Minnesota — the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The North Star State is a beautiful place to vacation. In the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul alone, there are dozens of ways to enjoy a few days away from home. Minnesota is home to championship sports teams, gorgeous green spaces, delicious dining options, vibrant festivals and hundreds of places for people of all ages to fill their trip with fun. One of the coolest places to visit also happens to be world-famous — the Mall of America.
If you’re heading to the Twin Cities, you can’t miss a chance to see this massive mall in person. There are more than 500 unique stores with something for everyone, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Mall of America also has incredible restaurants and hosts over 400 fantastic events each year. Ready to elevate your experience even more? This sprawling indoor space is also home to incredible attractions and entertainment, including a movie theater, aquarium, go-carting and an amusement park!
The minute you set foot in the Mall of America, it will change the way you see shopping, dining and entertainment forever. When we’re not baking the best deep-dish pizzas in the Twin Cities, the staff at Giordano’s loves spending the day shopping, eating and playing at MOA. We’ve gathered all the best tips and advice to make sure your Mall of America trip is unforgettable.
Planning Your Trip
With a Mall of America trip penciled into your Minnesota itinerary, it’s time to start planning your trip. Whether you’re arriving by car, train or plane, you’ll first need to check into your accommodations. The Mall of America is a 20-minute drive from downtown Minneapolis and only five miles away from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. No matter where you stay, it’s helpful to know the city’s light rail offers convenient transportation to the MOA.
The METRO Blue Line runs from the Mall of America to Target Field, the stadium where the Major League Baseball team the Minnesota Twins play. Other stops on this route include U.S. Bank Stadium, where the NFL Minnesota Vikings play, as well as Midtown, Fort Snelling and both terminals serving the MSP airport. Regardless if you stay in the heart of downtown or close to the airport, you’re never more than a few quick stops on the light rail from the Mall of America.
Minneapolis is a city worth exploring, which makes the light rail a valuable resource for visitors. If you’d like to stay conveniently close to the airport and Mall of America, you’re in luck! There are over 50 hotels approximately 10 minutes away from MOA. Many of them offer courtesy shuttle service to and from the mall, allowing you to make your trip planning even easier. From affordable accommodations to luxurious living spaces, there are plenty of comfortable beds waiting for you. Make your stay amazing with the following options.
- Mystic Lake Casino Hotel: This resort features Minnesota’s largest casino, an award-winning golf course, relaxing spa, over a dozen food and beverage spots and a live entertainment venue.
- Great Wolf Lodge Minnesota: Believe it or not, you can have a memorable family vacation without ever leaving your hotel. The Great Wolf Lodge has an impressive indoor water park and other exciting family-friendly attractions.
- Radisson Blu Mall of America: With rooms so close you’re practically sleeping in the mall, the Radisson Blu has an exclusive skyway that connects you directly to everything the Mall of America has to offer.
What should you bring to the Mall of America? It may sound like a silly question, but this mall is an experience unlike any other. Plan this trip like you would any other interactive excursion, such as a trip to an amusement park, a day at an arcade or an afternoon strolling around a museum or historical site. We suggest bringing the following items.
- Comfortable shoes: You won’t understand how vast this mall is until you set foot in it. Wear shoes you’ll feel comfortable walking, standing and getting active in.
- Comfortable clothing: Don’t let Minnesota’s cold temperatures fool you. The Mall of America can warm up even in the winter. The mall relies on skylights, lighting and body heat instead of heaters. They will sometimes even need to use the air conditioner in the winter to keep the mall at a comfortable temperature. Wear clothing you’ll be comfortable in throughout the day, perhaps long pants and a light jacket.
- MOA mobile app: The MOA has a handy app you can download to your phone. It enables you to view upcoming events, organize a to-do list and navigate your way around the building. It’s also helpful to know that there are four floors. Level 1 contains shopping and the Nickelodeon Universe theme park. Level 2 is shopping. Level 3 is shopping and dining. Level 4 is minimal shopping and the movie theater.
- Camera: Either bring your trusty camera or make sure you have enough storage available on your phone. You’ll be surprised at just how many photos you’ll take at MOA.
Now that you have an idea of where to stay, how to get there and what to bring, it’s time to make your list of the best things to do at the Mall of America.
