Here's Why You Need to Visit the Mall of America

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Wondering about that headline? Well, I can sum it up in two words: This Book.

Here's Why You Need to Visit the Mall of America

But since I'm more verbose than that, and really excited about this book, let's chat. I've known travel writer Beth Blair for years, and have always been impressed by whatever she's written. And, as longtime readers will know, we love Unofficial Guides. Let me tell you - this book? It's an incredible guide to the best mall in the US. And this comes from someone who doesn't like shopping!

First: I love Minnesota. I went to graduate school there, and often visited the Mall of America when I needed something. There's an enormous quantity of shops, and wide, clear hallways (always useful when you're in a wheelchair scooter). But sometimes, we'd just go to hang out, because there is so much to do there besides shopping.

Enter our kid. When we visited Minnesota again when Lillie was around 6 or so, we went to the MOA and saw it through new eyes. We skipped the shops, and focused on the aquarium and the AMUSEMENT PARK. Yes, the whole center of the mall is filled with rides, coasters, and all kinds of fun. 

But...

We didn't discover so many cool and interesting things to see, do, explore, and eat in the Mall - even though I'd been there many times before! I felt sad when I read of things after our visit, because those things would definitely have fit our family well.

Beth's new book, The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America, is that answer to that. As with all Unofficial Guides, it's packed with great information in an accessible, easy to read format. Also, for readers like me, she shares history, statistics, and more. Here's what you'll find:

* Planning your visit (gathering info, when to go, making the most of your money - and time)
* Where to stay 
* Arriving and getting oriented
* Dining (YUM!)
* MOA with kids
* The Stores
* Nickelodeon Universe (the amusement park RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE!)
* Other attractions
* Group activities
* Health, fitness, and beauty
* Index and maps

Of course, each section delves deep and shares more than I ever thought possible. If you love shopping, go here. If you don't love shopping, go here - there's so much to experience besides shopping! Of special interest to our family is an Unofficial scavenger hunt list - we LOVE scavenger hunts! 

Whether you've been 100 times or this is your first time visiting the Mall of America, keep this book in hand to get the most out of your time and experience. Highly recommended.

We were lucky enough to speak with Beth, and ask about the book, inspiration, tips, and more. Here's what she had to say...

Beth Blair, author of the Unofficial Guide to Mall of America

Please tell us about your new book, The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America...
The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America is the first guidebook ever written on the mall. The book starts with history, fun facts and interesting tidbits then moves into the helpful information: transportation (planes, trains, automobiles), accommodations (hotels, campgrounds), and parking tips. The book covers all aspects of the mall including all of the attractions and an entire chapter on Nickelodeon Universe. There are also entire chapters designated to visiting with kids, groups, dining, stores and even health and fitness (yes, the mall has fitness programs!).

Here's Why You Need to Visit the Mall of America

What inspired you to write this book?
I can't take credit for the book idea. The publisher has specialized in other successful titles including The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and Mall of America seemed like the perfect addition to the series since a guidebook had never been written about the mall. Did you know Mall of America has more visitors (42 million/year) than Magic Kingdon (close to 20 million/year)?

Mall of America's Phase II has been rolling out over the last year so the timing was perfect. A couple of my favorite new attractions include the Crayola Experience and FlyOver America.

Here's Why You Need to Visit the Mall of America

I love the MOA, having lived in the Cities. What would you say to readers who don't know it's SO much more than shopping?
Visitors can easily show up and stay so busy that they never walk into a store. Not that I recommend that, since there are so many great stores. But there are that many attractions. Even then most shoppers don't make it all of the way through the mall. Many shoppers tell me they end up missing an entire floor or side because there is so much see. In fact, that happened to me during my first visit in 2001 and the mall wasn't as big as it is now. As for a must-see store: I high recommend visitors check out ME3D, a store with a 360-degree photo booth that produces figurines of the subject. It's the new selfie.

Here's Why You Need to Visit the Mall of America

What might people be surprised to learn, about the MOA?
The 7-acre Nickelodeon Universe uses natural pesticides for the plants – ladybugs! Also, the social media team is outstanding and very interactive and funny.

Here's Why You Need to Visit the Mall of America

What are your top tips for utilizing your guide?
I recommend that readers use mini sticky notes for the various highlights that pique their interests and number them according to their wish list. Some visitors want to do it all but they don't plan for the longer weekend ride lines and then find there is no time for Moose Mountain Adventure Golf or Sea Life. Even as a local, I know that my family will spend a long time at the Stingray exhibit in Sea Life, so if I have other things on my agenda, I will get those done first before venturing into the aquarium.

Here's Why You Need to Visit the Mall of America

What's up next for you?
I'm asking the same. I'm currently wrapping up a really fun copywriting job with a major cruise line.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
My tip of the day is use the lockers at Mall of America! Patches of electronic, all day lockers are located near main entrances and under the Ferris wheel in Nickelodeon Universe. No one wants to haul around armfuls of shopping bags. The best part is there are jumbo options so guests visiting the mall on a layover at the local Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport can stash their luggage while they shop. https://www.mallofamerica.com/guests/services

 

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Beth Blair/Unofficial Guides

 

 

 

 

 

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