Bloomington is a really cool city to explore on a weekend trip. A visit to the enormous Mall of America here is a must, but there are a few other sites to check out when you visit, too.
Where to Stay
Whether you arrive on a Friday night or a Saturday morning, the first thing I always like to do is drop my bags off. There are so many great hotels in Bloomington that it can be hard to figure out which one to choose. Small boutique hotels are my favorite options, as I value supporting local businesses when I travel. For a really unique experience, check out one of the many hotels that are actually inside the Mall of America.
What to Do
Whether you’re with your kids or you’re heading to Bloomington for a shopping weekend, there are plenty of things to do to keep everyone happy.
1. Stop Into the Mall of America
It’s a must. You could easily spend your entire weekend inside this mall and never have to leave. The mall literally has every possible store you can imagine, along with hundreds you’ve probably never heard of. There’s a food court and tons of restaurants, so when you’re feeling hungry, have no fear. A&W was my favorite. It reminded me of my childhood!
2. The Art of Edina
This gallery in the neighboring town of Edina is one of the coolest interactive art installations I’ve ever seen. The Galleria Art Walls are really fun and make for great Instagram photos!
3. Fort Snelling State Park
For some outdoor fun, you need to check out nearby Fort Snelling State Park. It’s an amazing place to see the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers converge. On a sunny day, it’s also a nice place to walk around and enjoy nature.
Where to Eat
I was so excited to see how many funky cafés, bars, and restaurants there were in downtown Bloomington. If you’re looking for reasonably priced chain restaurants, you’ll find everything inside the Mall of America.
The food at Lela is spectacular. It’s Italian-style, but it definitely has a bit of American flair. The homemade pasta was my favorite, but the raw bar is a must, too. There are so many amazing options on the menu that you’re going to want to return to this restaurant all weekend like we almost did!
2. West Side Perk
This little funky café is exactly the sort of place where I could while away an entire afternoon. The coffee is fantastic, the ambiance is ideal for working without total silence, and the food is great, too. Try the soup of the day.
3. Urbana Craeft Kitchen & Market
Save Urbana Craeft Kitchen for your last night in town. It’s the perfect farewell to this eclectic city, and the food is truly delicious. It’s right beside an open park, making the whole place feel miles from any urban center. The food is regionally sourced and the menu is seasonal, too.
Bloomington, Minnesota is a really cool little city that’s definitely worth a few days of your time.
Feature image via Flickr by lightinacube