Lodge ensures there’s something for even the pickiest eater. There are also two bars, The Watering Hole and The Outpost, so parents can unwind with a drink after a day at the pool.
Location: 1700 American Blvd E, Bloomington, MN 55425-1216
See Related: Best Indoor Activities in Minnesota
Radisson Blu Mall of America
Conveniently connected to the Mall of America, Radisson Blu is an upscale hotel with 500 stylish rooms and suites. For those endorphin-loving folks, Radisson Blue offers a fitness room and a saltwater pool.
But for those of you, who like me, are connoisseurs of relaxation, the hotel also houses the Solimar Spa.
Price: Averages $230 per night.
Amenities: complimentary wi-fi, 24-hour room service, pet-friendly, kids club
Cleanliness: Reviews tend to be favorable and show a high level of cleanliness.
Restaurants/Bars: FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar offers an upscale dining experience in the Mall of America and is known for its modern spins on traditional dishes – be warned it is “spendy.”
Location: 2100 Killebrew Drive, Bloomington, Minnesota 55425
JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America
The JW Marriott is also located in the Mall of America. The Marriott prides itself on “contemporary convenience” and is in a prime location.
With its close proximity to the light rail, you can reach not just the Mall of America but other attractions around the Twin Cities as well.
Keep in mind, that the Marriott is on the pricey side, but deals can be scored on sites like Booking.com.
Price: Averages $290 per night.
Amenities: indoor pool, daily housekeeping, wake up calls, meeting space, fitness room
Cleanliness: Reviewers agreed that the Marriott was very clean and professionally run.
Restaurants/Bars: The JW Marriott has a lobby lounge as well as one of the best restaurants in the Mall of America: Cedar + Stone, Urban Table, which is known for its farm-to-table produce that highlights the food of Minnesota.
Location: 2141 Lindau Lane, Bloomington, MN 55425
Country Inn and Suites by Radisson, Bloomington Mall of America
While not directly attached to the Mall of America, Country Inn and Suites is the most economical hotel listed. At only 0.3 miles, (or a 7-minute7 minute walk), these lodgings are still very close to fun, food, and shopping.
Country Inn and Suites by Radisson are very highly rated on Google with 4.4 stars.
Price: Averages $150 per night.
Amenities: indoor pool, free wi-fi, free breakfast, shuttle to mall and airport
Cleanliness: Reviewers agreed that the Marriott was very clean and professionally run.
Restaurants/Bars: There is no restaurant located directly in the hotel, but a free breakfast buffet is offered in the lobby each morning.
Location: 2221 Killebrew Drive, Bloomington, MN 55425
Transportation to the Mall of America from the Twin Cities Area
Both the Blue and Red Lines stop at the Mall of America. If you are staying at a hotel in the mall and want to see the cities, take the blue line to Minneapolis and transfer to the Green Line which will take you to St. Paul.
If you need to get to the airport from the Mall of America, the Blue Line will take you straight there. Trains arrive every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 15-30 minutes on nights and weekends.
Routes 5, 54, 415, 444, 515, 538, 539, 540, and 542 all stop at the Mall of America.
More than 50 hotels in the metro area offer shuttle service to the Mall of America. Check with reception to see if your hotel offers this service.
Mall of America offers free parking for anyone traveling by car. If you’re from out of town, visit Kayak.com to find good deals on car rentals.
For more information and help planning your trip, check out.
To and From MSP Airport
If you’re coming to the Twin Cities from out of town, there are several transportation options. The Blue Line is your fastest option as it will get you to the Mall of America from the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport in 12 minutes.
Bus route 54 will get you to the Mall of America almost as quickly in 16 minutes, barring traffic. If you are staying at a hotel near the mall, make sure to check in with the concierge to see if they offer a free shuttle service.
Finally, there is always to option to take a taxi or rent a car, although, of course, those will be more expensive.
Is the Mall of America the Biggest Mall in the World?
No, it’s not even the biggest mall in North America. The West Edmonton Mall in Canada is North America’s largest mall, coming in at 500,000 square meters, with around 800 stores.
That is still puny by comparison to the world’s largest mall, the Iran Mall in Tehran. This new monolith to retail has over 2,500 stores and is only getting bigger!
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