When I was in sixth grade, my best friend at the time told me that the biggest mall in the country was opening up in our area. Already a big shopper (she had knee-high boots before I even knew those were cool), she was so excited about what this could bring to the shopping scene. Me? Well, honestly, I thought she was lying. The biggest mall in the country? In Minnesota? Certainly she was mistaken.
Well, I was wrong and Mall of America opened up 20 years ago this week, on Aug. 11, 1992. My mom and I went out almost immediately, just to see what it was all about. We were in disbelief at the size of the place and with each subsequent visit we discovered something new. We tried to eat in every sit-down restaurant over our frequent visits, but the mall kept opening more and more places, we never met our goal. I celebrated a birthday at Planet Hollywood, I enjoyed the last day of ninth grade at the amusement park with a bunch of my friends, and now as a mother of a toddler, we stroll those halls at least once a month as a way to get out of the house. It seems to be that no matter what you’re looking for—a new pair of jeans, a date night, or just an escape—the mall has it.
Mall of America has been celebrating its 20 years all year long, but this week marks the culmination. Tonight, starting at 6 p.m., you can catch Blues Traveler performing from its latest album (the Grammy winners will sign autographs, too). On Wednesday at 3 p.m., American Idol winner and Sparkle star, Jordin Sparks, performs and signs autographs.
Then on Saturday, the mall gives away 20 different party favors (500 of each item) to guests throughout the property. Nab mini-golf passes, Nickelodeon Universe ride passes, food samples, admission to Sea Life, Aeropostale gift bags, and much more. Cake Boss Buddy Valastro has designed an eight-foot-tall birthday cake that will be on display on Saturday, and served to 2,000 hungry guests at 2 p.m. Then from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., head across the street to Twin Cities Beer Fest, where hundreds of beers from around the world are served up, local food trucks offer bites to eat, live music is played, and birthday fun ensues.
Happy Birthday MOA!