The mall spans an incredible 5.6 million square feet and attracts 40 million visitors annually.Since opening its doors more than 20 years ago, the iconic Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. has not only been packing in the visitors, but it also remains firmly entrenched at the top of most ‘best of…’ lists when it comes to shopping malls. The mall spans an incredible 5.6 million square feet of gross building area - large enough for its own zip code - and attracts 40 million visitors annually.
Mall of America opened its doors in 1992 on the site of the former Metropolitan Stadium, and owner Triple Five Group invested $650 million to bring their vision to life. Fast forward to today and the mall generates nearly $2 billion in economic activity for the state of Minnesota on an annual basis. Needless to say, the initial investment was money well-spent.
To give some perspective on how absolutely massive this mall is, it’s estimated that 9 Yankee Stadiums or 43 Boeing 747s could fit inside of it. That’s a ton of space. Over the mall’s four floors, more than 520 retailers, restaurants, and services ply their wares, including Macy’s, Sears, Nordstrom, Best Buy, Forever 21 and LL Bean.
Those are just a few of the names that take up a substantial amount of space at the enormous mall, which is also well-known for its attractions. Mall of America actually houses an entire theme park known as Nickelodeon Universe, which is located in the center of the mall. Other family friendly stops include the Crayola Experience, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, and FlyOver America.
If you’re leaving this mall hungry, you’re simply not doing your palate justice. Familiar fare from Benihana, Buffalo Wild Wings, Tony Roma’s and Hard Rock Cafe is sprinkled throughout the expansive floorplan. Local favorites include Dick’s Last Resort and FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar, and there are even some combo dining plus entertainment options such as The Lounge House of Comedy and Sky Deck Sports Grille and Lanes.
Mall of America currently boasts a 96% occupancy level, and has a wealth of new options coming down the pipeline soon including Anthropologie, Margarita Grill and Versace 19.69. Recently opened stores include Drop N’ Shop and Panera Bread. Add it all up, and visiting this shopping mall mecca needs to be added to the to-do list of virtually everyone that has not stepped foot through its doors.
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22 SEPTEMBER 2016, USA