How to Camp Out at the Mall

Shawn Mendes Line at MOA

The Mall of America attracts a steady stream of rising stars—One Direction, Connor Franta, Selena Gomez, and the list goes on. And on. With the big names come big lines. So we’ve devised the ultimate list of what to do while you camp out at the mall.

Keep It Classic

Pack a deck of cards! They take up no more space than your phone, and no batteries required to play games like James Bond, War, or even Solitaire. Or, set them aside and challenge those around you in line to Twenty Questions or Two Truths and a Lie. In Twenty Questions, have someone pick a subject and everyone else asks up to 20 yes or no questions in order to figure out the subject. Two Truths and a Lie is fairly self explanatory, everyone comes up with two truths and a lie about themselves, then see if the other players can figure out what is true and what is not! To add yet another twist: make it Two Truths and a Lie about the celebrity you are waiting to meet.

Forgot the cards? Pick up a deck at Air Traffic. And while you’re there, cup stacking anyone?

Make Your Own Souvenirs

Get crafty—all the materials you need are right at the mall. Hours in line could be the perfect opportunity to apply a henna tattoo (try Spencer Gifts or Urban Outfitters). Or visit Lotus Beads and Jewelry and make your own friendship bracelets. Creative Kidstuff sells jewelry making kits, too. Swap with a friend and you will have a happy memory dangling from your wrist for weeks to come.

If you want to get really artsy, play the portrait game. All you need is paper and pen. You choose a subject to draw and have a time limit of two minutes. Here’s the catch: you are not allowed to look down at your piece of paper while you are drawing and you can’t lift your pen off of the paper—the drawing has to be continuous. Makes for some interesting pictures.

Be a Comedian

Look up jokes or play ‘Once upon a time’. In this story game you start out by saying ‘Once upon a time’ then you go around in the circle and everyone builds off of that original phrase to tell a story. Write it down as you go and then read it back to the group when you are done. Caution: An unstoppable fit of the giggles may ensue. If you are feeling really outgoing, stand up and have a mini-dance party with your friends.

A joke book is not cheating. Grab one at Barnes & Noble.

Snack Time

Finding a bite to eat at the Mall of America can prove to be overwhelming, especially if you are not familiar with the lay of the land. These are our guilty (and not so guilty) go-tos:

Salty: Doc Popcorn
Sweet: Cupcake, Cinnabon
Savory (or sweet!): Magic Pan Crepe Stand
Nutritious(ish): Jamba Juice
Near the Rotunda: Villa PizzaSubway, and Aunt Anne’s are located right above the Rotunda, where you’re most likely waiting to meet the members of the Next Big Boy Band
Cheap: If you just need something to hold you over stop by the Holiday Station Store, located just off of the Rotunda
Make it a Meal: Noodles & Company and Chipotle
Breakfast: Bruegger’s Bagels

Dessert Game: Food can be entertaining! Swing by Coldstone Creamery to play the ice cream taste testing game. Here is how it works: everyone makes their own secret mix, grab a handful of spoons and share your tasty treats! Try to figure out what everyone put in their mixes and see if others can guess what is in yours.

Make Yourself at Home

Settle in—overnight camp-outs at the mall are not unprecedented, especially where teen stars are concerned. The MOA is your village, with comforts all around. First and foremost: a clean restroom. Closest to the Rotunda are the restrooms near the east mall entrance. But we tend to skip the mall stalls in favor of the bathroom at the back of Barnes & Noble. Ready for a nap? Pick up a sleeping bag at L.L. Bean. Sore back? Stop by Brookstone and pick up a neck pillow or maybe a massage tool, depending on how chummy you’ve gotten with the people next to you in line.

Get Charged

Forget your phone charger or need an outlet? Juice up your phone at the Verizon Destination Store, where there’s plenty of comfy seating and free Wifi (sometimes they offer you bottled water, too!). There’s also Apple, the Microsoft Store, and Best Buy for your tech needs.

Pump It Up

Stretch those legs! One lap around the mall is .57 miles. To walk by every store at MOA, it’s 4.3 miles. Another popular walking path is around the perimeter of Nickelodeon Universe (maybe even catch a ride or two?).


There’s a Starbucks right next to the Rotunda, and if the line is along, another Starbucks within Barnes & Noble. But this might be a good time to experiment with your fancy coffee and tea drinks. Try Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on the lower level of Forever 21. For bubble tea, we’re equally crazy about Tea Garden and Chatime.


Go on Twitter and Instagram, search popular hashtags associated with the event you are attending and interact with other fans via social media. Don’t forget to follow us @AliShopsMOA + @alishops on Twitter; @alishops on Instagram and on Facebook. And share your updates about the crowd and event—we love hearing from you!

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