RV Retail Rendezvous- Mall of America

Shop til’ you drop and sightsee with ease when you visit the Mall of America by Motorhome

Ever thought you might use your RV to tackle the ultimate urban shopping experience? In Minnesota, the answer’s easy: You betcha’!

Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota’s vast shopping megaplex, is the nation’s most visited – and among its largest – retail and entertainment centers.

With 4.2 million square feet, the sprawling complex in this south Minneapolis suburb is home to more than 520 stores, a family amusement park, underwater adventure aquarium, 14-screen movie complex and dozens of restaurants.

Although the city of Bloomington doesn’t allow overnight RV parking at the mall itself, there are plenty of RV resorts, campgrounds and public parks within an easy drive of the massive shopping center.

So whether you’re looking for a fun getaway with your grandkids, a family back-to-school shopping extravaganza, a big dose of retail therapy, or a gala shopping getaway weekend with the girls, chances are you’ll be able to manage it from the comfort of your own RV.

Where To Go, What To Do

Taking your motorhome on a marathon shopping weekend may be the perfect way to experience Bloomington and the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area. You have a built-in home base, access to mass transit and the flexibility to come and go as you choose.

The trick is knowing how to get there and where to park your rig: RV parking is available in the North overflow parking lot area, next to IKEA and across the street from the mega-mall.

Take 494 to Cedar Avenue (Highway 77) south and exit on Lindau Lane. Turn left at the second stoplight, across from Sears, and park in the northernmost area. You’re allowed to stay until midnight.

So we’re not talking Wal-Mart. Mall of America is a premiere palace of consumption, truly the ultimate consumer experience. And if over-the-top shopping makes your pulse quicken, then brace yourself for the ride of your life.

Often described as a “city within a city,” the mall is really almost too much to absorb in just one day. From quirky stores devoted to All Things Minnesota, specialty cheese shops and stores devoted to farm toys to national retailers and familiar department stores, the risk of “shopping til’ you drop’ seems quite real here.

One part shopping center, one part theme park, one part family fun center and restaurant Mecca, there is surely something to appeal to all tastes, located in a comfort controlled setting.

Maps are a must and are readily available, along with plenty of “you are here” information kiosks. When navigating the mall, just remember that the complex is essentially a rectangle with four corner anchor stores: Nordstrom’s, Sears, Macys and Bloomingdale’s. Four three-story retail corridors connect the stores; each boasts their own style and look, from a garden stroll to vibrant neon.

Located in the midst of all of this is Nickelodeon Universe, an entertainment gallery that boasts a 14-screen cinema, nine nightclubs, bowling lanes and game arcades.

Billed as the nation’s largest indoor theme park, Nickelodeon Universe features more than 25 amusement park-style rides. Just follow the screams. Admission is free; guests pay by the ride. Or purchase an unlimited ride wristband for the day.

What You Need To Know

The Mall of America attracts some 43 million visitors a year, so give some thought as to when you’d like to come.

Most of those visitors tend to arrive during two distinct tourist seasons – the summer months of June, July and August and the November-December holiday season. Back-to-School shopping is also popular, as there is no sales tax on clothing in Minnesota.

The good news is that there are a variety of RV resorts, campgrounds and parks within the Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington vicinity.

Tailor your experience to what makes you comfortable. Prefer to be close to the urban action? Rather have a natural setting?

A little advance research on campsites and amenities is always advised.

Once you’ve settled, be sure to take advantage of the good public transportation, much of which uses the Mall of America as a hub. The Hiawatha Line, for instance, can link you to fast light-rail service from the Mall of America directly into downtown Minneapolis.

Like a trip to Disneyland or any major amusement park, taking in the Mall of America requires energy and planning. Get online in advance (www.mallofamerica.com) and request a visitor’s guide.

Identify your “must-see” destinations, wear comfortable shoes and pace yourself. You’ll find plenty of places to stop, sit, and watch the world go by while you catch your breath.

For your convenience, the mall also rents strollers, shopping carts and electric cars. Wheelchairs are available free of charge.



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