Mall of America has always been big, and it's not done growing. The famous mall, home to more than 520 stores, 50 restaurants, a theme park and an aquarium, continues to add trendy shops, exciting entertainment options, restaurants and big events that bring 40 million visits through its doors each year.
You can transform into a stormtrooper and save the galaxy at The Void, a state-of-the art experience that combines virtual reality, physical stages and multi-sensory effects, including touch and smell. Located on Level 3 near Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, this award-winning experience is the first location in the Midwest and will feature rotating experiences including Marvel and "Ralph Breaks the Internet."
Catch a movie at CMX Market Cinema. The high-end theater offers plush, reserved seating and an upscale market that offers everything from made-to-order burgers and gourmet popcorn to a full bar with specialty cocktails and fine wines.
For even more fun with friends, work together to solve clues and escape from one of the immersive experiences inside The Escape Game. Challenges include breaking out of a jail cell, fixing your Mars rover to get back to Earth, and rescuing a stolen painting from an art gallery.
MOA’s popular indoor theme park, Nickelodeon Universe, is home to 27 attractions and counting. Some of the newest include the Bubble Guppies Guppy Bubbler, the longest indoor zip line in the country, and a nightly light show. Opened in fall 2018, the new Paw Patrol attraction recreates the animated world from the wildly popular TV show.
Adjacent to Nickelodeon Universe, FlyOver America simulates soaring over national landmarks. The seats move and swing gently, creating a sense of flying. The immersive experience features wind, mist and scents to enhance the images on the screen. Next to FlyOver, the 5D Extreme Attraction gives riders the choice between a wild ride through a mystery mine, or a trip underwater with prehistoric beasts.
At Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, the newest exhibit takes visitors into the rainforest for face-to-face interaction with cockroaches, piranhas, crocodiles, snakes and other creepy critters. Another family favorite, Crayola Experience offers kids 25 hands-on activities like naming and wrapping their own crayons, as well as a massive retail store.
Mall of America has two on-site hotels, the JW Marriott and Radisson Blu. Both hotels feature full-service restaurants and bar, fitness centers, pools and meeting space, as well as direct access to the mall. Several other hotels in the area offer shuttle service to the mall, including the new Great Wolf Lodge with a water park, arcade, bowling alley and interactive games.
Three big brands recently opened up shop on the mall's north side: a two-story Zara, a flagship Anthropologie store, and Minnesota's first Toms location, offering shoes, eyewear, apparel and other accessories. Other newcomers include the Crochet Store, a new H&M, Canada Goose, Morphe Cosmetics and SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker.
In addition to the country's biggest chains, the mall also features many local merchants. Of particular note is Fourpost, a collection of brands selling everything from apparel to furniture to food, all in one immersive space.
Culinary on North, an upscale food court on level three, features a dozen fast-casual restaurants, with food served on actual plates with silverware. Diners can dig into gourmet grilled cheese at Melt Shop, Indian-style burritos at Hot Indian Foods, and burgers and milkshakes at Shake Shack.
Bring your taste buds on a trip to Flavortown when Guy Fieri's Chicken Guy! opens in early 2020. Other new eateries include Wahlburgers, Carlo’s Bakery (of “Cake Boss” fame) and Wonders Ice Cream.
MOA's new transit center makes it easier than ever to get to the mall via light rail, bus or bike. Valet parking, formerly available at Nordstrom and the Radisson Blu, now includes the option for shoppers to drop their car off on one side of the building and pick it up on another. Park Assist shows shoppers where there are open parking spots.
Once inside, the mall offers free Wi-Fi throughout the building, a mobile app and interactive digital directories in 10 languages.
Families with kids on the autism spectrum can rest assured they'll be well taken care of thanks to the mall's new designation as a Certified Autism Center, with sensory guides available for each ride at Nickelodeon Universe.
Caitlin Hannah is Explore Minnesota's social media strategist and resident Disney expert. She grew up spending summer weekends at her family's lake cabin in Detroit Lakes, and brings that "up north" attitude to everything she does. When traveling around the state, she likes trying new restaurants and taprooms, or watching Minnesota hockey.
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