Discover the world through travel & beyond!

30 Things to Do at Mall of America Besides Shop

Travel Mamas sometimes receives compensation and/or hosted travel and sample products related to blog posts. This story may include affiliate links for which we receive a small commission at no extra cost to consumers. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases. Be sure to check with businesses and locations regarding travel restrictions and safety precautions before visiting.

You've heard of the Mall of America. It's that giant shopping mall in Minnesota. This mall's 520 retail stores can keep any shopper happy for days. But do you know how much there is to do at Mall of America besides shop? I have spent a ton of time at this mega entertainment complex over the years. In fact, for a couple of years after college, I spent 60+ hours per week here working as a retail store manager by day and cocktail waitress by night. Whenever I return to the Mall of America, even I am surprised by the number and variety of activities at this megamall. Check out these 30 fun things to do at Mall of America besides shop!

Amusements abound at Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
Orange Crush Roller Coaster at Nickelodeon Universe (Photo courtesy of BloomingtonMN.org)

1. Ride roller coasters, kiddie rides and other amusements.

Mall of America is big enough to fit an entire amusement park in its center. Impressively, the indoor Nickelodeon Universe features 25 rides. Thrill-seekers will love SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge, a zippy steel coaster with two inversions. For a more mellow roller coaster experience, choose Pepsi Orange Streak for some fabulous views of the park. There's even a Log Chute ride for park goers who don't mind getting a little wet.

SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge in Nickelodeon Universe
SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Kiddie rides abound at Nickelodeon Universe, too. The Big Rigs ride was a favorite of my Minnesota-native niece and nephews during the preschool years. Truly, you could easily spend your entire day in Nickelodeon Universe. This is especially true if you buy All Day Wristbands, which allow unlimited rides on almost all Nick attractions.

Blue's Skidoo, A Blue's Clues Themed Ride at Mall of America
Blue's Skidoo, A Blue's Clues Themed Ride in Nickelodeon Universe (Photo credit: Nickelodeon Universe)

2. View and touch sea creatures at an aquarium.

Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium wows mall visitors with 10 marine life exhibits. Pet anemones, sea stars, and sea cucumbers at the Pacific Northwest Rockpool. Next, feed stingrays at the Ray Pool (for an additional fee). A Spectacled crocodile in the Rainforest exhibit spooked me with its wide-eyed stare. Most impressive is the walk-through shark-filled Ocean Tunnel. Buy your Sea Life Minnesota tickets now.

Pet anemones, sea stars and sea cucumbers at the Pacific Northwest Rockpool at Sea Life Aquarium Minnesota
Pet anemones, sea stars, and sea cucumbers at the Pacific Northwest Rockpool at Sea Life Aquarium Minnesota (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. Watch a concert or attend a live event.

Mall of America hosts 400+ live events per year, including concerts, book signings, charity fundraisers, celebrity interviews, and more. During one visit, I was lucky enough to see Boyz II Men perform for throngs of adoring fans. Best of all? Most of these events are free to visitors. Check out the Mall of America Events page to see what's coming up soon.

Boyz II Men giving a free concert at Mall of America
Boyz II Men giving a free concert at Mall of America (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

4. Create your own crayon color.

The Crayola Experience at Mall of America offers 25 hands-on activities. You can name and wrap your own crayon, star in a coloring page, bring your art to life in 4-D, and more.

The Crayola Experience
The Crayola Experience (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

If you don't want to pay to play, then head next door to the Crayola Store, where shoppers can create their own custom pack of Crayola crayons from a wall of colorful choices. Buy your Crayola Experience Flexible Date Ticket now.

Create your own pack of crayons at the Crayola Store at Mall of America
Create your own pack of crayons at the Crayola Store (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

5. Fly over the USA.

Similar to Disney's Soarin' ride, FlyOver America is a flight simulation ride that takes riders on an uplifting journey. The 10-minute ride soars over some of America's most beautiful sites and landscapes.

FlyOver America is a memorable ride at Mall of America
FlyOver America is a memorable ride at Mall of America (Photo courtesy of Mall of America)

6. Play miniature golf.

Play 18 holes at Moose Mountain Adventure Golf at Mall of America. Everyone is welcome to hit these mini links and the course is wheelchair accessible. Moose Mountain features an abandoned mine theme and offers views of Nickelodeon Universe from some holes.

Moose Mountain Adventure Golf is home to 18 holes of miniature golf
Moose Mountain Adventure Golf is home to 18 holes of miniature golf (Photo courtesy of Mall of America)

For a glowing experience, try out Rock of Ages Blacklight Minigolf instead. Look for a tribute to Minnesota native Prince at one of the holes.

