28 Fun Things to Do at the Mall of America (NOT Shopping)

The Mall of America is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the United States, supposedly boasting more annual visitors than Disney World, the Grand Canyon, and Graceland COMBINED.

And it’s no secret that most of those visitors come for the shopping. With over 500 stores (and no sales tax on clothes in the State of Minnesota) visitors are happy to shop ’till they drop.

But what about all the other things to do at the Mall of America?

Don’t worry. If you’re all shopped out, there’s still plenty of fun and unique things to do at the Mall of America to keep you busy.

From long time Twin Cities locals who have been visiting MoA for years, here are our 28 favorite things to do at the Mall of America (besides shopping).

PS – If you’re looking for more crazy info about the Mall, here’s our full write up about how mind-blowingly big the Mall of America really is.

Not surprisingly, most things to do at the mall charge a fee. But in our opinion, these fun activities are definitely worth the price of admission!

1. Ride roller coasters and rides at Nickelodeon Universe

things to do mall of america - rides

No doubt you’ve heard of the roller coasters inside the mall of America. They’re part of the massive Nickelodeon Universe and tons of fun!

Located smack in the center of the mall, Nickelodeon Universe totals 7 acres and includes 25+ different rides and roller coasters.

The rides here cover the gamut. For the real thrill seekers, Spongebob Squarepant’s Rock Bottom Plunge is an all-out roller coaster. It’s nearly 100 feet tall and plummets down a 97 degree drop (that’s beyond vertical) and into multiple upside-down moments. That said, our personal favorite ride might be the bright orange “Fairly Odd Coaster” – a 50 foot tall hilly thing that spins riders around like a top and can’t help making every rider crack-up laughing from the fun. (Or maybe just the dizziness…)

For the younger visitors, or just those who aren’t as into the thrills, there’s also plenty of tamer rides. The Pepsi Orange Streak is a half-mile long family coaster that weaves throughout the park and never goes faster than about 20-30 mph. And there’s plenty of other classics like a carousel, ferris wheel, children’s cars,  and even a family-friendly log flume.

Plus, you can always meet some of the Nickelodeon characters wandering the grounds in full-costume!

2. See how crayons are made at the Crayola Experience

The Crayola Experience sits inside the 60,000 square foot Crayola Store. For an added admission fee, you can unlock all sorts of unique attractions straight from the imaginations of crayon lovers everywhere.

Some of the coolest attractions allow guest to:

  • Watch a live demonstration of crayons being made
  • Get their photos taken and transformed into their very own coloring page
  • Use a machine to melt their favorite crayon color into a special character
  • Scribble and draw all over the walls in a special coloring room
  • Or even explore a 2-story, Crayola-themed playground!

3. Discover sea creatures at Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium

A peek into the Sea Life “Ray Lagoon” from the East side’s escalator

Sea Life at Mall of America is a pretty cool public aquarium on the mall’s first floor. And for our money, it’s one of the better attractions at the Mall of America.

The main highlight is probably the “underwater tunnel.” It’s as long as a football field and lets you walk underneath sharks, sea turtles, and more. But we’re always suckers for the interactive “touchpool” exhibit which actually lets you touch real sea plants and creatures!

4. Catch a shuttle to the nearest casino!

While there’s not technically a casino on the mall’s grounds, you can catch a free shuttle bus to one. Mystic Lake Casino, one of the closest casinos to Minneapolis, offers free daily shuttles from the Mall of America to their casino.

The ride takes about 30 minutes, and if you plan on getting really crazy, you can even arrange for an overnight stay with the help of the Mystic Lake Store located on the second floor of the mall.

5. Fly over the Grand Canyon at FlyOver America

flyover america

FlyOver America is a motion simulator attraction that takes a virtual, aerial tour of some of America’s most popular attractions. You’ll soar through New York City, the Grand Canyon, snow capped mountains, and more. The footage is truly breathtaking, and the simulation effects are impressive.

In 2021, they even added a “Fly Hawaii” feature that scoops you through breathtaking Hawaiian coasts and volcanoes. We definitely recommend this one!

