Mallstalgia: A Shopper’s Paradise – Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

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This article is part of a series by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine celebrating MOA’s 30th birthday. Join us as we ride through some of our favorite memories of the last 30 years.

If you spent 10 minutes inside each of Mall of America’s up to 500 stores, you would need 84 hours of shopping to make it through the whole thing. Talk about shop til you drop! MOA offers more than 3 million square feet of retail space—inside a structure that, at 5.6 million square feet, could house 43 Boeing 747s, 103 White Houses, or 347 Statues of Liberty. And while the size is an impressive stat to tout to out-of-towners, it’s the caliber and uniqueness of what’s inside that really has us puffing our chest with hometown pride.

Here we highlight a sampling of our favorite stores—some short-lived, others whose time (or trend) was up, and those with three decades of staying power.

  • Alpaca Connection   Cozy, cuddly, and 100 percent alpaca—this only-at-MOA store sells a unique collection of sweaters, socks, blankets, and all things soft. The bevy of comfy goods on display leaves you yearning for a nap. 367 East Broadway, 952-883-0828
  • Aritzia   With a cult-like following from influencers, celebrities, and fashionistas alike, the  Canadian-based fashion retailer’s location at MOA exudes style and panache. The 8,000-square-foot storefront boasts everything from silk party dresses and chic outerwear to “athleisure” and edgy basics—all at a bridge price point that’s as easy on the wallet as it is on the eyes. 60 East Broadway, 952-854-1275
  • The Crayola Experience   Everyone needs their very own shade of a Crayola crayon. You can get that and so much more at the large and very colorfully in-charge Crayola Experience. The interactive experience also has a store where kids can make their own pack of crayons, ensuring that they’ll never run low on their favorite hue. 300 South Avenue, 952-883-8800
  • American Girl   Most girls born around the turn of the century coveted an outing at the iconic 22,000-square-foot store that opened beside the mall’s Nickelodeon Universe in 2008. With a bistro, doll hair salon, and impressive array of the coveted American Girl dolls, it was a tearful goodbye when the store shuttered its doors in 2019. 
  • Hey!Joy   We could all use a little joy in our lives. A Ukrainian toy seller brought the experiential toy store to the Mall in 2020 with the hope of bringing more discovery and imaginative play to all our lives. It’s safe to say that mission has been accomplished. 141 East Broadway, 747-221-2732
  • The LEGO Store   Play tables, larger-than-life statues, and every iteration of LEGO’s creation are on display at this feast for the senses. Build your heart out—and then admire the “mecha robot,” which consists of more than 2.8 million LEGO bricks. 164 South Avenue, 952-858-8949
  • Love From Minnesota   We may be biased about our love of Minnesota, but this store operates with our same love language. Uff-da socks, state-specific cribbage boards, and You Betcha sweatshirts are just a smattering of the collectibles that comprise this treasure trove of Minnesota goodness. 380 West Market, 952-854-7319
  • Bloomingdale’s   It was a sad day in 2012 when Bloomingdale’s closed its doors. As one of the original anchor tenants, it filled about 233,000 square feet of space for two decades. That’s 20 years of the iconic big, medium, and little brown shopping bags.
  • Lululemon   Capitalizing on MOA’s experiential philosophy, the Lululemon space is more than just a fitness boutique. The 19,700-square-foot store opened in 2019 with a fitness studio, a fuel bar, and locker rooms. The whole concept leaves you excited and energized to take your new workout garb for an immediate spin. 116 West Market St., 952-854-6785
  • M&M’s   If ever there was a store to rival Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, it’s this mecca of all things M&Ms. The 24,000-square-foot store offers an immersive candy experience that results in a seriously satiated sweet tooth.  5160 Center Court, 612-246-3982
  • Mona Williams   Lovers of beautiful clothes unite at this curated shop featuring a mix of up-and-coming European designers and designer vintage. We’re especially partial to owner Patric Richardson’s passion for laundry—and his willingness to dish the not-so-dirty details on how to properly clean fine clothes. 286 South Avenue, 952-423-8131
  • Morphe   Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—but it certainly helps when beauty maven Morphe is at-the-ready to stock your bathroom. Founded by experienced make-up artists, this spot brings professional-grade make-up to the masses at affordable prices.  262 West Market Space, 952-800-1892
  • Nordstrom   Come for the famous shoe department. Stay for the assortment of designer handbags—it’s got Gucci! Chanel! Valentino! Oh, my! The MOA Nordstrom also offers high-end designer duds in a newly renovated and oh-so-welcoming space. The anchor location and adjacent parking lot makes it an easy spot to pop in for a quick wardrobe fix, too. 1,000 Northwest Court, 952-883-2121
  • SJP   When Carrie Bradshaw offered us a chance to walk in her shoes—we excitedly acquiesced. Sarah Jessica Parker’s first Midwest retail location opened in 2019, but unfortunately the shop’s stint was short-lived. The memory of her stilettos, however, will last forever. 
  • Zara   Channel your most stylish self at this Spanish fashion brand. The 30,000-square-foot shop offers affordable, of-the-moment styles for women, men, and kids. From shoes and outerwear to bags and ensembles, it’s a one-stop-shop that’s brimming with head-turning looks your wardrobe will love. 185 Central Parkway, 952-854-4875

Remember Bare Bones—the store that sold replica bones and science gadgets? When MOA opened its doors in 1992, the zany concept store was the source of many a TV spot highlighting all the novel things that could be found at the Mall. Shoppers could stock up on shoes and skeletons in one convenient trip.

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