Rock of Ages Blacklight Minigolf at Mall of America
Rock of Ages Blacklight Minigolf (Photo courtesy of Mall of America)

7. Get lost in a mirror maze.

The Amazing Mirror Maze is an impressive 2,500 square feet of mirrored fun. Guests must don plastic gloves, which keep the glass pristine. This Mall of America attraction is sure to incite laughter for maze goers. Be sure to check Groupon for a discount before you go.

The Amazing Mirror Maze is 2,500 square feet
The Amazing Mirror Maze is 2,500 square feet of colorful, mirrored fun (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

8. Go bowling.

Yes, there's an entire bowling alley inside the Mall of America In fact, there are two options for bowlers! Head to GameWorks on the fourth floor to hit the pins during your visit. All ages are welcome but there's also a full bar for mom and dad.

Go bowling in the Mall of America!
GameWorks offers bowling and more entertainment (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

9. Brave a ropes course and zip-lining.

Dutchman's Deck Adventure Course adds more thrills to your Mall of America experience. Choose to do just the Ghostly Gangplank ropes course, the Barnacle Blast Zipline, or the Anchor Drop Spiral Slides — or get a pass to tackle all three. Various height restrictions apply. My friend and I opted to zip across Nickelodeon Universe. The first step off the platform will make your heart thump, but then you can relax into the ride and enjoy the scenery and sounds of Nickelodeon Universe.

Zip-lining above Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
Zip-lining above Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

10. Watch live comedy.

Get the giggles at Rick Bronson's House of Comedy. This adults-only venue features stand-up comedy performances by professional comedians. Adding to the fun are a fully stocked bar and casual eats, like Canadian-inspired poutine French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds.

Rick Bronson's House of Comedy
Get the giggles at Rick Bronson's House of Comedy (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

11. Pose for old fashioned souvenir photos.

Step into the past at Professor Z's Old Time Photos. Don costumes and pose in front of unique sets for same-day photos you can take home as a unique memory of your Mall of America vacation. Choose from styles such as Western, Victorian, 1920s, Renaissance, and beyond.

Professor Z's Old Time Photos
Professor Z's Old Time Photos (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

12. Build with LEGO bricks.

LEGO Imagination Center pleases kids with its huge figures made entirely from LEGO bricks. An entire wall is filled with LEGOs, separated by color and available for purchase. You can also buy LEGO kits here. The best part? The LEGO building stations just outside the store. Here kids can use their imaginations to make creations from bricks while parents rest their feet.

Play with LEGO bricks at the LEGO Store
Huge LEGO creations lure families into the LEGO Store (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

13. Taste sample treats.

America's Dairyland, Wisconsin, is right next door to Minnesota so you shouldn't be all that surprised to find a shop peddling cheese at Mall of America. Cheese Brothers happily gives samples to shoppers.

Got a sweet tooth? Get a taste of the sweet life at See's Candies, Godiva Chocolatier, Lindt Master Swiss Chocolatier, Northwoods Candy Emporium, and Peeps & Company (so many Peeps flavors!).

According to The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America, other places to hit up for samples include Doc Popcorn, Pepper Palace, and Ruby Thai Kitchen. Yum!

Taste cheese samples at Mall of America
Taste cheese samples at Cheese Brothers (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

14. Watch Universe of Light.

Universe of Light is a nine-minute show that takes place Fridays and Saturdays at the close of Nickelodeon Universe. In addition to colorful lights, the show features choreographed music and smoke effects. It can be seen from all four levels at the South Entrance of Nickelodeon Universe. Lights shining on the floor level are extra fun for viewers — especially children who will want to dance along to the beat. (Migraine sufferers and those prone to seizures should be warned that show does include some flashing strobe lights.) Read a full review of Universe of Light on the Twin Cities Frugal Mom blog.

Universe of Light at Mall of America
Universe of Light (Photo credit: Nickelodeon Universe)

15. Find your way out of an escape room.

The Escape Game opened a 3,300-square-foot location at the Mall of America in 2017. Mall visitors can solve a series of puzzles here to earn their freedom and win the game. Themes include Mission: Mars, Prison Break, Gold Rush and The Heist. Book your Escape Game now!

