From rollercoasters to macaroons, you can find almost anything at the Mall of America.
But this top tourist destination – its 500+ shops attract over 40 million shoppers to the Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington area every year – is much more than a mall. You can do almost anything in it too. Catch a movie. Get married in its Chapel of Love. Or check its 400+ events list in hopes of seeing one of your favorite Hollywood stars.
Here are 11 experiences worth embracing at the Mall of America when you feel like you’re all shopped out.
Kids will ooh and ahh as they dart through a 300-foot Ocean Tunnel, surrounded by sharks, turtles, and a four-foot alligator swimming in a 1.3 million gallon aquarium. They can dip their hands into the Ray Lagoon to stroke the backs of stingrays and even feed them, or slip into a wetsuit and snorkel in the Rainbow Reef exhibit (ages 9+). Hilton Guests can receive discounts on entry fees and same-day behind-the-scenes tours.
Momentarily escape consumer culture with this 10-minute ride. Its virtual flight technology combined with special effects like blowing air will leave you feeling like you’re hang gliding across more than 20 of America’s most dramatic landscapes, bringing on a sense of wanderlust. Hilton Guests can receive 25% off general admission tickets.
Color knows no limit at the Crayola Experience, where technology combines with good-old-fashioned art to give your kids an average of 3.5 hours of fun. With 25-interactive exhibits, your kids will learn how crayons are made and how to melt crayons to create wax art, and they can even dance with crayons that are projected on a wall. There’s also a two-story Crayola-themed playground for kids with energy left to burn. Hilton Guests can save $6/ticket on regular entrance fees.
Strap on a wristband and enjoy the 28 rides at this indoor amusement park, which is surrounded by live trees that climb as high as 35 feet tall beneath 8 acres of skylight. Thrill-seekers can drop from 70 feet in the air on the Avatar Airbender, while those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground can go on a PAW Patrol mission through a new 4,000 square-foot attraction.
Prefer a view from above? Hitch a safety belt around your waist and climb above Nickelodeon Universe to try the Dutchman’s Deck Adventure Course. Sail 55 feet above the park on Barnacle Blast, one of the longest zip lines in North America. For a fast exit, jump on Anchor Drop, a spiral slide.
Rest your legs while your kids spend hours rifling through giant tubs of LEGOs. They’ll find inspiration in eight towering models, from a dinosaur to a LEGO robot standing 34 feet tall. (And expect a few items to be added to the holiday-gift wishlist.)
Got a need for speed? Check your prowess as a pseudo-soldier by playing laser tag with your friends in a 2,000-square-foot Laser Blast obstacle course, or as a race car driver on a multi-level go-kart track. And that’s only the start of their high-octane offerings. Dodgeball, anyone?
Laugh your night away at the House of Comedy. Order a drink in The Lounge, and hear top-touring comedic talents give their satirical take on pop culture and current events. You may recognize more than a few faces from Comedy Central on the events list.
Do your kids think they’re better at video games than you? School them at GameWorks by pulling out your favorite classic from the 120 video game collection (they have new releases too). Then, spend the rest of your day bowling or catching a sports game on one of its high-definition TVs.
A lap around the mall adds up to more than one mile, so when you’re done exploring its four levels, turn your tired body over to Progressions Spa & Salon for a massage. Your mind will shift from the image of a busy shopping mall to a beach with soft ocean waves lapping over you.
Dining and Beverage Options
Choosing where to fuel up at the Mall of America can lead to decision fatigue with more than 50 options. So here goes: Eat walleye like a real Minnesotan at the Twin Cities Grill, or, for both good food and good drink, indulge in happy hour at Masu Sushi & Robata, created in part by a James Beard Award–winning chef. Choose your own tea leaves at DAVIDsTEA and pick up artisanal liquor and wines at Vom Fass, where they have free tastes daily.
Where to Stay
Looking to stay near the Mall and take advantage of complimentary shuttle service to and from? Hilton Garden Inn Minneapolis Airport Mall of America is just half a mile away and offers complimentary shuttle service to the Mall and convenient access to MSP International Airport. Or choose Hampton Inn Suites Minneapolis St Paul Arpt-Mall of America for free hot breakfast and complimentary shuttle service, just a mile away from Mall of America. Check out Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington for modern amenities and shuttle service to the Mall and MSP Airport. Hilton Garden Inn Minneapolis Eagan, just 5 minutes from the Mall of America, offers shuttle service to the Mall and anywhere within a 5-mile radius of the hotel.