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Visiting the Mall of America on a Minneapolis Layover

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mall of america

Mall of America

When you have little kids the Minneapolis airport is pretty great thanks to its dedicated children’s play area. However when they get bigger, really long layovers can be a drag.

There’s often the option to put your bags in lockers offered by the airport and go out and explore the city.

If you find yourself on a long-ish layover in Minneapolis International Airport, a quick train ride can take you from the airport to the biggest mall in the country within 10-15 minutes – the Mall of America!

Let me guess, you’re thinking why in the world would I want to go shopping on a layover, when you likely already have plenty of carry-ons? This is where you’re wrong.

The Mall of America has way more than just places to shop. How about:

  • a gigantic (7 acre) Nickelodeon Universe indoor amusement park with rides for all ages?
  • an 18 hole mini golf course?
  • ropes course and zipline across the amusement park?
  • an aquarium featuring 10,000 sea creatures (if you’re  SCUBA certified you can even swim with sharks)?
  • a 14 screen movie theatre including 3D and D-BOX motion seats?
  • the American Girl store and cafe?
  • The Escape Game escape room
  • The VOID hyper-reality VR experience
  • 20+ sit down restaurants and dozens more fast food and snack options?

Getting to the mall from the airport is really easy thanks to the light rail system that has been built in the Twin Cities. Simply board the blue line light rail from the airport (watch for signs) and you’ll be at the mall in minutes. It will only cost you a few dollars too!

Some more fun facts

  • 40 million visitors annually which is more than the combined populations of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa…and Canada!
  • 7 Yankee Stadiums can fit inside the Mall
  • 32 Boeing 747s could fit inside the Mall
  • The Mall now generates nearly $2 billion each year in economic impact for the state of Minnesota
  • If you do decide to shop, Minnesota doesn’t charge sales tax on clothing making your purchases more affordable.

Kids really love to play at the Mall. You can buy unlimited wristbands to ride the attractions in the amusement park or buy bunches of tickets if you’ve got limited time. For the biggest rides the height requirement is 48″, meaning most kids 8 and up can ride without mom or dad.

Another favorite stop is the LEGO store where you can fill a container with any of the 180+ different pieces on the LEGO wall for either $9.99 or $14.99. For daredevils the ropes course is a challenge but also a great way to burn off energy before a flight. 

Weekends in winter tend to be the busiest time, so if you’ve got a midweek layover you’ll likely find few lines and lots of fun!

SEA LIFE at Mall of America brings you closer than ever to thousands of sea creatures including sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, jellyfish, seahorses and more!

Take a guided Behind-the-Scenes tour and go above Shark Cove and the 300ft long Ocean Tunnel, visit the Food Prep Kitchen and Water Quality Lab and learn what it takes to create an ocean in Minnesota.

Discover the magic of color at the Crayola Experience!

Bursting with more than 20 hands-on activities, this one-of-a-kind family attraction is where color, chemistry and technology combine to create a colorful adventure for a child’s imagination. Name and wrap your own crayon, star in a coloring page, bring your art to life in 4-D and so much more! Perfect for a day of family fun.

FlyOver America is a flight simulation ride that brings guests on a breathtaking, aerial tour of some of the greatest landmarks and regions throughout the United States in virtual flight technology. The attraction is a fully immersive experience including wind, mist and even scents.

Shopping – With over 520 stores, there’s something for everyone at the Mall of America. From fashion and food to tech and toys, the mall has what you’re looking for — and then some.