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First trip to MOA - any advice?

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Omaha, Nebraska
Destination Expert
for Omaha
posts: 3,402
reviews: 137
First trip to MOA - any advice?

I want to take my wife to the Mall of America for a weekend shopping excursion getaway. Any tips , advice, favorite places to eat, places to avoid, etc would be most welcome. I have been to the Twin cities before, but it was work related and I was between the airport and downtown...

Planning on staying in the Mall area.

Thanks in advance.

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 4,224
reviews: 18
1. Re: First trip to MOA - any advice?

What time of year are you planning to visit?

There are people who like a couple of the places in the mall for dining. I am not one of them. Sure, for lunch there are fine choices (like CRAVE). But for a nice dinner if it's just the two of you, I would hop on the light rail and go explore the Minneapolis downtown. Just a hair under 40 minutes by light rail to the Nicollet Mall stop. A variety of non-chain places to eat in the downtown area. Maybe go down a few hours early and see a little of the downtown sights, like the riverfront, then cruise over to your choice of restaurant. Then back to the mall.

Also you should know that there is a nice shopping area downtown as well, including department stores that aren't at the MOA. One for sure she might like is Saks 5th Avenue OFF Fifth (the discounted merchandise).

For the mall itself, I would have her spend some time with the store directory on line so she doesnt' miss sny places she wants to see. Make a plan to hit those and then do the general wandering for the sightseeing -- to take in the enormity of the place. And to people watch.

Also, if you are choosing between a hotel with a shuttle and one within walking distance, take the one in walking distance as the tiebreaker. It's nice to have the shuttle but it's one less thing to arrange if you can walk. AND especially if you're taking the light rail downtown (which you definitely should).

I don't mean to rip the mall too much, but I think it's important to see something other than the mall and if the cheap/easy transport is there, take it! If only for a non-mall meal. Or to see Minnehaha Park. etc

The one store I can think of at the MOA she won't want to miss is DSW. Shoes galore. My wife drags me there every time.

Chattanooga...
Destination Expert
for Chattanooga, Blowing Rock, North Carolina Smoky Mountains
posts: 5,206
reviews: 77
2. Re: First trip to MOA - any advice?

We have enjoyed The Napa Valley Grille in MOA. We have enjoyed several dinners here and do not have the feel of being in the mall.

Since we do not live in the Minneapolis area, but visit on a regular basis, because of family, we just enjoy the mall environment. We find, that all the mall has to offer, is just interesting. Just watching the children have fun at Camp Snoopy, to the comparison of shops that the mall offers. Literally, from one end to another, there are mega choices of interesting stops to make in the 3 levels, plus. There is much to find interesting for all of us. Skip some and spend time in others.

Your visit to Mall of America is a day full of new interests. Have fun!

West Des Moines...
posts: 615
reviews: 24
3. Re: First trip to MOA - any advice?

I hear the new Radisson Blu attached to the MOA is pretty cool to stay at.

Omaha, Nebraska
Destination Expert
for Omaha
posts: 3,402
reviews: 137
4. Re: First trip to MOA - any advice?

Thanks for the tips ! We plan to go in the next few weeks here in September.

I have no objection to eating at the Mall if the places are good. We will have our car so no problem driving a bit if necessary. I have to check online to see if there is a White Castle nearby - I still crave those from my misspent youth in Chicago,,,,

Chattanooga...
Destination Expert
for Chattanooga, Blowing Rock, North Carolina Smoky Mountains
posts: 5,206
reviews: 77
5. Re: First trip to MOA - any advice?

Oh, how funny. We have the equivalent down South, called Krystal. Sometimes, you just have to eat one.

There is Culvers!

There are some great restaurants in the MSP area.

Chattanooga...
Destination Expert
for Chattanooga, Blowing Rock, North Carolina Smoky Mountains
posts: 5,206
reviews: 77
6. Re: First trip to MOA - any advice?

