Why Minnesota? Because it's one of the states I have never been to or through, so it made the list, plus, it would have been a pretty interesting drive if I were to attempt to avoid in while driving home, it's sort of 'in the way.' The stop of choice seemed pretty obvious, Mall of America is mentioned in every other show/news report/shopping report blah blah blah. It was time. I'm sort of a professional shopper, not to brag, but if it were an Olympic sport, no other countries would bother to send their best when they heard I was in the running. Kidding....kinda....but I do like a good mall upon occasion.
We arrived amongst more clouds....we did not encounter any true storms, but the gray clouds sort of followed us around. It was difficult to overcome as a picture taker, but I kept reminding myself as I took pictures it was about capturing the vacation, and not the perfect picture. I'm sure the overcast skies helped keep things a little cooler.
We got to Minnesota a little earlier than expected. It's just over the Wisconsin border, and if it's the land of 10,000 lakes, I'm pretty sure Wisconsin has 9,999 b/c we sure did pass quite a few. Within the circles of cities that is St. Paul/Minneapolis/Bloomington the Mississippi River, and Lakes surround the cities.
We decided to head to the mall for a few hours before it closed and see what there was to see.
Each floor is 1/2 mile around, and there are three floors (with a basement, and 4th floor bar as well). It's pretty enormous, and though we don't have any quite this big back home, we have some that rival in shopping options (a lot of the same stores were on each floor), and we have lots OF malls in the Dallas area, so it was more about seeing the mall just to see the mall.
There is an amusement park in the middle. You can get a day pass, or pay by the ride. The rides ended up being about 6 dollars a piece, so we just observed.
There is also an aquarium, mini golf course, and a wide selection of shops, and restaurants.
My two favorite shops include the lego store.
We have one of these back home, but do legos ever get old? I pretended I lost a child inside the little shop, and spent the most time in this little land of blocks, and bits.
I love the 'fill you own bucket' option and you can get legos engraved, I did. You can also get them engraved online, but where is the fun in that? I also managed to buy a true jewel....I'll be using my 'new toy' soon to make a little something for a friend's kiddos, and I'll blog about it sometime in the near future. Be prepared to be jealous....or frightened. ;o)
I also loved this store called The Afternoon. It reminds me of this online catalogue I could spend my life savings on....except I don't have a life savings, called Signals. It's for the person that has everything, or the person that has a super strange sense of humor. One of those applies to me. From ceramic cups that look like plastic cups....
To unicorn corn on the cob holders....
To record pot holders.
Some other fun stores included a QVC store that sells products they sell on TV, As Seen on TV store, and a Classic TV store.
We spent one evening, and the next morning shopping the shops. There were normal things as well, but we pretty much stuck to the unusual. I'll post some more pics on a slide show soon b/c I'm pretty sure I need to remember some of these ideas for Christmas gifts (and everyone is now hoping I'm not planning on getting them a gift.).
We ate at a restaurant in the mall called Crave. And, yes, now I crave it. The pizza was delicious. The atmosphere was a quieter version of the Cheesecake Factory, and the service was the best.
We also grabbed a ticket on the downtown train to head out and see Minnehaha Falls
The park is really pretty, you can rent bike carts and travel through the entire area, but we just made a quick sweep of the falls, and then headed downtown.
We walked around the mall a bit down town (b/c obviously, we needed to shop some more), and we used some of the skyways between the buildings that are most useful during winter months to avoid going out in the cold as you walk around the city....Dallas should get a few of these for the summer months! Exploring without a plan, I encountered a few areas where I didn't feel entirely safe, so we hopped back on the train and headed back towards the mall. Minneapolis was really clean, and it also has some real fun building architecture, I just had not done enough research before heading in, and I'd definitely read up on it further next time and see what all there is to see.
One other neat stop we made while we were in Minnesota for part of three days was a Diner called Mickey's Dining Car (NOT to be confused with Mickey's Diner which we first went to in our search-similar name, on a street with the same name, but not the same atmosphere).
Mickey's has been featured a bunch of times on the Food Network. It's the first Art Deco Dining Cart, and it's history dates back to 1939 and is on the list of historical places. The food was good, it's a diner, so it's on the greasy side, but not too greasy. I got a grilled cheese, and I stole some hashbrowns from my Mom's plate, and they were really good, very different. I think it's a don't miss! It's tiny, and fun, and it's got a story to tell.