The Mall of America near the Minneapolis airport was big news the first time I visited Minneapolis in 1999, but now everyone is used to the fact that the Biggest Mall in the United States exists.
How big is it? Well, it’s so big it has an amusement park in the middle — as well as several other amusement-type parks like an aquarium, a Crayola park, and a Legoland, and coming in is an M&M Experience just like the one of the Las Vegas Strip. It has 530 stores, although the flagship Sears store is now closed.
I was seriously worried that it had gone downhill in the 20+ years since I’d last seen it. It was amazing then, and dead malls are scary and sad. It didn’t help that on the way in, the lazy buskers turned out to be indoor bums — because outdoor bums are dead.
But then the rest of it came into glorious, gleaming view. Compared its previous incarnation on my first visit, like most things these days, it was more modern, brighter, and better. The amusement park seemed considerably bigger; all I remembered from the past was a ferris wheel. Now it has a flume! And a Flyover America ride. And true beach boardwalk style thrill rides like this: https://youtu.be/IWBsqMTDgOg
We were just there for coffee and brunch, but we ended up marvelling at a store that sells board games….nothing but board games. The top floor, which used to have a discount book store, was now a movie theatre. And the middle was open to the sky, allowing the construction of a 4-story high Lego masterpiece (as well as several others.)
I was sorely tempted to eat at the “Minneawaffolis,” but ended up at Cowboy Jack’s instead. On the way there, we were entranced by a Crayola store so big it has its own “experience” (melt your crayons to make sculptures, take selfies, create a video) and art made of crayons:
Just as it had been, it was a place with so much you could live there and never go out. And indeed, it now has a hotel, so you can do just that until you’re really and truly shopped out.
By the time we had a Valentine’s Day piece of cheesecake, the early morning was catching up to me, and we decided to head to our hotel downtown.
Minneapolis in 2 Days #1: How Did I Get There?
Minneapolis in 2 Days #3: Downtown