15 Best Things to Do in Bloomington, MN

Bloomington, MN
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Known as the fourth biggest city in Minnesota, Bloomington offers a lot to any traveler.

Bloomington, a Minneapolis suburb and part of Hennepin County, has managed to establish itself as a popular tourist destination in Minnesota.

Aside from being recognized as the home of the largest shopping mall in the United States, Bloomington is also notable for providing a variety of family-friendly entertainment options, including outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, biking, and many more.

With so many things to do here, you're sure to find what you're looking for.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Bloomington, Minnesota:

Be Amazed at the Majestic Mall of America

Majestic Mall of America
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If there’s one place that Bloomington is most well-known for, it is its shopping mall, the Mall of America.

Established in 1992, Mall of America holds the title of the largest retail and entertainment destination in North America.

Majestic Mall of America
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It has 5.6 million square feet and 2.87 million square feet of retail space.

Its 520 stores sell tax-free items and feature more than 60 restaurants and other attractions such as an amusement park, SEA LIFE, Escape Room, mini-golf courses, and many more that you will surely enjoy.

Whether you want to shop for items or roam around, Mall of America is the perfect place to spend a day.

Majestic Mall of America
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Visit The Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park inside the Mall of America

The Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park inside the Mall of America
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Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park is the ideal destination for a day of fun and excitement with the family.

It's a 7-acre indoor amusement park inside Mall of America. There are more than 30 rides and attractions, so everyone can have fun.

The Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park inside the Mall of America
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The park also offers different shows and events you can watch and enjoy.

So if you're looking for some fun things to do in Minneapolis,  check out the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park.

The Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park inside the Mall of America
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Get Some Fresh Air at Hyland Lake Park Reserve

View of Hyland Lake Park Reserve
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Looking for a place to get some fresh air? Try to include Hyland Lake Park Reserve on your itinerary when you visit Bloomington.

Hyland Lake Park Reserve is a 3,700-acre park with gorgeous scenery and a large body of water perfect for fishing.

In addition, there is a large play area where you can engage in disc golf and other outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking trails or a picnic with your family and friends.

It's also best to visit the park during the winter when you can go sledding, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

Hyland Lake Park Reserve is the perfect place to escape from busy city life, no matter what time of year it is.

Take a Scenic Walk or Bike Ride through Normandale Lake Park

Scenic view of Normandale Lake Park
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The bandshell and park shelter in Normandale Lake Park, which holds up to 35 events annually, are among the park's recreational amenities.

The Bloomington Fine Arts Council and other Arts in the Parks events are the primary users of the bandshell. You can also reserve and rent some spaces on days when it's available.

The Foundation Architects / Consultants P.A. designed the bandshell in 2001, situated on the north side of Normandale Lake. The location can comfortably hold 5,000 people at a time.

Scenic view of Normandale Lake Park
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A covered stage of 53 by 35 feet, a sound and lighting system, a meeting space, dressing rooms, and public facilities are available. Walkers and joggers can use its public toilets any time of the year.

At Normandale Lake Park, you're not limited to one activity.

Feel free to explore the area by bike or on foot while enjoying the gorgeous scenery.

Color Your Journey at Crayola Experience

Crayola Experience is the only place in the world where you can see Crayola magic come to life.

You're always encouraged to play, explore, and learn here, to let your imagination soar, and to color beyond the lines.

The Crayola Experience, which has 25 interactive attractions, is where color, chemistry, and technology magically combine to create a fun-filled, vibrant journey for a child's imagination.

Children of all ages are urged to let their creativity run wild at the Crayola Experience.

Summon your inner child and play with colorful crayons here at Crayola Experience.

Relax at Normandale Japanese Garden

View of Normandale Japanese Garden
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There is no better location to unwind and rejuvenate than the Normandale Japanese Garden when you're looking for a spot to get away from the buzz of the city.