Plan for Play
You might have come to the Mall of America to shop — but you’re going to stay to play! You could spend an entire vacation enjoying all the fun entertainment and attractions MOA has to offer. From movies, mini golf and mazes to arcades, adventures and a huge indoor theme park, you’ll see how easy it is to have one of the best vacations of your life without ever leaving the mall.
- Nickelodeon Universe: No visit to the Mall of America would be complete without spending a few hours at the nation’s largest indoor theme park. With over seven acres of fun, including meet-and-greets with your favorite characters, Nickelodeon Universe is the perfect place for your whole family to play.
- Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium: At the only mall that takes you under the sea, MOA’s Sea Life Aquarium gets you up close and personal with animal encounters, including a touch pool and an opportunity to swim with the sharks.
- Crayola Experience: Unleash your inner artist at the Crayola Experience. Dozens of hands-on activities await kids of all ages. You can even create, name and take home a personal Crayola crayon!
- LEGO Store: Build a world of fun at the LEGO Store. Kids have the freedom to create whatever they want on the play tables or view the intricate, larger-than-life LEGO models throughout the store. Stock up on a fresh batch of LEGOs to keep constructing even when vacation ends.
- Dutchman’s Deck Adventure Course: Take your vacation to new heights on the Dutchman’s Deck Adventure Course. Climb 56 feet above Nickelodeon Universe on the ropes course, soar through the air on the Barnacle Blast zip line and slide back down to the ground on the Anchor Drop.
- Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy: Let loose with laughter at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy. Sit back and grab a bite to eat while hilarious comedians from TV’s most popular shows give you an unforgettable evening of fun.
- FlyOver America: See the most iconic American landmarks right in the Mall of America. FlyOver America is a thrilling flight simulation ride that takes you on an immersive aerial tour over the United States or Canada.
- Moose Mountain Adventure Golf: This fully accessible 18-hole miniature golf course takes you on a whimsical trip into the woods. Putt your way past life-sized moose, horses and more.
- Rock of Ages Blacklight Minigolf: Take your golf game to the dark side at Rock of Ages Blacklight Minigolf. Test your skill as you try to putt under par through an 18-hole course inspired by some of the best eras of music.
- GameWorks: Bowling plus video games equals a day full of fun. Parents can play too or relax in the lounge while watching live sports action from around the country.
- CMX Cinema Experience: Grab some popcorn and check out the latest blockbuster flicks with this redefined cinema experience.
- 5D Extreme Attraction: A virtual reality attraction like no other, the 5D Extreme Attraction features Matrix Innovative Technology that engages your senses in unbelievable ways.
- Amazing Mirror Maze: Lose yourself in one of the largest mirror mazes in the world. The Amazing Mirror Maze features 2,500 square feet of hallways that challenge you to look past your reflection to find the way out.
- SMAAASH: SMAAASH offers world-class gaming and entertainment that combines sports and virtual reality into 17 exciting experiences. Play laser tag and dodgeball, shoot pirates in outer space, escape a haunted hospital and defend a city against killer robots. SMAAASH brings your imagination to life and puts the “real” in virtual reality.
- The Escape Game: Can you solve the puzzle and free yourself from an escape room in time? Choose from five incredible adventures to put your mind to the test.
- XD Ride: If you’re still looking for thrills after Nickelodeon Universe, head to XD Ride for an exciting interactive experience that delivers the exhilaration of a roller coaster and the fun of a video game.
- Universe of Light: This nine-minute show uses music and lighting to take you on an emotional journey.
- Xscape Entertainment Center: Right next door to Nickelodeon Universe, Xscape Entertainment Center brings you the latest in video and interactive gaming the whole family can enjoy.
If there’s one place where the phrase “shop ’til you drop” applies, it has to be the Mall of America. It’s never been easier to complete your shopping list in a single stop, with more than 500 stores to choose from. It would take ages to tell you about every stylish piece of clothing and jewelry, the fantastic selection of household goods and the massive inventory of electronics, toys and gifts that are waiting to come home with you. Your smartest bet is to explore everything — here are some of the best stores at Mall of America.
- Accessories: The Chapel of Love has the accessories you need for your big day — you can even get married there too if you desire. Stance, Soho Fashions and Local Charm also have unique accessories for any style.
- Apparel: Favorite Mall of America stores like Buckle, Forever 21 and Old Navy sit alongside new shops like Hockey Minnesota, Fjallraven and Alpaca Connection.