Mission: Mars is one of the thrilling themes available from the Escape Game
Mission: Mars is one of the thrilling themes available from The Escape Game (Photo courtesy of Mall of America)

16. See a movie in style.

After a day of shopping until you feel like dropping, a movie in a cushy seat will be a welcome reprieve for your feet. B&B Theatres offers 13 screens for your viewing pleasure. In addition to movie standard snacks like popcorn and candy, viewers can nosh on made-to-order dishes like flatbreads, hot sandwiches, funnel cakes, and french fries. Adults aged 21+ can order alcoholic beverages, too.

B&B Theatres at Mall of America
B&B Theatres at Mall of America (Photo credit: B&B Theatres)

17. Enjoy free entertainment and discounts on Toddler Tuesdays.

The weekly Toddler Tuesdays program is especially for toddlers and their caretakers. It includes special character experiences, arts & crafts, storytime, and other free activities. Parents can also purchase discounted Nickelodeon Universe ride wristbands for Junior/Family rides on Tuesdays, too. What's more, children aged 6 and younger eat for free at a variety of select Mall of America restaurants every Tuesday. Learn more about these and other special Toddler Tuesdays deals, including discounts on Moose Mountain miniature golf and Crayola Retail Store purchases.

Look for Toddler Tuesdays at Mall of America
Look for Toddler Tuesdays at Mall of America (Photo from MallOfAmerica.com)

18. Embark on a scavenger hunt.

Explore the Mall of America during a kid-friendly scavenger hunt. Download a free printable Mall of America scavenger hunt for a fun adventure made possible by TwinCitiesMom.com.

Mall of America with kids
Explore the Mall of America via a kid-friendly scavenger hunt (Photo credit: jjbooma, Depositphotos.com)

19. Get a beauty makeover.

Need a little primping? You're in luck at the Mall of America! Thankfully, there are three nail salons here: Nail Trix, Tooth X Nail, and L.A. Nails. For hair salon and other services, head to the Minnesota-based Aveda Experience Center. Meanwhile, men can get their grooming on at Final Cuts Sports Barbershop. If you want your brows to be on fleek, then pop into Brow Art 23 for threading and lash extensions. For cosmetics, there's Sephora, Ulta Beauty, and MAC Cosmetics, plus makeup counters at the big department stores.

A rainbow of nail colors at LA Nails
A rainbow of nail colors at LA Nails at the Mall of America (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Kids can get in on the pampering at Princess and Diva Spa Fun Shop. Children ages 3 to 16 can pull up a velvety pink chair for a royal manicure, pedicure, and nail art. Parents and caregivers are welcomed to join in the fun.

Princess and Diva Spa Fun Shop
Princess and Diva Spa Fun Shop (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

20. Embark on a 5D virtual adventure in the ocean or mine shaft.

Choose from a “Mystery Mine” 1G force ride and “Shark Attack” standing experience via the 5D Extreme Attraction by Matrix Technology. Don 3D glasses to experience the watery world where sharks live or take off an adventurous ride in a mine car. Reviewers on TripAdvisor seem to recommend the mine ride over the shark encounter.

5D Extreme Attraction by Matrix Technology at Mall of America
5D Extreme Attraction by Matrix Technology (Photo courtesy of Mall of America)

21. Go for a swim.

There are two swimming options that can be reached without leaving the mall grounds. Both the attached Radisson Blu and JW Marriott offer indoor swimming pool options for hotel guests. Additionally, Great Wolf Lodge Minnesota opened their water park/hotel just two miles from Mall of America.

Indoor pool at Radisson Blu at the Mall of America
Indoor pool at Radisson Blu at the Mall of America (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

22. Visit a rainforest.

After you've been trying on shoes all day, reward kids for good behavior by treating them to a meal at the Rainforest Cafe. Dine among rainforest flora and animatronic fauna. Little ones may find periodic faux rainstorms a tad scary, but you can always take children for a short walk through the mall as needed. Unless you want to wait in a very, very long line, I suggest making a reservation for this one in advance.

Rainforest Cafe
Rainforest Cafe at the Mall of America (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

23. Play carnival and video games.

If you like to play games, then the Mall of America has got you covered. Nickelodeon Universe provides all sorts of carnival games for a chance to win a toy prize. There's also an arcade in the theme park for video game junkies. Up on the fourth floor of the mall, you will find a dazzling array of electronic games to play at Gameworks, as well as pool tables and bowling.

Gameworks Mall of America
Video games and other amusements abound at Gameworks (Photo courtesy of Mall of America)

24. Design your own jewelry.

For a one-of-a-kind Mall of America souvenir, make it yourself! Head to Lotus Beads and Jewelry to peruse an array of beads from around the world. Staff is happy to help you create your own piece of jewelry on-site. They even offer jewelry-making classes.

