Friday, November 11, 2016

On the Road Again (Mall of America)

On our journey back home, my wife and I decided to stop at Mall of America, the huge shopping complex in Bloomington, Minnesota. It's been on our bucket list -- a place to see if within driving distance.

It wasn't what we expected. We thought it would be in some semi-rural area, and perhaps it was when it opened in 1992, but it's right off the I-494 for easy access. No doubt it's a shopaholic's dream destination. 
A view from the third level

Here are a few facts:

  • Four out of 10 visitors to the mall are tourists (it attracts 40 million (yes, that's correct, million, visitors a year)
  • The walking distance around one level is 1.15 miles
  • There are 5.6 million square feet of gross building area
  • There are about 520 stores, with about 12,000 employees
  • There are 27 rides in Nickelodeon Universe
  • There are 12,750 parking spaces on the two parking levels (I didn't have any trouble getting one, or finding my vehicle when ready to leave.)
  • More than 400 events are held each year

We didn't arrive at the mall until early evening and walked around the four levels -- a quick window shopping. I could say you could almost get lost, but everything is well marked so if you keep your bearings, you're safe. Mary did buy chocolate ice cream on a cone. We were there as sightseers, not shoppers. 

Nickelodeon amusement park
As you might expect, there are plenty of clothing stores (no sales tax on clothing and shoes in Minnesota), various and sundry places to shop and eat, and areas such as Nickelodeon Universe, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, American Girl, Lego Store, and movie theaters. It also attracts walkers, who can enjoy the constant 70-degree temperatures, especially during the frigid Minnesota winters. 

So there's something for everyone -- in large quantities. A shopper's paradise. 

And I might add that the mall is nice and clean. The upkeep has been extraordinary for a place that's nearly 25 years old. I'm sure it will be decked out for the holidays. I have a friend in Green Bay, Wisconsin, who has participated in shopping trips on tour busses to the mall, so I can imagine what the place will be like from now until Christmas with folks coming in from all directions.

Next stop: Starved Rock State Park in Illinois

Until the next time....

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