What’s in a Mall?

I am no fan of walking around shopping:  I normally go to a store with a clear target of what I am going for – no strolling around for me.  Online shopping also has had an impact in my shopping mall visits, sometimes eliminating heading to a store.  So, in short, going to the mall is not something I like doing.  Well, except The Mall in Washington, D.C.,  which is not really a mall but a collection of open spaces, museums and monuments – a great place for a walk or a run for sure!

But I digress.  Malls are not my thing.  Until I saw what is in the Mall of America (MOA).  During my recent visit to Minneapolis I decided to park my mall bias and see what the MOA was all about since it is the largest mall in the U.S.  With that qualifier, I’d thought the least I’d do is go to see what the buzz is about and get some exercise in with a good amount of walking.

Mall of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota, entertainment, shopping, travel, Christmas, Olympus

The halls decorated for Christmas

Getting there is easy

The first good surprise was how accessible it was.  If it had been too much of an effort, maybe my curiosity would have lost to my “laziness” but the MOA is on the light rail line which makes it a short ride from downtown and one stop away from the airport.  I did some research and found out there was storage for luggage at the mall so I decided to go there straight after landing in Minneapolis.  Sure enough, one of the places to leave luggage is located by the entrance to the mall closest to the light rail stop.  Well done.

The shops

There are tons of stores from locally-headquartered Best Buy to Eddie Bauer (my favorite clothes) to tourist souvenir shops to large department stores to boutiques to Apple and Microsoft stores (that almost face each other across the aisle!).  There is every kind of shop you could be looking for.  But my favorite shop is the Lego store!!!  Pieces and sets galore as well as some massive pieces hanging up high!

Lego, Legoland, Mall of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota, entertainment, shopping, travel, Christmas, Olympus

The large wall of pieces is imposing!

Lego, Legoland, Mall of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota, entertainment, shopping, travel, Christmas, Olympus

Large Lego creations “atop” the store

Lego, Legoland, Mall of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota, entertainment, shopping, travel, Christmas, Olympus

And you don’t only shop but you can make your own figurines – for the kids only, of course…

More than shopping

As I walked in, I first ran into an atrium area with a stage and two massive silver Christmas trees on either side of the stage.  This is where I first confirmed that the MOA is not just about shopping.  It is an entertainment center, not just a shopping center.  Shopping is maybe the anchor business but it is just part of a series of entertainment options for young and old.  Famous acts perform and other presentations, like book signings, take place at this stage.

Mall of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota, entertainment, shopping, travel, Christmas, Olympus

The main stage area, nicely decorated for the holidays with two large trees

The “corners” of the mall also have smaller atria and these also have music or other similar activities.  Of course, the mall houses movie theaters.  Finally, the top level has bars and clubs.  I did not get to experience these entertainment options but I hope to some time.

Entertainment does not end with these.  There is a nice aquarium, Sea Life, also near the entrance closest to the light rail.  It has a long tunnel that goes under the tanks and it is fun to watch the sea life from below.

aquarium, Mall of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota, entertainment, shopping, travel, sea life, Canon EOS Rebel

Some of the creatures that reside at Sea Life

So what’s in a mall? 

I don’t know what the answer is in general, but what is in THIS mall, its pièce de résistance, is what is at the center of the mall.  As you may know, the center of the MOA has an amusement park:  Nickelodeon Universe.

Mall of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota, entertainment, shopping, travel, amusement park, Canon EOS Rebel

From a Ferris wheel to a carousel to a rope course to a roller coaster, this is an amusement park for real!

Mall of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota, entertainment, shopping, travel, amusement park, Canon EOS Rebel Mall of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota, entertainment, shopping, travel, amusement park, Canon EOS Rebel

I definitely left the Mall of America completely understanding why people love going there, including people who come from other countries to experience it.  It can easily keep a visitor occupied for a few days with a great range of options on what to do.  And… I hear more is coming!!

Comments

  1. The Mall of America is my favourite place to stop when I’m at the Minneapolis airport! Like you said, it is SO easy to get there. A nice change from sitting in the airport for your next flight.
    Heather recently posted..Departing Zambia – 100 Words of Reflection – Part 3 of 5My Profile

  2. No fan of the mall either, Pick and Click! But those rides look like a blast!
    Karl recently posted..Why The Kindle 3G Can Be A Travelers Ace In The HoleMy Profile

  3. I didn’t realize it was so close to the airport. That is great for me. Even though Delta has drastically cut its service from Memphis, many times we still fly Delta and it tends to be through Minneapolis. I now know what I can do if we have a few hours to waste. We are planning to visit Minneapolis since a relative moved up there. Good to know the mall is more than just a typical suburban mall.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..Christmas Travel Wish ListMy Profile

  4. I’ve been hearing about the Mall of America for as long as I can remember. I used to think I could take it on with zeal, but now it would just overwhelm me. I would like to get a look at that Lego store though.
    Leah recently posted..Hong Kong Market Hopping with Kensington ToursMy Profile

  5. I’ve always wanted to go here and shop! That lego store looks like a lot of fun. Man I prob could spend a week here.. but that be because I’m lost and need to find my way out. Haha..
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Hue Eats – Our Favorite Regional Food in VietnamMy Profile

  6. I had the pleasure of visiting once and could not believe how large it was. Seriously. I think I spent 6h there and could not walk anymore (or carry anymore)!!
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..A lux weekend in RomeMy Profile

  7. I gotta say…. MOA has never appealed to me. I have considered it recently because my mom really wants to go, and now that I have kids, I think it would be fun for them. So who knows… maybe we’ll get there soon. I do want to see Minneapolis, though!
    Francesca (@WorkMomTravels) recently posted..A taste of Chicago’s Little India with Spice of Life ToursMy Profile

  8. you are a brave soul to venture into these shopping metropolises…. I’ve been to Mall of America and I thought I was going to explode with all the things to take in and see.

  9. knew the MOA had an amusement park but had no idea there was an aquarium there! even though malls can be totally overwhelming, i do love seeing how they decorate for christmas– gets you in the spirit! xo, the wino
    the lazy travelers recently posted..no travel required: #frifotosMy Profile

  10. Wow! I love shopping, but malls overwhelm me and this one, I think, would be very overwhelming. Looks cool. Maybe one day I’ll give it a chance.
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..Stepping Stones.My Profile

  11. Nice that you can store luggage there. Many places did away with this convenience after 9/11. Not a huge fan of malls either although I can stomach them every once in awhile. As you point out here, it is much more than a mall.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..The Strait of Malacca Sunset – Penang, MalaysiaMy Profile

  12. yeah, i used to be a shopper but now i’m just an online shopper. it’s kinda sad, really.
    lola recently posted..New York City – One of My Favorite City BreaksMy Profile

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