Sushi at Mall of America
Satisfying my California Roll cravings at Masu Sushi & Robata (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

25. Dine around the world.

Oh…the food…THE FOOD at Mall of America! I promise you will not go hungry here. Two massive food courts keep bellies full with everything from burgers and pizza to shawarma and sushi. There are many sit-down dining options as well.

For Asian cuisine with flair, make reservations for teppanyaki at Benihana. You can also belly up to the sushi bar at Masu Sushi & Robata, where the Pachinko games look cool even if they don't work anymore.

Get a delectable taste of Minnesota at FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar for menu items like Minnesota Chicken & Wild Rice Soup and Heirloom Corn Crusted Walleye. For dessert, the White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie is what delicious dreams are made of. Read reviews and book a table at FireLake.

With dozens of restaurants at the Mall of America, there's something to meet the tastes and budgets of any travelers, with offerings from around the world.

White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie at FireLake Grill at Radisson Blu
White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie at FireLake Grill (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

26. Build a teddy bear or other stuffed toy.

Choosing the perfect plush pal to stuff, name and dress at Build-A-Bear Workshop is oh-so-much fun for kids. What's more, it makes a fun souvenir of a Mall of America visit!

Make a stuffed souvenir at Build-A-Bear
Make a stuffed souvenir at Build-A-Bear (Photo courtesy of Mall of America)

27. Meet SpongeBob and other Nickelodeon characters.

Get your photo taken with SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Blue from Blues Clues, and other beloved Nickelodeon characters in Nickelodeon Universe. There are two spots where you can meet the characters in the theme park, the Blue Spot located across from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shell Shock Ride, and the Green Spot across from the Log Chute.

Meet Spongebob and other Nickelodeon friends in Nickelodeon Universe
Meet Spongebob and other Nickelodeon friends in Nickelodeon Universe (Photo courtesy of BloomingtonMN.org)

28. Sip your favorite libation.

What's your favorite beverage? From coffee drinks, bubble teas, smoothies, and fresh lemonade to crafts beers, wines, and fancy cocktails — you're sure to find something tasty to quench your thirst at Mall of America. The swanky FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar gets my vote for the best place to gab over drinkies. Check out the mall's happy hour directory to find drink and food specials.

Especially delicious Italian sodas at Tucci Bennuch
Enjoy a tasty beverage or two at Mall of America (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

29. Indulge in a spa day.

Refresh and rejuvenate with a spa day at Mall of America. You have a couple spa options to choose from: Relaxing Massage for a casual, open-concept massage, and a luxury day spa experience at Solimar Spa at the Radisson Blu.

I wanted to share a luxe spa experience with my sister so I splurged on massages for both of us at Solimar. (Worth it!) In addition to massages, they offer body wraps, facials, and salon services for hair and nails. Even if you're not a hotel guest, you can take a dip in the hotel's pool or get in a workout using their fitness center before or after your treatment.

Splurge on a spa day at Solimar Spa at Radisson Blu
Splurge on a spa day at Solimar Spa at Radisson Blu (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

30. Spend the night at Mall of America.

If your trip to the Twin Cities will focus on the Mall of America, then I suggest booking a stay at one of the two hotels connected to the mall. It's super easy and affordable to take the light rail train from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport right to the Mall of America. If visiting in winter, you won't even need a coat for the duration of your stay!

Stylish room at the Radisson Blu Hotel Mall of America
My modern, stylish room at the Radisson Blu Hotel Mall of America (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

I was lucky enough to stay at Radisson Blu Mall of America. The stylish lobby, cool indoor pool, wonderful on-site restaurant, upscale spa, and friendly staff made a stay here incredibly enjoyable.

There's also the and JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America, which is easily accessible from the mall. Although I did not stay there, I know and love the JW Marriott brand.

Take a look at additional hotel options near the Mall of America via Hotels.com.

Shopping at Mall of America
I was given a $500 gift card + three days to spend it at Mall of America = swoon! (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Plan your Mall of America visit.

Buy the Big Ticket Adventure Pass for discounted entry to seven local attractions, including Nickelodeon Universe, SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, Crayola Experience, FlyOver America, Science Museum of Minnesota, Minnesota Zoo, and IMAX Theatre at the Minnesota Zoo.

Many of the activities listed in this guide often offer discounts via Minneapolis/St. Paul Groupon. Look for deals on such attractions as Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, Nickelodeon Universe, the Escape Game, the Amazing Mirror Maze, and more.