6. Laugh for days at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy is a comedy club located on the fourth floor of the mall, and they host stand-up comedy shows every night from Tuesday through Sunday.

This isn’t some tourist trap either; Rick Bronson’s is a legit comedy club that’s hosted plenty of future stars. You can find the most recent line up at their official website.

7. Go axe throwing (and grab some grub) at The Fair on 4

One of the newer things to do at the Mall of America is The Fair on 4. It opened in April 2021, it’s goal is to be a State “Fair” on floor number “4”. This includes an impressive food hall serving popular Fair foods like cheese curds, corn dogs, fried pickles, and even a full bar with plenty of tap beer. Not to mention go-karts and the craziest of all – axe throwing!

8. Play a live action first person shooter at Tactical Urban Combat

Tactical Urban Combat offers laser tag and NERF wars like you’ve never seen them before! This impressive course is located on the third floor (West Side) of the mall, and it’s urban theming is designed to mimic your favorite first person shooter video game.

The laser tag here is high tech, allowing players to switch between normal laser tag guns, sniper rifles, and even grenade launchers!

Oh, and did we mention their NERF guns can shoot UP TO 80 MPH!?

9. Get lost in a mirror maze

Near the mall’s North Food Court sits a funky mirror maze. For a couple bucks you can buy a ticket, strap on some gloves (so you don’t smudge the mirrors when you inevitably bump into them) and do your best to find your way through a classic, disorienting mirror maze!

10. Go mini golfing on a mountain

golfing moa

Moose Mountain Adventure Golf is an awesome 18-hole mini golf course located near the North Food Court. It’s technically part of Nickelodeon Universe, but it does require an extra charge. You can check out our full Moose Mountain Adventure Golf review for the most updated pricing and important info.

11. Go mini golfing in the dark!

Yep, Mall of America visitors actually have two different Mini Golfing options. Located a modest walk from Moose Mountain sits another mini golf course entirely – Rock of Ages Blacklight Mini Golf.

As the name implies, this glow in the dark golf course has a cool rock and roll theme, complete with a Prince-themed 14th hole, just to remind you that you’re in Minnesota. 🙂

12. Watch a movie on the big screen

Yep, the Mall of America houses an entire full-sized movie theater. B&B Theaters is on the south side of the mall on the fourth floor (just at the top of the LEGO sculpture) and features multiple screens showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters.

13. Escape from Mars at The Escape Game

Escape rooms seem to have taken the entire country by storm, and the Mall of America features a great provider of them at The Escape Game.

The Escape Game lets you choose from five different live action escape rooms. In “Mission Mars”, you’ve got 60 minutes to repair your ship and escape cosmic radiation. “Prison Break” has you wrongfully convicted of a crime and needing to use strategy and clues to escape your jail cell. “The Heist” requires you to use slip into an art museum office recover a priceless painting, while “Gold Rush” has you searching for stashed treasure, and “Mysterious Market” has you playing a Special Ops agent in a twisty situation.

Each game is tailored to a different difficulty level. And compared to other escape rooms in the cities, The Escape Game does an excellent job with the theming – each room is an impressively-designed, immersive experience with some awesome twists.

14. Create your own teddy bear at the Build-A-Bear Workshop

build a bear workshop

Okay, this is sort of shopping. BUT, not all shopping allows you to customize your very own teddy bear, right down to the outfits, accessories, and even your own pre-recorded message.

Watching your completely customized bear come to life before your eyes is certainly an experience VERY different from just another clothing store, and definitely something worth checking out.

15. Travel back in time with Old Time Photos

Why not document yourself as a 1920s gangster? Or maybe a Pirate from the open seas? Or how about an authentic Viking? (You are in Minnesota, remember?)

Old Time Photos, near the North Food Court, is the mall’s only portrait studio. And while they can also do a normal set of headshots, the real fun lies in getting a little “old timey” with the help of their endless selection of props and filters to create your very own blast from the past.

16. Go bowling and play high-tech arcade games at GameWorks

GameWorks is a full-stop arcade located on the fourth floor of the mall. You’ll find both classic and high tech arcade games, a complete bowling alley, lots of pool tables, tons of big screens for sports watching, and plenty of food and drink to keep the adults entertained.

