I was looking to spend some quality time with Megan before she returns to college from winter break so we decided to take a little mini vacation to Mall Of America near Minneapolis a couple weeks ago.
The three of us had been to Mall Of America on New Years Eve a few years before. It wasn’t really a shopping trip, just a stop more out of curiosity than anything. This time though, we wanted to make it mainly a shopping trip. It was Megan’s idea to go which was a total shock to me since she inherited her fathers shopping philosophy which is to spend as little time doing it as possible. She had a few gift cards to spend that she received for Christmas, so I think that had something to do with it. Who was I to complain. After all, shopping is one of my favorite pastimes!
So I made reservations at Country Inn And Suites right across from Mall Of America after doing some research and reading reviews. I just wanted to drive there, park the car, and not get back in the car until we were coming home. I booked two nights, and ended up booking another night after arriving. The area was due to have a snowstorm and the last thing I wanted was to be driving home in terrible weather. After all was said and done, I was happy we stayed for 3 nights because there is so much to do at the Mall that two days is really not enough for major shopping and doing some of the extras there.
After our 5 hour drive plus a stop in Green Bay for a long lunch, we didn’t arrive until early evening. We just decided to relax in our room and go to bed early so we were ready for a full day of shopping the next day.
We were more than happy with our stay at Country Inn And Suites. The beds were incredibly comfortable. Our room was right next to the elevator, but we never heard or were awakened from it. Breakfast was included in our stay and it was all we needed. A great assortment of hot and cold items. When I travel I like to fuel up with a good sized breakfast and even better when it’s included with your hotel stay. We did end up having breakfast before we left for home the last day at IHOP, which is connected to the hotel. They also offer free shuttle service to and from the mall (if you choose to skip the walk) and free service to and from the airport. They also have 2 pools, fitness room, and free Wifi. Our room was spacious with a fridge and microwave.
A big bonus is we were staying right across the street from Mall Of America. Very convenient when you are weighted down with shopping bags!
The first day we got an early start, arriving at the mall at 10am. Megan was on a mission and we ended up spending a few hours in the largest Forever 21 either one of us had ever been in. I had more fun following her around, giving her advice on things. This isn’t to say that I left all the shopping to her, I did find some fun things for myself.
My one mission was to stop in and try the macarons at Macarons By Maddie Lu which is located in the mall near Macy’s. So not only am I searching for French macarons in Wisconsin, I have expanded my search to the whole Midwest! This was our last stop of the day so we could take 6 of these back to the hotel for a sweet treat for the perfect end to a perfect day. Not only was there a huge variety of flavors, they were so colorful and absolutely delicious too! I loved this little shop. I knew I could get find a bit of Paris here!
We spent all day until 8:00 at night wandering in and out of stores. We had so much fun. Finally our feet just couldn’t take it anymore and we called it a day. 10 hours of shopping and we were not even through the whole mall yet!
We dropped our bags off in our room and were hungry so we went to TGIFridays for a late dinner and a cocktail (for me). Bonus for having TGI Fridays attached to the hotel. After dinner we pretty much just watched TV, and caught up on social media until lights out. Our plan for the next day was to finish our shopping and then check out the Sea Life Aquarium and do the Fly Over America as well. We were thankful we booked that extra night. We would never have covered it all in a day and a half. Plus the 5 hour drive.
The next day after breakfast, we headed over again. Again we headed to Forever 21. We also hit all our favorites H&M, Zara, Nordstrom Rack, and many more. We also did some window shopping in the more upscale stores. Our favorite was Kate Spade. Such cute things. I especially loved the cute bags! A little bit out of my price range, but it’s always fun to look!
When we decide we were all shopped out, we went to visit the Sea Life Aquarium. It was fun, but more geared to the kids. I thought the admission price was a little steep for the amount of time we spend inside.
Next we went to check out Fly Over America. You could also do the Fly Over Canada, or you could also choose to do both. Fly Over America is a flight simulation experience. This was very cool and worth the admission. You sat in seats that moved and a huge screen was in front of you. You “Fly over” landmarks, and beautiful places in America. There was wind and mist for a fully immersive experience! It was breathtaking. I was a little concerned about motion sickness, but had no problem. We would do this again in a heartbeat and definitely over the aquarium.
We walked through the amusement park, but didn’t check out any rides. There is honestly so much to do at Mall Of America! It really is a destination in itself. Even if you are not into shopping till you drop, you can find a host of other things to do. And food!! Oh my goodness! We didn’t focus too much on food except for the macarons, but as I write this, I’m thinking I need to go back and try out all the food offerings at Mall Of America!
By the time we did all the shopping, the Aquarium, Fly Over America, and another stop at Macarons by Maddie Lu, we were exhausted. It was again early evening and once again we went to TGIFridays for another late dinner. Our feet were sore and we put on many miles, but it was the best thing to spend all that time just Megan and I. We had conversations we don’t normally have at home. We may just need to start a new tradition. A mother daughter mini vacation during winter break.
Our last night was again spent watching TV, reading, and catching up on social media. The plan for the next day was to have a mid morning breakfast at IHOP and be on our way home.
We had accomplished all we intended to do on our mini getaway. The only disappointment was not being able to find just the right shoes Megan wanted, but other than that, we made some great purchases. I even was able to find a leopard faux fur coat which I had been looking for for a long time AND I bought it at 50% off at H&M. I also found a cute dress and matching sweater for my latest Local 5 Live appearance that was happening the following week.
So if you are looking for a great getaway in the Midwest, go and check out the Mall Of America. While shopping is the main focus, there is an abundance of other things to do for families. Also a great place for a solo destination!
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Note: I did not receive any compensation for this post. Hotel stay and all attractions at MOA were paid for by me.