November is an odd month, everything outside is brown and dead, we are waiting for snow but don’t know when, if or how much we will get, we need to start decorating for the upcoming holiday season but it just does not look real festive outside. So, what do we do? We go shopping. Here in MN we are good at handling the cold weather but it takes us a few weeks to make the adjustment from warm to cold so we like to shop as it is a mostly indoor activity and with the upcoming holidays we have to get the shopping done.
Southdale opened in 1956 in Edina was actually the very first enclosed, indoor, climate controlled shopping center in the world! It was originally designed to function more as a gathering point for residents of the Twin Cities but with our winters it was quite practical as well. Southdale was the first of the “dales” with Brookdale, Rosedale and Ridgedale opening over the next 18 years. Several other similar properties opened as well but were called centers, such as Eden Prairie Center and Burnsville Center.
Continuing to make indoor shopping history we opened the MOA (Mall of America) in Bloomington in 1992 which is the largest shopping mall in the US. In some ways it is a jumbo model of the Southdale plan as it is also based on the 4 large anchor stores in the corners. This shopping experience continues to grow with the addition of IKEA, off site hotels, restaurants and the MOA waterpark. If you have never been to the MOA, allow plenty of time to see it all. For just the shops and stores you really need more than a day but then there is the Nickelodean Universe in the middle of the mall complete with roller coasters, a water ride and all the usual rides you find at an amusement park, an aquarium, movie theaters, night clubs, restaurants and so many other activities. People come from all over the world to spend time at the MOA. If you can’t find what you are looking for at the MOA, it probable does not exist.
We also have our outlet malls here in the Northland. To the north we have the Albertville Outlets with about 100 stores and to the east we have the Woodbury Outlet with over 200 stores. At the outlet malls you can find famous names like Ralph Lauren, Eddie Bauer, Bass, Columbia, Gap as well as most of the other popular brands. For a pdf map of each outlet and store list click the link for the outlet you are interested in: Albertville Woodbury
The indoor malls are ideal for inclement weather but we also have numerous strip malls or stand alone stores such as REI, Cabelas or Gander Mountain. Depending on what stores you are looking for will also determine which mall you need to go to.
The downtown areas in both Minneapolis and St. Paul have extensive skyway systems. They kind of give you the feeling of being a Hamster in a Habitrail but they are quite practical. People that work and/or live in the city often go to work, out to eat and shop without ever going outdoors. The Minneapolis skyway system is the largest in the world and covers about 8 miles, the St. Paul skyway system covers about 5 miles. The skyways are not open 24/7 so pay attention to the hours before you head out without a coat! If you are downtown starting after Thanksgiving, both Minneapolis and St. Paul have holiday activities such as the Holidazzle parade, outdoor ice skating, Macy’s holiday show, tree lighting and other fun family activities.
Remember if you don’t like crowds, get out and shop now because after midnight on Thanksgiving the stores will be overflowing through the end of December!