- Books/Gifts: Minnesot-ah!, Mall of America Gift Store and Love From Minnesota are the perfect places to pick up souvenirs.
- Convenience stores: Walgreens and Street Corner News have the last-minute items you may have forgotten to pack.
- Electronics: Pick up the latest phone at T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T. You can also stop by Apple or Microsoft Store for any IT help you require while on a business trip.
- Health and beauty: Pamper yourself with a trip to Regis Salon, Relaxing Massage, L.A. Nails or Final Cut Sports Barbershop.
- Household goods: Who says you can’t shop for home goods while on vacation? Ship home spectacular finds from Heat & Glo, I Love Minnesota, Cut Above Home and Canvas Studio.
- Jewelry: From Fossil and Persepolis to Riddle’s Jewelry, Swatch and Zales, a quick browse at these fine jewelry locations is never a bad idea.
- Luggage: Baggallini, Vera Bradley and Samsonite will help you pack up all your souvenirs to take home with you.
- Shoe stores: Trust us — you’ll need comfortable shoes for your Mall of America excursion. Stop by Johnston & Murphy, SoftMoc or Third Degree Heat and take care of your feet.
Grab Some Grub
After so much shopping and fun, you’ll need to refuel with a hearty meal. Thankfully, the Mall of America has no shortage of fantastic dining options for any appetite. Here are a few of our favorite places to chow down.
- Coffee/tea: Coffee lovers need to try Minnesota’s own Caribou Coffee. If Starbucks or Nespresso are more your taste, MOA has a handful of locations too. For tea, head to the Sencha Tea Bar, DavidsTea or Chatime Tea. Trust us, you’ll surely need caffeine during your adventure around the mall.
- Food court: Food courts are perfect places to grab a quick bite and rest your legs. Head to the Melt Shop for cozy comfort food. Earth Burger has plant-based fast food if you want a veggie-friendly option. Bonchon and Naf Naf Grill offer tastes from the corners of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Of course, you can never go wrong with Long John Silver’s, Johnny Rockets or Great Steak & Potato for classic American fare.
- Fast-casual: If you’re looking for a tasty meal that won’t require much of a wait, head to a fast-casual spot. Shake Shack, Burger Burger and Potbelly Sandwich Shop have the burgers and sandwiches you crave. Noodles & Company and Leeann Chin offer the best bowls around, while Panera Bread, Chipotle and Chick-fil-A provide you with hometown favorites.
- Full-service restaurants: Don’t be surprised if you want to sit and relax for a while at a great restaurant. MOA has plenty of world-renowned favorites like Hard Rock Cafe, Margaritaville, Benihana and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. For a Juicy Lucy — and a true taste of Minneapolis — we suggest either Twin City Grill, Cedar + Stone Urban Table or FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar.
- Sweet treats: Nothing says “vacation” like treating yourself to a delightful dessert. Indulge your sweet tooth at one of 36 different shops. Doc Popcorn has every flavor of popcorn you can imagine. Wonders Ice Cream is the self-proclaimed “Hibachi of Ice Cream.” Baking Betty’s has all of your favorite homemade desserts, while Rybicki Cheese is a must-visit for fans of the Green Bay Packers and cheese. For the best waffles in town, be sure to stop by Minnewaffolis.
The Mall of America has enough mouth-watering eateries to keep you fueled up and ready to take on as much shopping and fun as you desire. After your trip to the MOA, you’ll need to know where some of the best restaurants are throughout the city. If deep-dish pizza is on your mind, let us help you get it on your plate. Visit one of our two locations.
- Richfield: Just a few minutes west of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, our Richfield location is ready to serve up a gooey cheese pizza stuffed with your choice of toppings.
- Uptown: Looking for the best pizza near the heart of Minneapolis? Head into Uptown and experience some of the best lakes and public parks in the city. Order our famous Chicago-style deep dish pizza to go and enjoy a wonderful picnic outdoors with your family.
Visit Giordano’s During Your Trip to the Mall of America
You can’t say you’ve truly experienced Minneapolis until you’ve been to the Mall of America. With so many places to shop and play, you’ll spend hours experiencing some of the best entertainment and activities the Twin Cities have to offer. Get the ultimate Minnesota experience with a Juicy Lucy stuffed pizza from the best Windy City pizza parlor in the state. Head to Giordano’s during your next MOA trip and let us fill your family’s minds and mouths with delicious deep-dish memories.