10 Things You’ve Got to Do at the Mall of America

The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota (just outside Minneapolis) is seriously so much fun. I’ve been there twice now and didn’t have enough time to explore all that is the Mall of America either time. There’s just too much stuff to do there. Clearly I must go back a third time.

My kids and I went to the Mall of America in July. It was the very last stop on our three-week road trip before we flew home from Minneapolis. We would have spent more time there, but our flight the next day was cancelled and we got re-booked on a 5 am flight home. Ouch.

So, if you go to the Mall of America, and you were just planning to pick up a new sweater at Banana Republic, you’ll be sorely disappointed. But only because you did not budget enough time to explore all that is Mall of America.

Step one, block off at least an entire day, from opening to closing, to visit the Mall of America. Step two, check off every item below. These are my top 10 must-do’s for your visit to Mall of America. 

1. Ride FlyOver America. Okay, Soarin’ at Epcot is one of my all-time favorite theme park rides, so if you like Soarin’, get in line for FlyOver America. Just like Soarin’ you fly over cities, farms, ski slopes, lakes, etc., all virtually, of course. The ride is 15-20 minutes long and I wanted to get back in line when our ride was complete. They alternate this ride with Flyover Canada.

2. Get Colorful at the Crayola Experience. You may not get to see how crayons are made first-hand at the Crayola Experience, but you and your kids will be able to learn how crayons are made in a live show, and better, you can name and wrap your own Crayola crayon. You can even star in your own coloring page. There are 25 hands-on activities at the Crayola Experience, so you’ll easily be able to keep the kids busy.

3. Go to Nickelodeon Universe. Ride a roller coaster, take a spin on the Ferris wheel, ride your favorite horse on the carousel. It doesn’t really matter what you do, but don’t miss Nickelodeon Universe. It’s literally a full-size theme park (in terms of how many rides they have) and you can spend hours there. I suggest you get an all-day wristband. You’ll save $5 when you buy online.

4. Play a Round of Mini Golf. Moose Mountain Adventure Golf is the place to go to get in 18 holes before lunch. Look for life-size moose and horses, as well as cartoon-like trains and logging trucks throughout the course. The kids will love spending an hour putting around this mini golf course. Also at the Mall of America is Rock of Ages Blacklight Mini Golf.

5. Touch a Starfish. Stop by the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium to learn about cownose stingrays in the Ray Lagoon, touch a starfish in the Interactive Rockpool and walk through a 300-foot underwater tunnel to see sharks, turtles and large mouth bass. You can also see feedings throughout the day. Don’t miss the new interactive Shark Discovery exhibit.

6. Eat in a Novelty Restaurant. There are loads of fun, themed restaurants at the Mall of America that make a meal more of an experience. Try Dick’s Last Resort if you’re open to wacky waiters or go to Benihana to watch your meal prepared in front of you. For American Girl fans, try the American Girl Bistro where little girls can dine with their dolls (yes, you can still do that).

7. Check out the LEGO Displays. Just above the LEGO Store, you’ll find huge creations made from thousands of LEGO bricks, like a 34-foot robot, a dragon and a helicopter. The LEGO Store is on the first floor, but you can get an even better view of the LEGO-inspired creations from the South Food Court on the third floor.

8. Shop. Shop. Shop. It should come as no surprise that a must-do at the Mall of America is to shop, but shopping is even better at the Mall of America because there is no sales tax on clothing. As a bonus, because the mall is so large, some stores, like GameStop and American Eagle Outfitters, have two locations in the mall so you don’t need to walk quite as far to shop.

9. Take a Selfie with a Character. Your kids’ favorite Nickelodeon characters, like Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob and Patrick, appear daily for photos at Nickelodeon Universe. You don’t need to buy a ticket to Nickelodeon Universe in order to pose for a snapshot. Bonus. Or, pose with a LEGO Friend made out of LEGO bricks, like my kids did. Your choice.

10. Don’t Rush. Soak it All In. My kids and I had just a few hours to spend at the Mall of America, so we explored more quickly than I would have liked. My advice is to go when you have all the time in the world to walk the mall. It’s clean. It’s colorful. And, there’s so much for everyone to see and do, so take it all in and enjoy.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to spend the night in Bloomington to really get to explore the Mall of America, I suggest the Embassy Suites Bloomington/Minneapolis. It’s super close to the Mall of America and they have a free happy hour around 5 pm with loads of snacks, as well as a free hot breakfast buffet with make-your-own waffles and an omelet station. Yum.

Sadly, because our flight was at 5 am, we had to leave the hotel at around 3 am, and as you can imagine, the omelet station was not yet open. Boo. I may need to lobby to move up breakfast hours at the Embassy Suites. I’m still dreaming of that omelet. Oh well, next time for sure, because I know I’ll be back in Bloomington one day (hopefully sooner than later).

Disclaimer: My kids and I were guests of Mall of America. We also received a media rate discount at the Embassy Suites Bloomington/Minneapolis for our one-night stay.