Best known as the home of the nation’s biggest indoor shopping center, Mall of America, Minnesota’s Bloomington is a buzzing little city along the banks of the Minnesota River. Though you are probably coming here to shop, this suburb of Minneapolis also offers indoor water and amusement parks, an impressive aquarium, and a huge wildlife refuge right on the edge of town. Bloomington’s accommodations come in all shapes and budgets, and its proximity to the Twin Cities ensures convenient access from all across North America.
Things to see
The Mall of America is the biggest indoor shopping center in the country. This veritable city of consumer fun boasts an indoor amusement park, an aquarium, and hundreds of stores, eateries, and entertainment venues.
Nickelodeon Universe has three roller coasters and a dozen other rides for both little ones and ageless kids. Best of all, it’s completely indoors at the Mall of America, making the Minnesota weather obsolete.
Bloomington is a town of superlatives, including America’s largest indoor water park. Try the 10-story water slide to test your tolerance for G-force or cruise along the lazy floating river at Water Park America.
Underwater Adventures Aquarium showcases more than 5,000 exotic sea creatures from around the globe. See the world’s largest underground aquarium or try your hand at scuba diving in a cage surrounded by sharks.
If you like your skiing short and sweet, the 175-foot runs at Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area are sure to keep you moving up and down the slopes.
Hotels in Bloomington
Nearly all of the hotels in Bloomington are major American chains. They tend to be larger here than in most other locations due to the sheer volume of visitors who come to shop and play in Bloomington. Everyone from families and friends on a shopping spree to business travelers are welcome here.
Most hotels offer useful amenities, such as free shuttle service between the Mall of America and its neighboring attractions. The upscale chains go even further with their swimming pools, fitness centers, on-site dining, and room options like spacious suites. Hotel deals are common and often include packages which are tied to the local attractions and amusement parks.
Where to stay
The Mall of America is like a city within the city of Bloomington. Several top-end hotel chains have excellent properties within walking distance of the mall and its adjoining amusement parks. Though room rates are slightly higher here than elsewhere in the city, the location is unbeatable.
Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport is just a short drive east of Bloomington and offers several well-appointed chain hotels for travelers who want to stay right next to the airport. The location is still close enough to enjoy all the attractions around the city.
If you prefer more natural surroundings, there are a number of hotels next to Mt Normandale Lake Park. Besides the gorgeous lake next door, these hotels are situated right off Interstate 494 for easy access to local highlights.
How to get to Bloomington
With Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport just a few minutes’ drive east of Bloomington, it’s incredibly easy to get here from most cities in North America. The airport is a major hub for Delta and handles over 33 million passengers annually. The nearest Greyhound bus terminal is in Minneapolis, with the light rail train station a few blocks away offering services to Bloomington.
Most people rent a car to move around this part of Minnesota, and Bloomington enjoys superb road access via interstates 494 and 35. The city itself has a great light rail system which is ideal for trips into the Twin Cities, while buses pick up the local transport traffic.