The Mall of America is more than just a shopping mall—it's a bona fide tourist attraction. For more than a quarter-century, the gigantic shopping center has brought tens of millions tourists to the city of Bloomington, Minnesota for deals on designers duds and roller coaster rides galore. Here at a few things you might not know about the legendary shopping mall.
1. YES, IT'S THE BIGGEST MALL IN AMERICA.
Up until 2015, the Mall of America and Pennyslvania's King of Prussia Mall were regularly duking it out for the title of "biggest" versus "largest" mall in America. And while the Mall of America has always maintained a larger total square footage, King of Prussia boasted more actual retail space. That officially changed in 2015, when the Mall of America expanded its footprint.
But the Mall of America won't hold that title for much longer; Miami's American Dream Mall is set to steal the title when it opens (but it could be a while, as the shopping center is still in the development phase).
2. The mall has its own zip code.
It's 55425, in case you're dying to know (or just need it).
3. THERE ARE MORE THAN 12,250 PARKING SPACES.
With 5.4 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 12,287. But there are plenty of options if you find yourself at the mall with 12,287 other people and can't seem to find a spot, including hotel shuttles, parking at IKEA, plus bus and rail services that will take you directly to the mall.
If you want to skip all that driving around looking for a spot, the MyPark app will let you reserve a premium parking spot for your visit.
4. THE MALL HAS ITS OWN APP.
In addition to MyPark, the Mall of America has its own dedicated app that lets you maximize your visit. The app lets you virtually visit all 500-plus of the center's stores, create a digital to-do list so that you don't miss anything, add parking reminders for your cars, and map out the facility so that you know where you're going—and don't get lost.
5. BEFORE IT WAS A MALL, IT WAS A STADIUM (WHERE THE BEATLES ONCE PLAYED).
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.
6. There are a couple of MONUMENTS to the old stadium.
If you want to experience a bit of the mall's past life as a stadium, there are a couple of reminders. 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.
7. THE SPACE RELIES ON BODY HEAT TO KEEP IT WARM.
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 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. YOU CAN GET MARRIED THERE.
If you want to get married at the Chapel of Love at the Mall of America, you're not alone: more than 7500 couples have tied the knot at the Mall since the chapel opened its doors nearly 25 years ago. Wedding packages start at $249 for the couple and up to 12 guests and go to more than $4000 for a catered affair. (That doesn't include flowers or photography, by the way.)
9. visitors drop more than $160 apiece.
On average, each tourist spends about $162 during one trip to the mall. That same tourist spends about $1.25 outside the mall and the shopping destination boasts more than 40 million visitors per year.
10. IT'S NOT THE LARGEST MALL IN NORTH AMERICA.
Although the mega-mall 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 the New South China Mall in Dongguan, China, which is home to an 82-foot-high replica of the Arc de Triomphe and a 1.3-mile-long canal with gondolas. While the New South China Mall has long been referred to as the world's largest "ghost mall" because of its lack of occupants, or shoppers, it seems poised for a comeback.
This article originally ran in 2009.