Mall of America in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, made headlines this autumn when the megamall announced it will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Employees and customers cheered. However, on the day after Thanksgiving (aka Black Friday), Mall of America will be open and in full swing. The day kicks off the annual holiday shopping season.
Beth Blair, author of The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America shares with us her tips for successful Holiday Shopping at Mall of America
Having spent peak days at Mall of America, including Black Friday and Christmas Eve, I’ve picked up some tricks and tips for making the experience pleasant.
Take the hotel shuttle, Uber, or valet park. If you’re staying locally, opt for the hotel transportation or catch an Uber ride. The parking at Mall of America is complete madness over the holidays (especially weekends) and you can easily spend an hour waiting to find a spot. If you must drive, choose the Mall of America valet service. Not only do you not have to worry about parking the car yourself, but the service will also bring your car to you! Simply use the online app.
Carrying several bags around the massive Mall of America can get tiresome. Some parents are able to use a stroller to help with carrying their loot, but shoppers who are not already pushing something do have an option. Mall of America rents shopping carts ($7) at all guest service desks.
Those who have a lot of holiday shopping to do will want to consider using the mall’s lockers as their bags accumulate. Mall of America has pockets of lockers located near main entrances (East, South, West and North) and near the north Nickelodeon Universe entrance (under the Ferris wheel). These aren’t your average theme park lockers. There are four sizes (depending upon the location), and shoppers have all-day access. Cost: Regular ($6), Large ($8), Extra Large ($11), Jumbo ($13).
Sweet Treats and Fun Items
Nearly every store you meander into will feature something with a holiday theme. We suggest you pop into the sweet shops when it’s time for a treat. The Peeps store always has fun flavors, including Candy Cane and Gingerbread. Northwoods Candy Emporium has a variety of flavored fudge. Bath & Body Works never disappoints with their seasonal scents. Build-A-Bear is a fun place to take the kids. In addition to holiday-themed items, there is Mall of America attire, like T-shirts, for the bears (and other stuffed friends).
Mall of America is magical this time of year, not only because the holiday season is alive and well but also because there is more than one Santa. This year Professor Bellows has two locations. The first location, outside of Macy’s (S146) has the longtime Santa whom locals know and adore. The new location (W322) has three new Santa options in different clothing styles. The calendar is coded with icons stamped with Santa’s photo. Reservations are recommended.
Atrociously decorated Christmas sweaters have become a trend in recent years. If you forced your mom to throw out her snow scene cardigans years ago, then you might have trouble finding one to borrow. Your best bet at Mall of America is Ragstock. This store offers new and recycled clothes, and its location rotates regularly. Sometimes there is more than one location. Therefore, check in at the mall’s Guest Services for this year’s updated location.
During the entire month of December, the Rotunda will have holiday-themed shows and events. December 6th at 10 a.m. the Toddler Tuesday feature is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. There is also a rumor that FlyOver America is going to have a special touch. (Hint: In October the experience featured a flying witch). We suggest you keep up with Mall of America’s Events page for upcoming features.
Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!
If you plan on holiday shopping at Mall of America or if you visit at a later time check out The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America, by Beth Blair. Beth offers lots of insight and tips that will make the visit fun.