Get ready to shop ‘til you drop! The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is home to the country’s most famous mall, numerous outlet malls, posh shopping centers and unique boutiques. And there’s no tax on clothing in Minnesota, so shoppers here get a big bang for their buck!
DAY 1: Mall of America, Bloomington
Mall of America, the country's largest entertainment and shopping complex, is located in suburban Bloomington just five minutes from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Devote a full day to your adventure at the big mall. This retail mecca has more than 520 stores, plus the indoor amusement park Nickelodeon Universe, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, restaurants, nightclubs, movie theaters, and special events such as celebrity book signings, performances and fashion shows all under one roof.
DAY 2: Metro Area Outlets
Set a course for outlet shops that offer savings of 25 to 65 percent. Albertville Premium Outlets, the largest of Minnesota's outlet centers with 100 shops, is located on I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Cloud. The focus here is on designer fashions and sportswear. Brands include Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole, Puma and Columbia Sportswear Company. North Branch Outlets, about 30 miles north of the Twin Cities, has more than 30 shops including Gap, Nike, Old Navy, Ashley Furniture and Wilsons Leather. There's also a multiscreen movie theater on-site. Or head south of the metro to Medford Outlet Center, located on I-35, 50 miles from Minneapolis. The center houses more than 30 shops including Bath & Body Works, Bass, Gymboree, Old Navy and Kitchen Collection.
DAY 3: Southdale and Galleria, Edina
Southdale Shopping Center, in the metro suburb of Edina, was America’s first indoor shopping center when it opened in 1956. Updated with numerous renovations over the decades, Southdale remains a vital shopping destination. With three levels and 150 stores, shoppers will find Ann Taylor, Michael Kors, Banana Republic, Gap, J. Crew and discount retailer Marshalls, as well as anchors Macy’s, Herberger’s and AMC Theaters. Specialty shops include Aveda, Coach and The Apple Store.
Next to Southdale is Galleria, featuring unique specialty stores and distinct dining destinations in a sophisticated, relaxed atmosphere. Browse iconic jewelry at Tiffany and Co. Find men’s and women’s clothing from Danish designers at Blue Willi’s, and classic and sophisticated attire at Pendleton and Eileen Fisher. Peruse luxury leathers at Louis Vuitton and cutting-edge audio equipment at Bang & Olufsen. Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and a two-story Crate and Barrel have fabulous home accessories. Shoppers will find the Westin Edina Galleria a perfect home base for Galleria and south metro sprees.
TRIP EXTENDERS: Nicollet Mall & Uptown (Minneapolis) & Grand Avenue (St. Paul)
Downtown Minneapolis features Nicollet Mall, where both sides of Nicollet Avenue are lined with hotels, restaurants, and retail and commercial businesses. Mall travel is restricted to buses and pedestrians. Clusters of shops are located in the IDS Center, Minneapolis City Center and Gaviidae Common. Large Macy’s and Target stores are on Nicollet. On Thursdays in the summer, Nicollet Mall hosts a farmer’s market. A statue on the mall marks where television character Mary Richards tossed her hat on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
Tucked into a residential neighborhood near the Minneapolis chain of lakes, Uptown is trendy and fun. The intersection of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue has big stores and boutiques, bars and restaurants, and stylish home decor shops. At Calhoun Square, find unique footwear for men and women at Bay Street Shoes, gourmet cooking supplies at Kitchen Window, rock ‘n’ roll fashions at VState, and affordable housewares at CB2. Another nearby home furnishings destination is Design Within Reach, with uber-tasteful designer objects. Ragstock, Urban Outfitters and The North Face are just a few Uptown clothing stores. Have a meal or happy hour at the Uptown Cafeteria or on the rooftop of Stella’s.
St. Paul's charming Grand Avenue has one-of-a-kind boutiques running for a mile between Dale Street and Lexington Avenue. Some of these family-owned businesses have been on the Avenue for decades, and others are recent, on-trend arrivals. Fashionistas will find hip clothing at Karma, Picky Girl, Susan Metzger and Hot Mama, and unique footwear at Shu Global. Several shops cater to wee ones, including Baby Grand and Creative Kidstuff. Refuel and relax during your outing at one the many restaurants, eateries and bars. Or indulge at a salon or spa. While in the area, check out Summit Avenue, one block north of Grand. Take a guided tour offered by the Minnesota Historical Society or drive the five-mile stretch of Summit from the Cathedral of St. Paul to the Mississippi River and see historic homes built between 1856 and 1880.