Christmas at the Mall of America

The Mall of America, or MOA for short, is one of the largest indoor shopping malls in the world.  Millions of visitors come  here annually to fill the shopping bags with gadgets and goodies, many of them flocking during the Christmas season to enjoy some of the attractions and special events as well as take care of any Christmas present shopping needs!   With over 300 stores, you’re guaranteed to find your entire list in one stop – that’s just part of the fun of Christmas at the Mall of America!

If you haven’t been, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about, but this isn’t just a mall, it is a destination. Besides shopping, there’s Nickelodeon Universe, the largest indoor theme park in the United States. You might not even notice you’re indoors, because of the extensive gardens and indoor foilage, giving it a great outdoor feel.

There is also a 300-foot-long tunnel that is the highlight of the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium.  But if those don’t intrigue you, there is a movie theater, and of course the shops – some of which are mini-amusement parks themselves, such as the incredible Lego store. The MOA is a great family destination, especially during the holidays.

Christmas Events at the Mall of America

The decorations at the mall are part of the allure of a Christmastime trip.  The mall will have 250 Christmas trees installed, some up to 44 feet tall, and the mall will be draped with miles and miles of lights.

If you’ve got the wee ones with you, be sure to spare some time to speak with Santa - he’ll be here with his entire crew, taking wishes and wants and checking off his nice and naughty list.

But perhaps the most noteworthy and special part of Christmas at the Mall of America is the holiday music festival, which runs from Thanksgiving through the 23rd of Christmas.  Performances happen regularly thorughout the mall, such as choirs, carolers, as well as bands and other artists. Maybe you’ll meet the next up-and-comer!

For more information on this year’s events with dates and times, visit the mall’s website, www.mallofamerica.com.

Other Christmastime Attractions in Minneapolis

While the mall can certainly take up all your time, Minneapolis and the Twin Cities area has plenty of other happenings to keep you occupied.  A few suggestions:

  • Holidazzle:  This is the city’s wonderful annual Thanksgiving parade, with lights and trains, carolers and more.
  • Winter Skate: A local tradition, join in the fun by taking a run around the city’s downtown Christmas skating rink – it’s free!  The location is beautiful at night, with all the lit Christmas trees and historic building.
  • Theater: Minneapolis has so many wonderful theaters with Christmas performances – the Nutcracker at the Metropolitan Ballet (at multiple venues) is probably the most popular, but how about the Minnesota Opera (Silent Night never sounded so good), but the Minnesota Orchestra also does several holiday shows each year.

Last but not least, don’t miss out on a trip to the downtown Macy’s.  They have a whole events calendar themselves, from breakfast with Santa to family fun days, puppet theater, and Christmas balloon animals!

Where to Stay while enjoying the Mall of America

You’ll definitely need at least a couple of days to properly explore the mall; here are some great places to rest up for a new day’s adventure.

  • The Doubletree by Hilton Bloomington is a great spot very close to the mall, this Doubletree not only has the brand’s signature hot cookie on check-in, but also wonderful amenities, such as comfy beds, great tubs to soak in, and a stunning pool area.
    The Holiday Inn Metrodome is another great location for those of you wanting to explore the mall while still checking out some of the surrounding area.  The Holiday Inn is super clean and has great dining nearby as well as a nice fitness room/pool area with jacuzzi, great after a long day.
    The Ivy Hotel on 11th street is a luxurious hotel great for couples on a romantic retreat, with on site spa, fitness center, and heated pool.  The hotel is also known for its great customer service and the beds, which are so comfy you may have trouble getting out of!
    Last but not least is the gorgeous Hilton Hotel, which has beautiful rooms, a beautiful lobby bar, huge jacuzzi room and workout area, free parking, and a great location that affords you easy access to the mall and many other Minneapolis attractions.

Lead photo by dstagner, others by Jim Moore