If you're planning a trip to the Twin Cities, consider purchasing The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America. It's packed with information to make the most of your time at the mall, including money-saving tips, brief explanations of every store, and reviews of hotels in and near the Mall of America. Read my review/interview with the book's author or buy your guide from Amazon.

Watch my video tour of Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America.

Explore more of Minnesota.

Minnesota is well-known as the homestate of the Purple One himself, Prince. Discover what it's like to tour Paisley Park, where Prince lived, worked, and recorded.

If you'll be in Minnesota during summer, then be sure to read our tips for visiting Valleyfair, the state's largest amusement park.

Venture north beyond the Twin Cities to Lake Superior with these things to do in Duluth with kids.

30 Things to Do at Mall of America Besides Shop

Save these things to do at Mall of America.

Considering a trip to this megamall? Be sure to save the image above to Pinterest. Go ahead and follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you're at it!

Did you know there were so many things to do at Mall of America besides shop? Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: One of my many visits to the Mall of America was hosted by the city of Bloomington, Mall of America, Radisson Blu, and various restaurants. During this visit, I was provided a $500 Mall of America gift card to spend however I liked. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin, MBA, is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular travel blog, TravelMamas.com. She is an expert in travel with kids and without. As the author of the book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents how to make the most of traveling with babies and children. Colleen loves sharing tips on hotels, cruises, spas, theme parks, and global lifestyle topics. When she is not traveling the world, she lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. Danielle Madero says

    I love love love this article. As a fellow mother adventurer, I have always wanted to go to the Mall of America. I had absolutely no idea there was this much extra stuff there. It is literally everything from entertainment to amusement parks and the added bonus of shopping! I Like how you have your post divided out into different sections with pictures for each item. I would suggest maybe listing certain options for some sections. You talk about the spas but only have links to one. Maybe add the option to check out all the options for those people who are planning a trip. I want to know what all of my options are not just the one in the hotel you stayed at. I would do the same thing for the hotels….is the Radisson the only option for logging at the MOA? You could always do another post about how to plan a trip to MOA and what everyone’s options for food and lodging are.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Danielle – Thank you for your kind words and suggestions! There are only two hotels located within the Mall of America and I mention them both (with links) in the story: Radisson Blu and JW Marriott. I also added a link to additional hotels near the MOA. Per your suggestion, I added links to the other two spas at the mall, too. I hope you can visit the Mall of America someday and you get a chance to explore its many offerings and activities!

  2. This would be my daughter’s dream vacation – she loves shopping malls and she’d definitely want to visit the spa!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      You really could spend days at Mall of America and never get bored! Hope you can bring your daughter someday!

  3. Peter Donnellan says

    Found this page very helpful! Thanks very much! Also managed to get some nice savings from the links provided whish always feels nice! Thanks!! 🙂

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Peter – So glad you had a good time at Mall of America! And happy to hear you were able to save some cash, too!

  4. Thanks for the list Colleen , But I would suggest to avoid Godiva for free Samples!! Even if you are with only one kid… I did go to the Mall of America today and thought would buy some chocolates if my kid likes them and asked for just one sample. And the lady at the register said Oh sure and gave us the bowl and asked my kid to take one and offered if I want one and says oh and where’s the husband? take one for your husband too with an insulting tone!
    I mean we are not beggars right.. just asked fr one sample for the kid and not even for adults ! I am never going to that shop again nor am I going to buy Godiva again!

  5. I had a mommy/daughter date with my youngest daughter (who is 10) yesterday. We went to the amusement park for the first time. She rode on a roller coaster and then we did the FlyOver America ride. It may have been our first time but it will most definitely not be our last. We also went to see a movie and omg I felt like such a tourist! The whole theatre experience was absolutely amazing! You can definitely spend the whole day out there. So many wonderful options to have fun! (And yes, I am a big kid and not ashamed of it!😄)

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Sounds like wonderful day at MOA with your daughter — thank you for sharing! I always love visiting this mall whenever I visit the Twin Cities — so much to explore!

  6. Didn’t realize there was so much to do at the Mall of America! Shopping, theme parks and Spa!! Looks like you can spend the whole weekend there!

  7. Katherine Apipi says

    Wow! Never knew that there are activities like these (especially for the children) I will start planning for a family day of the family week? Haha. I guess we could spend a week there without getting bored.

  8. Sandy Gunnarson says

    Is there a way to get discounts to some of these adventures for a family

  9. Tonia @TheChattyMomma says

    Bookmarking this post. I have yet to visit Mall of America, but I can’t wait to do some of these things.

  10. Adrianne Betz says

    Wow, I had always heard it was amazing but, just wow. This is like a fairytale mall!! haha

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.