How to Plan a Mall of America Vacation

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Mall of America outdoor entrance. One of many.
Mall of America outdoor entrance. One of many. (Image: mallamericahotels.com)

A vacation to the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN can be quite the experience. It is a vacation that groups, families, individuals and businesses can all enjoy. Not only does the Mall of America sport 520 stores spanning four levels, but there are also restaurants, bars, and an indoor amusement park. Mixed in with entertainment venues including a large movie theater complex and much more. This mall is sure to have something to please everyone. But be warned, you will probably need more than just one day to cover a lot of ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Accommodations
  • GPS Navigation

Reserve your hotel as close to the Mall of America as possible. There are even package deals you can get, or hotels that include free shuttle service right to the Mall entrance that run on a set schedule. During the summer months, the rooms fill more quickly, so be sure to book early. Shop around for the best rates online, by phone or by using your travel club membership. Most of the major brand hotel chains are located in Bloomington. There is also Cedar Ridge Camping Resort, Hardin Ridge, Lake Monroe Village as well as camping and lodging near or in the State and National Forest Parks.

Plan your drive or flight to the Mall of America. Get a map ahead of time with proper driving directions that you can print from the Internet. If you do not have time, or are leaving from another destination besides your home, then take along a GPS navigation system in your car or cell phone, or buy a map from a store along the way. If this is just part of a vacation and you are just passing through, you can take light rail to the Mall during your layover or transfer as a way to pass the time. It is just a short distance from the airport.

Budget out your time and money while you are on vacation at the Mall. If you are with older kids, consider giving them a set spending limit each day you are there and when the money is gone, their spending is over. If you wish, you can split up and meet at different stores at a set time or bring cell phones along to keep track of them and stay in touch. Consider purchasing a wristband if you will be taking advantage of the theme park rides.

Attend a special event, concert or autograph signing while you are at the mall. There are musical stars and sports figures that visit the Mall of America each month. Most of these events are free, however, you must arrive early to beat the crowds, find a seat or reserve a place in line.

Swim your way through the Mall of America by attending scuba diving sessions. Sessions take place in the basement and all equipment is provided. To reserve your space call (612) 925-4818. You must be 18 or over and certified in scuba diving. If you like less of an adventure, but still want to enjoy water, consider attending or staying at the Water Park of America, located just outside the mall. You do not have to be a guest there to enjoy the park. Or, go to Underwater Adventures Aquarium within the mall.

Let kids use their imagination and unleash their creativity using Legos located within the mall. This is a giant "village" made up of Legos of all shapes and sizes. Stroll by and see what others have created, or glance at the life-size Lego models.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are low on cash, shop at some of the lower-end retailers, or window shop.
  • Remember where you parked your car using the numbered spaces and themed aisles.
  • Set a cell phone alarm if you need to meet another party somewhere or are short on time.
  • Keep all packages in the trunk.
  • If possible, do not carry a purse.

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