Mall of America on July 06, 2013 in Minnesota. More than 530 stores are arranged along 3 levels of pedestrian walkways. Image credits: Jeffrey J Coleman via Shutterstock

The Mall of America

The Mall of America (MOA), located in Bloomington, Minnesota, first opened its doors in 1992, just as mall culture started to peak in the US. Even today, with online retailers being the prominent method of shopping, the mall remains a popular destination for tourists and locals – boasting tens of millions of visitors each year. Part of that ongoing success can be attributed to the sheer size and novelty that the Mall of America is known for. As the largest mall in the country, there are all sorts of fun things to see and do just on the other side of those famous glass-paned doors. 

Mall of America History

Bloomington/Minnesota 12.11.2018 photo of shopping mall in bloomington. Image credits: esperanza casso via Shutterstock

The history of this groundbreaking mall dates back to 1982 when local sports teams the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins relocated their franchises. According to the Mall of America website, this act left the Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington wide open for new development. 

Eventually, the site was purchased by Bloomington Port Authority and a proposal for a massive mega-mall was soon selected. From there, a Canadian-based development group called Triple Five Group, well known for developing the West Edmonton Mall, started to break ground.

On August 11, 1992, the Mall of America finally opened its doors to the public. Opening day saw 330 stores open for business, and over 10,000 employees clock in for their first day of work.

Today, local residents still lovingly refer to this site as “the old met.” And there’s even an easter egg inside the mall for true baseball fans. Head to the northwest corner inside of Nickelodeon Universe and you will find a brass home plate fixed inside the floor – marking the exact spot where the Twins brought many runners home to score. 

Economic Impact

Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America in Bloomington. Image credits: Ritu Manoj Jethani via Shutterstock

The Mall of America has had a large economic impact on Minnesota. Between stores, attractions, annual events, and tourism appeal, the mall generates roughly $2 billion each year for the state.

Information on the Triple Five Group website indicates that the mall is also a massive taxpayer in the state – since it's opening, it has generated more than $1.2 billion in tax revenue. Visitors spend approximately 52% more money at Mall of America than at any other mall nationwide. In addition to the money spent in stores, out-of-town visitors also spend roughly $1 billion annually on expenses outside of the mall including accommodations, local transportation, meals, and entertainment. 

Mall Attractions

 The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Image credits: Ritu Manoj Jethani via Shutterstock

Beyond your typical shopping experience, Mall of America also offers several family-friendly attractions that are sure to be memorable and fun. From axe throwing to Lego sculptures and colorful aquariums, there’s no shortage of things to fill your time here. Start your mall experience off with a thrilling roller coaster ride at Nickelodeon Universe. The seven-acre indoor theme park features rides, Nickelodeon characters, dining establishments, and gift shops. 

Next, feast your eyes on all kinds of visual stimuli at places like Wink World, Amazing Mirror Maze, and the 5D Cinema. Wink World, famously created by a member of The Blue Man Group, uses mirrors and colorful lights to play tricks on your eyes. Amazing Mirror Maze is a 2,500-square-foot maze filled with mirrors to throw you off course. 

Other notable attractions include the Crayola Experience, Dutchman’s Deck Adventure Course, and Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium. The Crayola Experience gives mall-goers the chance to name and wrap their own crayon, create unique coloring pages featuring your own face, and over 20 additional crayon-based activities. Dutchman’s Deck features one of the tallest rope courses in the world as well as ziplines and slides. Sea Life is a stunning aquarium that gets visitors up-close-and-personal with sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, jellyfish, seahorses, crocodiles, tarantula, and thousands more.

Mall Events

Mall of America stage circle. Image credits: IVY PHOTOS via Shutterstock

Whether you’re looking to attend a concert or host your child’s birthday party, the Mall of America has you covered. Hosting well over 400 events each year, MOA has seen everything from celebrity appearances to charity events and everything in between. One notable annual event is the Festival of Trees – a holiday-themed event designed to raise funds for Special Olympics Minnesota. Those hoping to visit MOA in 2024 have a slew of events to look forward to including:

Universe of Light

Hosted inside Nickelodeon Universe, Universe of Light is a nine minute light show described as an emotional journey through music and lights. Guests can expect to see an engaging display of strobe lights and smoke machines during the show.

Cirque du Soleil: Bazzar

A classic family-friendly event, Cirque du Soleil: Bazaar promises “an eclectic lab of endless invention where a joyous troupe of acrobats, dancers, and musicians create an awe-inspiring display.”

Rubik's North American All Stars

If you think you’re good at solving Rubik's Cubes, just wait until you see this. The all stars competition features a group of the world's fastest Rubik's Cube solvers, all competing for the top spot.

K-Pop World Festival

Concerts are common at the Mall of America. Historically they have hosted artists ranging from Taylor Swift to Def Leppard. And in 2024, it’s time for various local K-Pop artists to hit the stage. Divided into teams, each K-Pop group will be competing for a chance to travel to South Korea for a chance at winning the championship title. 

In Conclusion

When it comes to traveling in the US, Mall of America is a one-stop shop for all things vacation. From lively attractions and events to the mall’s unique history and shopping opportunities, you will find everything you need inside of this 5,600,000 square foot wonderland. So the next time you’re searching for family-friendly vacation destinations, consider Minnesota as a top-tier option.


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