Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

Stay tuned for updates to this page as I’m sure we will become frequent visitors to “the cities.”  For our first trip, we really hit the jackpot with our choices.  See below for my travel tips

Bloomington Lodging/Dining

We stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton for $169/night in a 1 BR king suite.  The place was good for what we needed…nice pool, laundry facilities, large breakfast and really great cleaning staff.  The front desk was nice  although hubby asked for an outdoor park and they suggested the Mall…um, close enough I guess.

http://homewoodsuites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/minnesota/homewood-suites-by-hilton-minneapolis-mall-of-america-MSPHWHW/index.html

There is also a Country Inn and Suites but I thought she was a B on the phone so no, thanks!

Both are walking distance to MOA, about .3mi, but there is a Radisson Blu directly attached.  This hotel looked B.A. (that’s badass in case you’re wondering).  I don’t think they have suites but it’s a swank as you’ll get in Bloomington

Mall of America has some places to eat, of course, but surprisingly less than I thought.

We attempted to go to Dick’s Last Resort several times because I had never been before but the wait was ridiculous. We finally got in after finishing the rides up around 8pm and the big crowd has left.   It was an experience; at first I thought it was a bit much and then it started to grow on me and then the whole family really had fun.  The waiters put forth a lot of energy to be sarcastic and funny, it was exhausting to think about and they do a good job.  The food was mediocre…I take that back, the kids devoured their mac and cheese but all I could find on the menu to order was the salmon and since I don’t really like fish I’m not a fair judge.  It was actually cooked well, I was just mad because my vegetable was a flavorless half ear of corn.  Hubs got fried shrimp and fries, I will admit to cheating and trying it and it was alright (ok pretty good).  The kids were still eating cold mac and cheese from there 2 days later.  http://www.dickslastresort.com/citypage.cfm?store=Minneapolis

We also visited the sky zone grille which was an arcade as well.  Not crowded, good food and in and out.  I got a steak salad which was very good and Hubs had a burger.  I split a pepporoni flatbread from the adult menu for the kids and they went crazy for it. The arcade prices were not bad at all compared to recent places we have visited…I would return for the food and the games!  http://www.skydecklanes.com/

Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America

This trip requires very little planning.  Just show up and buy some tickets…well that’s the way we rolled but you can actually save some $ if you plan ahead.  Click on the link below and go to special offers.  The big decision is wrist band or no wristband.  We got the 48 point pass for $45 and just about came out even with the kids riding several rides, we rode for free as chaperones and we took a nap break in between.  The wristbands are $33 says the website…if your kids will power through this is the way to go and if they are toddlers it’s still ok there are plenty of kid rides to go on.  The points pass doesn’t expire, though, so if you want to go for two half days then get the $63 option which is 84 points.  Most kid rides are 3 points, but big E’s favorite was the 6 point log chute, luckily it was the grand finale.  If we had started there we would have just ridden it all day.  The park is right in the middle of the mall, hard to miss.  The lines were short, the crowds were maintained and the pink haired teenagers holding hands awkwardly didn’t show up til about 8pm.  The place is super awesome.  We went specifically to go to the character appearances to see Bubble Guppies and Dora, the kids LOVED this part and I just had to fork out the $12 for their photos of them getting hugs.  This is really a must do for families.

http://nickelodeonuniverse.com/tickets/

 

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Minnesota Children’s Museum

I can’t say enough about this place.  Mostly I loved that they favorited my instagram pics right away…but their content was pretty insane too.  This place has 4 levels including a rooftop garden with sand and water play and a 5th floor loft with animal interactions.  Each floor is it’s own adventure, including a curiosity station for art, and entire “town” from the Arthur books, a fix it station where kids can gas up the car, you name it and every station was the kids new favorite.  They could have played here for 3 days in a row.  The people who work there were soooo into it, they loved interacting with the kids and my customer service at the entrance was top notch.  You’ll notice I really pay attention to these things, I have a hard time giving someone money if they can’t give me some information, energy or maybe just a polite smile.  This lady had all of these things.  It’s $10 a person to get in and a family membership is $99 but this day they were having a $10 off special, so basically two visits in a year and it’s paid for.  I would have totally done this but I know we will want to try new things when we visit the cities.  They also have a Target sponsored 3rd Sundays free – I would try it once and see how the crowds were to make the determination there but free is free! This place is many little thumbs up and lots of smiles. http://www.mcm.org/

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