Bloomington is best known as the home of the Mall of America and of Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. A visitor could deplane at the airport, take a shuttle for 1.5 miles to the Mall of America, and literally spend an entire vacation just exploring and enjoying that enchanting place.
The country's largest shopping complex and Number 1 visited attraction in the U.S. welcomes over 42 million guests each year. The Mall of America is an unprecedented mix of retail and entertainment, offering the chance to shop in your favorite stores, see a movie, ride a roller coaster, and build a LEGO castle. The Mall has over 525 specialty stores, 4 national department stores, over 60 restaurants from fast-food to fine dining, 7 nightclubs and 14 movie theaters. Because of the Mall, Bloomington has grown from a semi-rural village to its current status as Minnesota's third largest city.
Inside the climate controlled mall are: the LEGO Imagination Center, a fantasy LEGO factory with more than 6,000 square feet of models and interactive activities; Jilian's Hi Life Lanes, with more than 100 electronic games and a Bowling alley; the NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway, with indoor simulated racing machines, and a 14 theater movie complex.
Camp Snoopy is another prime Mall of America attraction. This seven acre family theme park features more than 25 rides and attractions, including a traditional roller coaster, a 40 foot waterfall plunge, a Ferris wheel, entertainment by the Peanuts characters, and a spinning roller coaster called the Timberland Twister.
Another feature of the Mall is a walk-through aquarium containing more than 4,500 sea creatures including sharks and stingrays.
Outside the mall, no matter what the season, Bloomington has recreational opportunities to offer, such as golf, tennis, biking, hiking and skiing.
Named for its colorful, flowering fields, Bloomington is a city of picturesque lakes, ponds, and parks combined with an exciting and healthy business and hospitality industry. Permanent European settlers arrived in Bloomington in the 1840's, moving into the area along the Minnesota River near Fort Snelling.
Bloomington gained recognition in the early 20th century as the home of racehorse Dan Patch, holder of the international pacing record. It was also the headquarters for many years for The Twins and the Vikings, Minnesota's professional baseball and football teams. When both of the teams moved from Met Stadium in Bloomington to the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis in 1982, the blow to the local economy in Bloomington was devastating. Tragedy turned to triumph in 1986, however, when the 78 strategically located acres of the former Met Stadium were slated for development by the group that was to build the Mall of America. The mega complex opened in 1992 and gave Bloomington a new lease on life.
There is so much to see and do in Bloomington! If local history is your interest, be sure to visit the Bloomington Historical
Museum. This museum in the 1892 Town Hall takes the visitor back in time through the highlights of regional history. In June and August, a must see event is the annual Art in the Parks festival. Enjoy beautiful summer nights in a friendly park setting and hear music from swing to country to jazz to classic rock. Watch performances by dance, choral and theater companies.
Bloomington is fortunate in having four distinct seasons. Summer is very comfortable with high temperatures near 80 degrees. It is the perfect time to experience the outdoors; especially the city's numerous parks. Winter is the time to enjoy ice skating, ice fishing and watching Nature at it's finest as the snowflakes gently fall to earth forming thick blankets of snow for skiing, snowmobiling, and snowboarding. Spring brings rain and a profusion of plants and flowers. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the colors of the season as the leaves turn and the cooler temperatures return.
Because of its proximity to Minneapolis-St. Paul, many visitors to Bloomington use it as a base to visit the numerous sites and attractions of these nearby cities. Minneapolis is the home of numerous professional sports teams, excellent theatre, fine orchestras, and a host of art museums and fine dining. St. Paul hosts the Winter Carnival in January and February and the Minnesota Horse Expo and Rodeo and the Festival of Nations in May.
If you visit in late August, be sure to take in the Minnesota State Fair, in St. Paul. This is Minnesota's premier festival: a
twelve day event that attracts over one million visitors annually. Featuring family fun, prestigious animal judging events,
Grand Stand shows, a Mighty Midway and a large variety of food, has been dubbed the "Great Minnesota Get-Together".
While in the vicinity of Bloomington and the Twin Cities, don't miss the Grand Rounds, a 50-mile recreation area tour that can be followed on one huge trail maintained by the city of Minneapolis. This path, which was designated as a National Scenic Byway in 1998, is broken into seven districts. The tour offers many impressive views of the downtown skyline. The sites are green and lush and are lined with waterways. Attractions along the route include the historic Stone Arch Bridge, Minnehaha Falls, the Walker Arts Center's Sculpture Garden, and the historic mill district. Overall, the Grand Rounds provides a natural, urban, historic journey and is the first natural scenic byway totally located in a major urban area. The speed limit on Grand Rounds parkways is 25 mph to encourage leisurely driving.
No matter what the season or what the occasion, Bloomington, is waiting to welcome you.