Shopping In and Around the Twin Cities

Shopping In and Around the Twin Cities

Serious shoppers know that heading to the store is more than just a chore, it’s a way of life. Still, it can be frustrating living in a town that has few options to choose from. This is why the Twin Cities area is the place to be. This shopper’s heaven has a variety of stores for every need, and let’s not forget clothing is tax-free in the state of Minnesota.

You can’t mention shopping in the Twin Cities without pointing out Minnesota has the Mall of America, one of the largest malls in the United States. The mall recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with it first opening in 1995. It takes up a total area of 96.4 acres, enough to fit seven Yankee Stadiums inside. It fits more than 500 stores, an amusement park and an aquarium. The mall even has a stop on the METRO Blue and Red Lines. Popular retailers include the LEGO store, Macy’s, Fabletics and the virtual reality sports entertainment center SMAAASH. The mall hosts an annual holiday music festival from November 26 to December 26 with several different types of performances.

There are plenty of things to do in Minneapolis besides going shopping, but those looking for deals have to visit Nicollet Mall and the Uptown district. Located in downtown Minneapolis, Nicollet Mall and the surrounding area is sometimes referred to as the “lunch break.” It’s not uncommon to see someone leave for a snack at the farmer’s market and come back with a shopping bag or two. This area has been a primary shopping district for downtown residents since the late 19th century. It has since expanded to include shopping staples such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and the local men’s clothing boutique Hubert White. The mall is nearing the end of a $50 million makeover project. The area has been improved to include more green space and to become more pedestrian-friendly.

Uptown is a shopping area south of downtown Minneapolis that is mainly centered around Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street. This area has a rare distinction of being cool enough to warrant a shout out from the late Prince. Uptown was popular among artists and musicians in the 1980’s, but now it’s more common to see 20-something professionals and recent college graduates. The former art scene is still celebrated at the annual Uptown Art Fair in August. Uptown is home to Calhoun Square, an atrium-style indoor mall. The mall has a mix of boutique retailers and restaurants. It saw a recent $20 million renovation that added more parking spaces, about 927 square feet of retail space and more room for outdoor dining.

Grand Avenue is a shopping district located about 10 minutes west of downtown St. Paul. Most of the shopping in the area is located in the mile between Dale Street and Lexington Avenue. Many flock to the area for its independent stores that sell a variety of wares from high fashion to decorations for the home. Grand Avenue also hosts several community events all year long. Bring the pooch along in the beginning of August for Paws on Grand for the opportunity to get a dog wash and a photo taken of your pet. Many families head to the area for the annual Boo Fest at the end of October. This free event has a petting zoo, pony rides and trick-or-treating at participating businesses. Held at the beginning of December, the Grand Meander is the area’s annual holiday event. Visitors can expect to see Santa’s reindeer, rides on the local firetruck and art from local young students.

While the Mall of America can boast for being one of the largest malls, Southdale Center in Edina is one of the oldest fully-enclosed malls in the country. The shopping center first opened in 1956. It has since expanded to fit about 120 tenants and 1.3 million square feet of retail space. Edina has several other shopping areas including 50th and France and the Edina Galleria. Aptly named for its location on the intersection of 50th and France Avenue, this district has several independent stores, restaurants and bars. Several restaurants participate in weekday happy hours. Other retailers host knitting and cardio workout classes. Edina Galleria offers luxury shopping options from local and international retailers. The mall dates back to Gabbert’s Furniture Store, which first opened in 1976. Other stores were slowly added to the area, and it was eventually transformed into an enclosed space.

If antiquing is more up your alley, Stillwater is the top destination for quality. Although not in the Twin Cities, it is located in the scenic St. Croix Valley, about a 30-minute drive from St. Paul. The area is often rated one of the best small towns in the state and Forbes Magazine once ranked Stillwater as one of the top ten prettiest towns in America. Many retailers in the area have been there for decades, such as Staples Mill and Midtown Antiques. The area also has a murder mystery theatre, winery and brewery and skiing in the winter months.

The amount of shopping experiences are endless for the avid shopper. Minnesota can fulfill all your shopping needs, whatever they may be. Whether it is sunny and breezy or dead of winter, you’ll never find yourself out of options. Plus, who doesn’t love tax-free clothing?

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