Takao Watanabe designed The Normandale Japanese Garden. It's currently open to the public.

View of Normandale Japanese Garden
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Since its completion in 1972, the garden frequently sports the subdued style of flowering plants commonly seen in Japan.

The best part is that, in addition to being a great place for special occasions, you can visit the garden any time of year without spending a dime.

The square shelter in the garden houses a tour guide for self-guided tours.

View of Normandale Japanese Garden
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Enjoy an Exhilarating Climb at Vertical Endeavors

Vertical Endeavors is an indoor rock climbing gym with more than 12,000 square feet of climbable space.

For climbers of all ability levels, the gym also provides a variety of classes and activities in this family-friendly, action-packed entertainment place.

Vertical Endeavors is the ideal location to enjoy some indoor rock climbing, whether you're a novice or a seasoned pro.

Children can learn to climb like a pro at one of the Vertical Endeavors' climbing camps, which are also available for youngsters.

Vertical Endeavors is a fantastic location for workgroups or birthday parties because it offers group activities.

Learn how to climb with rock climbing lessons available on-site.

Bask in Nature at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Nature at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
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The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a vibrant urban sanctuary where wildlife, towns, and people are connected by nature.

The refuge aims to preserve animal habitats in the Minnesota River Valley. They connect with visitors, offer educational opportunities, and provide recreational activities.

Nature at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
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With more than 500 miles of trails, the area provides a range of recreational opportunities, such as hiking, biking, strolling, and wildlife spotting.

The two visitor centers on the refuge offer maps, brochures, engaging activities, guided tours, displays, and a nature store.

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to see a variety of plants and animals in their natural habitat.

Nature at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
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Play Pickleball at One of Bloomington's Life Time Athletic Clubs

Life Time Athletic Club is a luxurious sports resort situated at the southwest corner of I-35W and 98th Street.

This 95,000-square-foot complex is committed to helping people live healthier lives and includes indoor and outdoor tennis courts, a large gym area, as well workout classes.

The club also provides its members with a variety of classes and activities.

Check out Life Time Athletic Club if you're seeking a location to play pickleball or just want to improve your health. It's the perfect destination to get some exercise!

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane at the Bloomington Historical Museum

Outside view of Bloomington Historical Museum
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The Bloomington Historical Museum is a fantastic resource on Bloomington's past.

A study library and a range of exhibitions are available at the museum. You can also read about the place's history and its cultural significance in the community over the years.

On July 22, 1964, the Bloomington Historical Society was established as a Minnesota non-profit.

Outside view of Bloomington Historical Museum
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The society exists to learn and remember the history of Bloomington, Hennepin County, and Minnesota while sharing that information with others.

The Old Town Hall is a hub for community activity, where residents gather to celebrate, dance, and socialize.

The museum continues to draw in visitors who come to discover the exhibits and explore Bloomington's history.

Play Around the Water at Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

Visit the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park for a splashing good time at one of Bloomington's top attractions.

The arcade and water attractions are Great Wolf Lodge Water Park’s main draw, but several other activities are available.

Your kids will enjoy playing in the Cub Paw Pool's zero-depth as you spin and whirl on the River Canyon Run.

They also provide a four-level climbing wall and a second-story ropes course.

You can even spend the night at the Lodge in one of their magnificent guest suites.

Your family will have a fantastic vacation and a smashing time at the lodge and water park.

Have a Good Time and Laugh at Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

Rick Bronson's House of Comedy is where Minnesotans go for laughs.

Rick Bronson's House of Comedy, located inside Mall of America, continues his constant quest for comedic perfection. It'ss recognized as one of the top comedy venues worldwide.

It offers plenty of laughs, delicious cuisine, and alcoholic beverages when you're ready for some adult entertainment and humor.

You can reserve the club for events and even rent a private space for business gatherings.

In addition, it frequently runs fantastic concerts, with performers like Jordan Rock, Noah Gardenswartz, and Chris Maddock.

