Thanksgiving is over, and the other holidays aren't quite here yet, so that can only mean one thing: it's shopping season. At least, it is for me. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all of the sales and "deals" that will take us through December 26th or so "“ it's awfully tempting for someone who likes to shop a little too much.
A couple of my friends and I are kicking off our holiday shopping with a trip to Minneapolis next week "“ which will, of course, include a stop at the Mall of America. In preparation for the trip, here are a few facts about the biggest mall in the United States.
1. First, a clarification. Whether it's the biggest mall in the U.S. or not depends on what you're measuring. If you're measuring by the sheer amount of retail sales, MOA comes in second to the King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania (where I used to work!). If you're going by the size, MOA definitely wins with its 4.2 million square feet. Only 2.77 million of that is reserved for retail, though, whereas King of Prussia has 2.793 million square feet for retail.
2. The mall has its own zip code (55425, in case you're dying to know).
3. With 4.2 million square feet to cover, more than 500 stores, a theme park, an aquarium, a movie theater, a wedding chapel and lots more, how many parking spaces do you think would be adequate? Well, the Mall has 20,000. But there are plenty of options if you find yourself at the mall with 20,000 other people and can't seem to find a spot, including hotel shuttles, parking at IKEA (which will soon connect to the mall), plus bus and rail service that will both take you directly to the mall.
4. Before it was the Mall of America, it was the Metropolitan Stadium, where you'd likely find Vikings and Twins before you'd find bargain hunters. The Beatles also played there in 1965.
5. There are a couple of passing references to the old stadium, if you've got eagle eyes. Both are found in the Nickelodeon theme park area of the mall if you're willing to brave throngs of kids to play I Spy. But if you aren't willing (I probably won't be), here they are. The first is a bronze plaque that marks where home plate once stood "“ it's embedded in the floor in the northwest corner of Nickelodeon Universe. The second is probably quite perplexing if you've ever been on the Log Chute and noticed what appears to be a random chair affixed to the wall that has nothing to do with the ride. It shows the spot where the longest home run at the Old Met was hit by Minnesota Twin Harmon Killebrew, who blasted the ball 520 feet from home plate.
6. On any given day, the number of people who visit the mall would make the Mall of America Minnesota's third-largest city (if that were possible).
7. The only common areas (the areas that aren't actually inside of stores) that are heated at the Mall are the entryways. The rest of the mall uses skylights, lighting fixtures and just good old body heat from all of the employees and the customers. In fact, even in Minnesota's sub-zero temps in the winter, an air conditioning system has to be used to keep the mall at a comfy shopping temperature.
8. If you want to get married at the Chapel of Love at the mall, you're not alone: since they opened 15 years ago, the Chapel has wedded more than 5,500 couples. Services start at $249 for the couple and up to 12 guests and go to at least $4,300 for a catered affair (that's $1800 for the wedding and a minimum of $2,500 in catering). That doesn't include flowers or photography, by the way.
9. On average, each tourist spends about $162 during one trip to the mall. I intend to increase that average this weekend.
10. Although the Megamall might be the largest mall in the U.S., it's not the largest mall in North America. That distinction belongs to West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada. The largest mall in the world is New South China Mall in Dongguan, China (nearly 6.5 million square feet). MOA doesn't even make the top ten list when it comes to the biggest malls in the world. Oh, and just as a "by the way," the same company owns the Mall of America and the West Ed Mall: Triple Five Group Ltd, a Canadian company.
Who has been to the Mall of America? Impressed? Unimpressed? Wouldn't go there if your life depended on it? Share in the comments.