• 24 Hours in Bloomington

Erica Loeks Custom Photos - Minnehaha Falls, Sea Salt

With so much to do in Bloomington, it can be a challenge to pack it all into a short trip. However, we’ve managed to squeeze some of the best of it into a fun, albeit busy, 24 hours.

Hours 1-5: Check into one of Bloomington’s over 40 hotels, many of which are located within a short distance of, and will offer a free shuttle to, your first stop: Mall of America. Shop the more than 520 stores, finding something for yourself as well as gifts to bring home, and then move on to the attractions. Explore Nickelodeon Universe, a one-of-a-kind indoor theme park with nearly 30 rides and attractions, come face-to-face with more than 10,000 sea creatures at SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, play a round of northwoods-themed golf at Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, or soar high above the country's most beautiful landmarks at FlyOver America. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab a bite to eat at one of the Mall’s more than 50 restaurants.

Hours 5-9: Hop aboard the METRO Blue Line from the Mall of America station and take it to downtown Minneapolis, making stops to sightsee along the way. Get off at Fort Snelling Station to tour Historic Fort Snelling, a former U.S. military outpost, or at Minnehaha Park Station to view Minnehaha Falls, a 53-foot urban waterfall. You can also depart at Lake Street/Midtown Station for shopping and dining inside Midtown Global Market or along Lake Street; at the Cedar-Riverside Station for a show at venues like Mixed Blood Theatre and Theatre in the Round along the University of Minnesota’s West Bank; at Nicollet Mall Station to explore the restaurants and shops that line the pedestrian-only street, or the final stop, Target Field Station, where you can watch the Twins play under the open sky at one of the nation’s best ballparks.

Hours 9-12: Take the METRO Blue Line back to Bloomington, and enjoy the perks of your hotel or those nearby. Head to Radisson Blu Mall of America and unwind with pampering at Solimar Spa, then enjoy a top-notch meal at the brand new JW Marriott’s restaurant, Cedar + Stone, Urban Table. If the kids are with you, they will enjoy the hotel's connected access to Nickelodeon Universe® and SEA LIFE® Minnesota Aquarium.

Hours 12-24: Get some sleep at your hotel and wake up rested for another active day. Spend your last hours at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, one of the nation’s few urban national wildlife refuges, and walk around scenic trails. There’s more than 2,000 acres of floodplain forest, ponds, spring-fed steams and marsh to explore by foot, bike, snowshoe or cross-country ski, plus opportunities to view birds and other wildlife. Or take a brief drive to central Bloomington, where you can visit Normandale Community College’s Japanese Garden, a two-acre oasis of beauty and serenity in the heart of Bloomington. Ideal for contemplation and renewal of the spirit, the garden is also one of the most popular and unique locations in the Twin Cities for weddings and photography sessions. It is open year-round at no charge, except when reserved for special events.