17. Forget 3D, experience a 5D extreme attraction?

What is 5D? It’s a 3D movie attraction, mixed with a motion simulator effect (that’s the fourth D) plus crazy special effects like wind, mist and heat (there’s D number five!).

This attraction is located inside Nickelodeon Universe, but it’s technically a separate attraction that requires a separate ticket purchase. But for about $20, you can experience a virtual ride through a Mystery Mine on a motion simulator, plus a Shark Attack show on a “rumble platform.” (The rumble platform has you stand up against a guardrail that shakes and moves as you fend off a virtual herd of 3D sharks and reptiles.)

18. Relax with a massage

With all the action in the mall, sometimes it’s best to melt your stress away with a relaxing massage. Current massage providers include Shiatsu Renu, Relaxing Massage, and New Dragon Acupressure.

Free Things to Do at the Mall of America

If you’re all shopped out and looking for some activities a little easier on the wallet, here are some of the Mall of America’s best free things to do.

19. People watch (anywhere)

If there’s one thing the mall is great for, it’s world class people watching. As one of the most visited attractions in the country, you can literally pick a spot anywhere in the mall and entertain yourself with endless people watching.

Pro tip: We like the rotunda areas for maximum foot traffic.

20. Gawk at the world’s largest LEGO sculpture

free things to do mall of america

The LEGO Store sits on the first floor of the mall, but it’s enormous “Mecha Robot” sculpture towers all the way up past the fourth floor!

At 34 feet tall and made out of an unbelievable 2.8 million LEGO bricks, it’s technically the largest LEGO model in the world. And it’s just one of a handful of enormous LEGO sculptures that sit atop the always popular LEGO store. (Our second favorite is a nearly-life size LEGO helicopter.)

21. Watch a free laser light show

Every Friday and Saturday night when Nickelodeon Universe closes, the park transforms into a massive laser light show. The spectacle lasts nine minutes and features lights, music, and smoke effects that are fancy enough to make a raver proud.

22. Take in stunning public art installations

free things at the mall of america - public art installations

The North Food Court has a giant atrium space that’s become a revolving door of public art installations. The area is hundreds of feet across, and the mall frequently fills the space by hanging some stunning artwork from the ceiling. Over the years, we’ve seen giant glass exhibits enhanced by lasers, 30-foot wide butterfly sculptures, and even impressive Christmas displays.

23. Get burned up by some of the world’s hottest hot sauce

One of the more unique stores in the mall is The Pepper Palace, also located near the North Food court. The palace has a ridiculously huge selection of various hot sauces and pepper products, but the real fun lies in their samples. Try their “Flashbang” hot sauce, if you dare. (It requires a waiver…)

24. Sample the free treats

If you don’t feel like getting blown out by hot sauce, there’s plenty of tamer options for free samples around the mall. Several food court vendors offer free samples (special shout out to Panda Express and Ruby Thai). Lindt Chocolate also occasionally gives out freebies, as does Doc’s Popcorn, The Beef Jerky Experience, and a few other spots around the mall.

25. Enjoy a free concert, fashion show, or other live event

free events mall of america

The mall frequently schedules free concerts, fashion shows, and other live entertainment in the various rotunda areas. You can check the latest schedules on the mall’s official event page.

26. Take advantage of Toddler Tuesday

Every Tuesday at the mall, from 11 AM to noon, the mall runs “Toddler Tuesday” which provides free events aimed at the little ones. (Technically, Toddler Tuesday runs all day via discounts at various parts of the mall for toddlers and their parents.) Keep your eyes peeled for your favorite Nickelodeon characters roaming the mall on Toddler Tuesdays!

27. Walk a self-guided exercise path

Did you know that the mall is a popular spot for walkers? That’s because signs hang throughout the mall that guide walkers through the “Mayo Clinic Mile” – a collection of paths that include 1 mile, 5K, and 10K loops.

28. Grab a selfie at the “official” Mall of America Sign

mall of america bloomington mn

The classic Mall of America sign sits on the Northeast Corner of the mall, just outside the parking garage. Might as well snap a pic of yourself at this iconic spot to prove you were there!

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