You can also get a chance to special programs from renowned comedians all year round.

Indulge Yourself With Arts at The Bloomington Center for the Arts

View of Bloomington Center for the Arts
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The Bloomington Center for the Arts occupies the north end of Bloomington Civic Plaza.

Eight resident art organizations, the city, and the community utilize the space for events, private rentals, and arts-related activities.

Artistry Theater and Visual Arts, one of the plaza's many occupants, is devoted to furthering artistic quality for the locale. The company is a nonprofit theater and visual arts production company.

The group builds audiences by working with the most brilliant artists in the region and supporting local and emerging artists.

The plaza is always hosting excellent plays and visual arts performances like Naomi Hart's A Common Threat.

If you're looking for more hands-on experience, the company also provides art lessons for adults and kids!

Have Fun and Score a Strike at AMF Southtown Lanes

How about a game of traditional bowling? You and your family can visit AMF Southtown Lanes for a memorable evening of bowling fun.

Consider joining a league and playing against other serious bowlers if you want to improve your game to the next level.

AMF Southtown Lanes offers weekly promotions and lets you reserve space for events and parties.

Stop by the arcade for some old-fashioned fun and games if you get tired of bowling.

Do you want to play some pool? No issue. Come to AMF Southtown Lanes and shoot some pool!

Enjoy Some Festivities at The Fair on 4

The Fair on 4 is a great way to experience summertime fun all year long, no matter what season it actually is.

Come to The Fair on 4 for all your favorite traditional fair dishes like hand-dipped corn dogs and cheese curds, as well as beer, cocktails, gourmet pizza, and more!

Besides the delicious food, there's plenty to do at the Fair on 4.

You can have hours of fun in the arcade, or if you're feeling a little more adventurous, try your hand at go-karts and axe throwing.

The space is also available for large-scale group gatherings.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Aside from the places listed above, why not try the other areas less than 30 minutes from Bloomington?

Here are the other things you can do near the city:

Shop at The Twin Cities Premium Outlets

Front view of Twin Cities Premium Outlets
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The Twin Cities Premium Outlets is just a 30-minute drive away from Bloomington.

Near the crossroads of Highway 13 and Highway 77 in Eagan, Minnesota, Twin Cities Premium Outlets occupies around 409,000 square feet of premium retail space with over 80 retailers.

Customers can save up to 65% at several top retailers of clothing, shoes, household items, and more. Also, keep in mind that there is no sales tax on apparel or footwear!

Front view of Twin Cities Premium Outlets
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Twin Cities Premium Outlets has covered pathways so you can enjoy outdoor shopping all year round.

Other features include a welcoming two-sided fireplace and a central dining pavilion with indoor and outdoor seating options.

The outlet mall has free wifi, wheelchair and stroller rentals, and a full-service information desk where you can buy gift cards.

Visit and Explore Fort Snelling State Park

View of Fort Snelling State Park
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This place is only 23 minutes away from Bloomington.

Fort Snelling State Park, averaging more than 400,000 visitors annually, is one of Minnesota's most popular tourist destinations.

And it couldn't be better situated near Historic Fort Snelling and the Twin Cities International Airport.

View of Fort Snelling State Park
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This sizable state park was opened in 1962 and has helped preserve open space and wildlife in the densely crowded metropolitan area.

The park is conveniently located near the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and seven significant paved bike trails make it easy to get there from nearby cities and suburbs.

The park is home to a wealth of wildlife and offers plenty of hiking routes that take visitors away from the more popular areas.

Final Thoughts

Bloomington, Minnesota, is one of the most incredible places to visit in the state, with its vast array of indoor and outdoor activities.

The city has many hidden gems waiting to be discovered on top of the 15 best things to do in Bloomington on this list.

When you go to Bloomington, remember to take your time to unwind, recharge, and feel the atmosphere that will make you forget about the hectic city life.

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