Oh, how funny. We have the equivalent down South, called Krystal. Sometimes, you just have to eat one.

There is Culvers!

There are some great restaurants in the MSP area. The Napa Valley Grill is still getting excellent reviews.

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 4,224
reviews: 18
7. Re: First trip to MOA - any advice?

There is a White Castle in Bloomington, on the east side of town no less, which is where the MOA is.

Just head west from the area of the mall on either 86th or American Blvd (depending on where your hotel is) and turn left on Lyndale. You'll see it at about 96th Street

Minneapolis...
posts: 42
reviews: 23
8. Re: First trip to MOA - any advice?

The Raddison Blu is pretty nice as my husband and I stayed there for a night. Downtown Minneapolis does have some nice things down there to see and it's a great walk along Nicollet Mall area where you have Mary Tyler Moore statue and such. You can easily take train from the MOA to Nicollet mall area and back.

The MOA itself is nice if you want to do a lot of shopping. As another person posted I would check out the mall directory online and see what kind of stores your wife might like to see. They are ever so changing things around in that place.

Have fun!

Minneapolis...
posts: 20
reviews: 5
9. Re: First trip to MOA - any advice?

I grew up with the MOA but we did just have a first time visitor and based on her comments, I would encourage you to wander. Wear comfortable shoes and take it all in! Most of the stores you'll see elsewhere, it's the facination with the enormity of it all that gets you. Our visitor was intrigued when she learned about the invisible city that lurks underneath the first floor, where merchandise moves around and mall workers get chores like trash, etc. done. You see some of this if you ever watched the Mall Cop series that showed the day in the lives of the cops at MOA. (Probably could find reruns online somewhere) And the facinating facts around climate control , see: brokensecrets.com/2010/…

The Sea of Life Acquarium is really cool and often overlooked by locals and visitors. Make sure you take at least one ride in the amusement park, it's not Six Flags but there are a few fun ones for adults and you get a different perspective when you're up in the air.

Our visitor had heard about Dick's Last Resort at the MOA and wanted to eat there. It was unique! The food was good but the theme is basically that the wait staff insults you on purpose and if you've "got game" you could find it fun. I'm a bit prudish so I was uncomfortable but everyone else seemed to really get a kick out of it. There's a great sushi place (Tiger Sushi). I like Crave, too. If you're looking for a quick bite in the food court there Baja Fresh which I like over the more traditional food court food.

Since you'll have a car, I'd also take a drive and even walk around the chain of Lakes (Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake Nokomis) it's a beautiful time of year to be visiting. Yes, you can go Downtown but why not venture out west 25 minutes and eat lunch or dinner at Maynard's on the shores of Lake Minnetonka or better yet a romantic sunset dinner on their deck? Shop the quaint mainstreet shops where you won't find a chain store. If you do go Downtown, focus on the restaurants and bars along the Mississippi River. It's a gorgeous area and a great place to eat.

For hotels, you have tons of choices. Since you have a car, you can stay almost anywhere. Frankly, if it's not rush hour, you can get between most places within 20-25 minutes. Parking is abundant and free at MOA so you're not restricted to the hotels that most people would stay (and are higher priced) who don't have one. Do a map search for hotels and see if there's one that appeals to you.

Don't forget Minnesota doesn't have tax on clothing or most groceries so as long as you're driving you might want to stock up on your favorites at the Costco or Super Target (too many locations to pick, we are the headquarters for Target afterall). There's likely one of each on your route in/out of town.

The Twin Cities have a lot to offer and the Mall of America is just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended) ... have fun!

Omaha, Nebraska
Destination Expert
for Omaha
posts: 3,402
reviews: 137
10. Re: First trip to MOA - any advice?

Wow thanks much.

Looking forward to our visit. The mall seems to have lots of stores that we do not have in Omaha. We want to hit the IKEA store as well that is near by as well as another store a few miles away, I think we will be quite busy.