Best Wows For Out-Of-Towners


American Girl

A life-size dollhouse featuring museum-like displays of every doll (and Bitty Baby) in the popular and highly collectible American Girl collection as well as thousands of outfits and accessories for dolls, and doll owners. There’s even a bookstore and a hair salon…for the dolls. Don’t dismiss the bistro—the food is surprisingly good (plus free lemonade for dolls!). There’s lots to see in this two-story fantasyland, but if browsing with a little girl, better bring a credit card.

5160 Center Court

Tip: The weekday afternoon tea in the café is a great deal: $9.50 per person for tea, a plate of petite sandwiches and desserts. Filling, and fun for all ages.


The most luxurious shopping the mall has to offer; find apparel and a wide range of accessories from the brand known for its classic check design.

178 South Avenue

Chapel of Love

Buy a wedding dress, and get married on the spot. Only at MOA. We’re not kidding—more than 5,000 weddings have taken place here, you know, right next door to LensCrafters. But they do their best to make it lovely and legit, with ordained ministers on staff.

345 East Broadway

Forever 21

The fast fashion chain is about to open a whopping 80,000-square-foot, two-level superstore. MOA is actually digging out a lower level to accommodate it. This will be the biggest Forever 21 outside of New York, featuring apparel and accessories for women, men and children.

144 East Broadway


Home to the world’s largest Lego model, a 34-foot robot, this is as much gallery as store with several elaborate displays that will wow Lego fans. That’s why it’s a mob scene on weekends. The enormous pick-a-brick wall features more than 180 types of Legos. Prices are comparable to other Lego dealers, and the selection is much broader. There are computer stations to try Lego video games, and a play area at the back of the store. Let the kids build while you sit on a bench and check e-mail. (Caribou Coffee is just steps away.) Don’t forget the hand sanitizer.

164 South Avenue

Moose Mountain Adventure Golf

Yep, there’s miniature golf too. Putt through the 18-hole course in a “north woods” setting, while taking in a view of Nickelodeon Universe from above. Fun for the whole family, and a good bang for the buck: $8 per person or $26 for a foursome. The course is also fully accessible. Corporate events and private parties available.

376 North Garden

Nickelodeon Store

This flagship store offers the nation’s largest selection of Nickelodeon merchandise—clothes, toys, plush dolls, and much more. SpongeBob, Dora, Diego, Yo Gabba Gabba are all well represented.

North Entrance to Nickelodeon Universe


Step into the total brand experience with an easy to shop department for every sport, and computer terminals where you can create your own custom sneakers or try out the NikeFuel activity monitoring program. The store recently got a major makeover, and there are only a handful like it in the country.

244 West Market

Peeps & Company

Not just for Easter anymore. Buy the sugarcoated marshmallow chicks and bunnies year-round at this company store for Just Born Inc., which also produces Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales—well represented, too. The candy logos are also stamped on everything from boxer shorts to necklaces.

Nickelodeon Universe

Rainforest Cafe

Sensory overload for the kiddos, with mechanical alligators and gorillas swinging from the rafters, large aquariums, and simulated thunderstorms every few minutes. Plus a gift store (that you have to walk through to get to the tables, so hold tight to that wallet) and a tiki bar. The menu includes burgers, pasta, seafood, and an over-the-top volcano dessert. You’re paying a premium for the Disney-like atmosphere.

102 South Avenue

Tip: Waits get long—put your name on a list an hour or so before you want to eat.

Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium

It’s true—sharks swim beneath the MOA. The highlight of this totally legit aquarium is the 300-foot glass underground tunnel, which makes you feel like you are in the water with more than 10,000 sea creatures swimming overhead. There’s a cool jellyfish exhibit, touch pools and a play area for kids. This is no “mall aquarium”…that said, you’ll feel like you saw in all in about 90 minutes, which makes the $19.99 admission ($15.99 for kids 3-12) seem high.

120 East Broadway

Tip: Order tickets in advance online to save as much as $7.

Verizon Destination Store

This first-of-its-kind experience center marries technology with lifestyle. It’s not about selecting a phone, but what you can do with it. The nearly 10,000 square foot store is divided into zones for home, work, fitness, and fun. Try a FitBit activity band on the treadmill. Control a mini golf course with a cell phone. Be sure to head to the Customize It zone in the back of the store where you can design your own smartphone case with personal photos. Kids will love the fun zone and music area while you get help, or take advantage of the free Wifi.

264 East Broadway

Tip: A great place to see celebs. Verizon frequently brings in the stars, from Selena Gomez to Nina Garcia to Greg Jennings of the Minnesota Vikings.


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