A shining beacon of retail glory, the Mall of America continues to redefine itself as an ideal vacation destination and self-contained city. Whether traveling to visit the jaw-dropping attractions, get some serious shopping done, taking a quick layover run-through, or even an always 71 degrees staycation, there are many miles and eateries to cover within the 5.6 million square feet within the Mall of America.
8 a.m. Breakfast Urbana Craeft Market
Located a short drive from the mall, this is an ideal spot to stop on the way from the hotel to the mall without hitting those sad breakfast bars or the stiff prices at hotel restaurants. Order some Aebleskiver, basically pancaked batter cooked into the size and shape of a golf ball. It’s just one of the Minnesota-tinged dishes on the menu, and a delight to enjoy before a long day of fun and walking.
10 a.m. Power Up, Sencha Tea, 392 North Garden
Grab a quick moment of zen just before the stores open with a cup of gorgeousness from this local tea outfitter. Teas run the gamut from lush herbal beauties to a stiff-upper-lip black breakfast type tea. Or grab a cup of bubble tea before hitting up the stores.
12 p.m. Lunch, Catina Laredo, 300 West Market
A fantastic stop for Mexican food and margaritas. The food is above standard mall fare with chef Mauricio Legorreta serving up fan favorites and specials that are pull on his extensive cooking career. Take a seat on the patio and enjoy the people watching.
3 p.m. Fry Break, Hot Indian 332 Culinary on North
Check out the newly renovated North Garden that’s not quite a food court, yet manages to be... well, it’s a food court. But, don’t tell the mall people we noticed. The collection of grab and go restaurants contains plenty of familiar national names, but there’s also a local outpost of Hot Indian. What began as a food truck has become a quickly building little local chain. The spice-packed dishes are also a great place for gluten-free and vegetarians to find flavorful options. No matter the food agenda, the Indi Frites are a winner: spicy French fries with a saucy dip. Grab an order and partake in the age-old tradition of eating fries at the fare.
5 p.m. Sweet Treat Pick-Me-Up, Macarons by Maddie Lu 166 West Market
What began as a small suburban bakery is a haven for those delicate French cookies served in an array of stunning colors.
7 p.m. Dinner, Twin City Grill, 130 North Garden
By now, chances are the sensory overload of the bright lights, noise, and people-ness of the mall might be fraying some nerve endings. Dip into this pleasantly dark restaurant Northwoods-styled supper club and slip into a dry martini. Food options are Minnesota-focused, but it’s hard to go wrong with the burger. It’s exactly the kind of welcome comfort a long day at the mall requires. This restaurant has been here since the mall opened, earning it classic MOA dining status.
9 p.m. Drinks and a Movie, CMX Market and Theater, 401 South Avenue
Not quite ready to call it a night? Head up to a quiet corner of the fourth floor entertainment district and grab tickets to a movie. Stop by the bar for some top shelf cocktail options, or even a local beer like something from Duluth’s Bent Paddle Brewery. Recline and take a load off, the mall means a lot of walking and a ton of sights. The quiet of the theater is a nice way to ease into the evening.