How Mall of America® transformed Minnesota into an international tourist attraction

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As one of the most visited destinations in the United States, Mall of America has attracted visitors for over 25 years, making it a hotspot for group travelers.

More 12,000 groups, from youth organizations to family reunions, visit the Mall of America (MOA) every year, making it a great place for your next group outing.

In total, the Mall accommodates more than 40 million visitors per year, more than the populations of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Canada combined.

At the Mall of America, with more than 520 stores and 50 restaurants, visitors spend an average of three hours, three times the national average for shopping centers.

The MOA’s unique history, prime location, and countless attractions are just some of the many factors that draw visitors to the mall and boost the overall economy of the state of Minnesota.

Historical significance

In 1982, with the loss of two of Minnesota’s most beloved sports teams, the The Twins and the Vikings, the town of Bloomington has taken a huge economic hit. The baseball and football teams moved from Met Stadium in Bloomington to the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, creating the availability of 78 acres of land in a highly accessible location, a short walk from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

In 1985, Bloomington Port Authority bought the stadium site and in 1986 signed a historic agreement with the ghermezien brothers to develop the country’s largest retail and entertainment complex.

On August 11, 1992, six years after the signing of the agreement, America Mall opened its doors, forever changing the face of the Twin Cities. It was the first day on the job for more than 10,000 employees. The mall was 70 percent leased with 330 new stores opened, including the first time that Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Sears were under one roof.

Since its official opening in 1992, the Mall of America has laid the groundwork for Minnesota to become an international tourist hotspot.

Location, location, location!

Nickelodeon universe

The mall’s prime location just minutes from the airport, downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul has played a key role in its success and ability to market to international travelers. Light Rail connects MOA to the airport (less than two miles), as well as downtown Minneapolis and downtown Saint Paul, making it even easier for visitors to reach the mall.

While Minnesota is known for its extreme temperatures, it actually contributed to the success of Mall of America. A closed mall like MOA thrives in inclement weather conditions, making it a top destination for tourists regardless of the state’s climate.

A hub for tourists

With no sales tax on clothes or shoes, on 50 restaurants ranging from fast food to fine dining for all tastes and budgets, and over 7,000 hotel rooms nearby, MOA truly offers visitors a complete experience.

MOA now attracts more visitors each year than Walt Disney World, Elvis Presley’s Graceland and the Grand Canyon combined, making it one of the most visited destinations in the United States. Four in 10 visitors to the MOA are defined as tourists, coming from outside the mall’s 150-mile radius.

The shopping center also uses a daytime car market. With 28 million people living within a day’s drive of MOA, it’s an ideal outing for nearby residents.

Endless activities at the MOA

America Mall

The mall offers groups of travelers a wide range of activities, including meet-and-greet, behind-the-scenes tours, scavenger hunts and dining experiences.

MOA also hosts more than 400 free events every year, such as celebrity appearances, concerts and book signings.

The mall is home to world-class attractions including Nickelodeon universe, the largest indoor amusement park in the country with 27 rides and attractions. The mall is always adding new attractions and activities for its visitors. The recently unveiled new attraction is Rental TREVLS Tesla, the only place in the world where visitors can rent a Tesla.

Economic value to Minnesota

America Mall

Prior to its grand opening in 1992, there were concerns that Mall of America might be the equivalent of the neutron bomb to local retailers.

Fortunately, analysts have proven the opposite to be true, as MOA has helped the local economy in various ways. This 95 percent rented and employs more than 12,000 workers.

In addition, research shows that for every tourist dollar spent on the MOA, an additional two to three dollars is spent outside the mall on gas, accommodation, food, transportation and other attractions, this which results in more $ 1.2 billion in economic benefits in the state of Minnesota.


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