Destination: The Mall of America

Before you visit the Spectrum Metro Mall you need to make some plans. Log onto the Mall of America Home Page for maps, directions, a store directory, a list of special attractions, an events calendar, and a restaurant directory. Though this website is packed with information, there are things it doesn’t tell you.

First, you need to understand that the Mall of America is city within a city and employs almost 12,000 people. During the summer months and holidays this number swells to 13,000 employees. On weekends the mall is often so crowded that walking is difficult. Wear comfortable shoes because the Mall of America covers 4.2 million square feet.

Getting to the mall is easy. Driving directions are posted on the Mall of America website. The 35 hotels near the Mall of America provide free shuttle service. If you stay at a downtown Minneapolis hotel you may take Light Rail directly to the mall. Light Rail service is also available from the airport to the mall. Parking at the mall is free. With 12,550 on-site spaces and 22,000 overflow spaces, it’s a good idea to jot down the location of your parking space.

Be sure to get a mall map from the Guest Information Service Desk. Desks are located on the first level at each of the four entrances, North, South, East and West. Instead of going in all directions, choose one area and explore it. Young children should have identification on them. Some parents dress their kids in bright t-shirts or caps so they can spot them quickly. Decide on a meeting place in case a family member gets lost.

When you’re in a crowd you need to be aware of personal safety and this is true at the Mall of America. However, you don’t need to be overly anxious because the mall has its own 100-person security force. Security officers walk the mall constantly and are very visible. One hundred sixty television monitors scan the crowd. In case of trouble, the mall has 130 call boxes, 44 help phones and, something many people don’t know, jail cells on a separate level.

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