Girls Weekend – Mall Of America, Minneapolis

Disney Land is the most magical place on earth… they say. Think again my friends, think again. When Mum and I decided to make our Christmas shopping trip an annual thing little did she know it would be taking us far across the pond to the biggest shopping mall in the USA!! Sit back, grab a tea and (or a festive Egg Nog) and find out all you need to know about the Mall Of America.

Where?

The Mall Of America is located just a short 1.5 miles from Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport and with over 50 hotels located within ten minutes of the mall, it is in a perfect location for a long weekend, stop over, city break or just like us, an excuse to shop. 

What?

But the best part about this place is, it is not just a shopping centre. Covering 5.6 million square feet of retail and entertainment and 520 world class shops and attractions, of course, a huge part of it is the shopping. But did you know it is also home to SEA Life Minnesota (a 1.3 million gallon underwater experience), Escape Rooms, Mini Golf, Cinema’s, Restaurants and Bars… Oh and just a little thing called Nickelodeon Universe, a full blown theme park including rides, roller coasters and virtual reality experiences, right in the middle of the mall. It really does have it all. 

IMG_0342I was very kindly gifted some tickets and passes to use whilst staying at the Mall of America so we could really experience everything it had to offer. (SEALife, FlyOver America, Moose Mountain Mini Golf, Nickelodeon Universe Ride Band, Zip Wire and an incredible coupon book of discounts to use in the mall). However the trip itself was paid for ourselves. 

Something for Everyone

Trying to squeeze everything in to 3 days (and not a lot of suitcases… we’ll get to that shortly), we found ourselves waking up quite early to make sure nothing was missed, and often enough being the first ones in the mall. First Stop; the Crayola experience (My 10 year old art loving self was in her element). From crayons, to colouring books, paint and all things arts and crafts the shop had it all. Also a really fun part of it for all the family is experience itself playing host to over 25 hands on creative activities and attractions. Fun for all the family. Considering we were two grown ups, we probably spent a lot longer in here than we should have…

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You can’t be on a girls shopping trip without visiting the mother of all shoe shops… by the QUEEN herself. SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker is the most beautiful newly opened shoe store. Playing host to every colour stiletto you could every possibly dream of. A perfect shop to stop in and buy those Christmas Sparkly Heels… Or beautiful coloured wedding shoes. It is also a dream for the Gram!!

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I think mum’s highlight of the whole trip was staying on site, in the Mall. The JW Marriott is one of the hotels that has its own private entrance, from the hotel directly into the Mall. With it’s huge, spacious rooms (plenty of floor space for all those shopping bags), restaurant and bar. It really made our lives a lot easier when having to do bag drops, quick changes and of course wine stops. All the staff were also lovely, and the hotel itself was beautiful. This would come very highly recommended for anyone looking for a hotel nearby.

Food and Drink 

Of course, I couldn’t have gone on a trip to the US without mentioning food and drink. And I’ll tell you, this place has it all. From quick coffee stops (One favourite was Caribou Coffee, with the extensive menu and the incredible choice of White, Dark or Milk chocolate when ordering a Mocha. That’s enough for my vote alone!). 

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To quick bites, and full blown sit down table service meals. We didn’t have a bad experience in any of them. So here is a quick run down of where we went and what we ate:

Buffalo Wild Wings – I do NOT need to explain. The best wings, the best place to watch sports, and had some of the nicest staff too.

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Rainforest Cafe – Normally I don’t usually like going to these big chained restaurants as I usually find the service and the menu to be a bit… underwhelming. However it was quite busy everywhere, we were starving and mum had never been. So in we went.

I am pleased to say I was pleasantly surprised. Of course Mum opted for the drink where she got to keep the cup, and insisted she posed with the menu for my Blog… And the mashed potato was to die for!

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Sugar Factory – Again another new exciting addition to the Mall. And we were super lucky to be visiting on its opening weekend. Sugar Factory is famous online, in the world of Instagram and with lots of celebrities around the world. I can see why!

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With its extensive, unusual menu of all things sweet and savoury, beautiful interior and hosts to its very own flower wall.

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Did I mention the size of the milkshakes too?

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The final restaurant well worth a mention is Crave. I am SO glad we came in here. The food and the drink was delicious, and I even successfully introduced my mum to Sushi for the first time, which makes me very happy!

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Lovely restaurant to go too if there was a group of you in town and you had something to celebrate, as it had a real upmarket vibe to it.

Nickelodeon Universe 

Enough of the food talk, when we weren’t too busy eating, drinking or shopping. We acted like children and had the best time in Nickelodeon Universe. Its one of those places that photos just don’t do it justice, but I’ve tried my best. 

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The huge Dora The Explorer wheel one of the first things you are greeted with. Followed by colourful roller coasters, skinny rides, flying cars and zip lines.

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The Christmas themed Spongebob characters were my favourite. Who doesn’t want a Patrick Star Bauble in their life?

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Disclaimer – I wouldn’t advise riding the Fairly Odd Coaster, with your mum, who hasn’t been on a roller coaster in probably 15 years. The SCREAMS that came out of her mouth… The poor girls opposite us were deafened!!

The most wonderful time of the year…

Now it really wouldn’t be a Christmas Shopping trip without overloading you all with Christmas Decorations. And the Mall of America does NOT do it by halves. The way they decorated was really classy, not too over the top, but really did capture the true magic of Christmas.

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I really feel like the Nutcracker’s have become really popular in England this year (correct me if I’m wrong but I never really recall seeing them in too many shops before now). But in the US they seem to LOVE them, from the huge statue outside Santa’s workshop, to all the figures to buy in the shops.

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And you of course can’t complete a shopping trip without a personalised Christmas Decoration.

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Santa’s workshop was just outside the entrance to our hotel, so we walked past this beauty every day. How amazing does this look!?

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I hope this has given you an insight of the wonders that lie within the walls of the Mall Of America and hopefully it is now somewhere you would consider for your next girls shopping trip?

I fully advise to take as many empty suitcases with you as possible to avoid being in the same situation as we were, having to buy more suitcases to bring home. The grand total, stuffed to the brim with Christmas Presents was six cases, two hand luggage bags and a duffle bag…

MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!!! 

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