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20 of the Best Things To Do In Bloomington Minnesota

Are you looking for ideas for fun things to do in Bloomington, Minnesota? Well, you’re in luck. First of all, Bloomington is home to the world-famous Mall of America, and there are enough things to do at the mall to keep you busy for days.

There are a lot of things to do in Bloomington that are outside of the Mall of America. From cultural experiences such as world-class museums to outdoor adventures, there’s something for people of all ages in Bloomington, Minnesota. Let’s dive in and explore this amazing city.

1. Mall of America

Shopping at the Mall of America is one of the best things to do in Bloomington, Minnesota
Shopping at the Mall of America is one of the best things to do in Bloomington, Minnesota

The Mall of America opened in 1992 after purchasing and developing the former home of the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. Since then, the mall has grown to become a leader in entertainment, retail, and attractions. The Mall of America is one of America’s top tourist destinations.

In addition to world-class shopping, at the Mall of America, you can enjoy more than 400 events every year. These events include celebrity appearances, concerts such as the Holiday Music Festival, and fashion shows. More than 40 million people from all over the world visit the Mall of America every single year.

2. Amazing Mirror Maze

For an adventure like no other at one of the best things to do in Bloomington, take the whole family over to the Amazing Mirror Maze. Here you can try to find your way through confusing but fun mazes full of surprises.

Kids love this attraction, but it’s also a great date night activity for adults. The Amazing Mirror Maze is located inside the Mall of America.

3. Normandale Japanese Garden

 Normandale Japanese Garden in fall
Take a relaxing, peaceful stroll throught the Normandale Japanese Garden

If you’re looking for some zen while visiting Bloomington, you will love the Normandale Japanese Garden. Located on two acres at Normandale Community College, the garden is an oasis that is perfect not just for visiting, but also for weddings and other events.

Even better, you can visit the garden year-round for free except when it’s reserved for special events. A tour brochure for self-guided tours can be found inside the square shelter that’s located right inside the garden. The garden was completed in 1972 and uses the restrained style of flowering plants that are traditionally found in Japan.

4. Artistry Theater and Visual Arts

The Artistry Theater and Visual Arts organization focuses on the pursuit of artistic excellence. The organization engages the area’s most talented artists and helps them develop audiences, as well as fosters open minds and hearts. The organization is a producing theater and visual arts nonprofit organization.

They always have great plays being shown and have exhibits of visual arts like A Common Threat by Naomi Hart. The organization also offers classes for both children and adults in the arts.

5. Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

Have a splashing good time at one of the best things to do in Bloomington by visiting the Great Wolf Lodge. At Great Wolf Lodge, there is tons of stuff to do, but the resort is best known for its legendary indoor water park and video game arcade. While at the Lodge, you can even stay on-site in one of their amazing guest suites.

Besides the arcade and water park, the park also features a ropes course, a climbing wall, and MagiQuest adventure.

6. Vertical Endeavors

If you’re looking for action-packed fun for the entire family, a visit to Bloomington’s Vertical Endeavors is a must. This facility offers cutting-edge climbing action where people of every age and ability can challenge themselves for some great fun and physical activity.

Vertical Endeavors also offers climbing camps for children, where kids can learn how to climb like a pro. You can also do a group activity at Vertical Endeavors, which makes this a great venue for workgroups or birthday parties. Need to learn to climb? No problem. You can take lessons right onsite.

7. Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

When you’re ready for some adult entertainment and laughter, head over to Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy for tons of laughs, plenty of good food, and some cocktails. Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy is located inside the Mall of America and continues Rick’s ongoing pursuit of comedic excellence.

You can book the club for parties, and even rent a private room for meetings and conferences. There are always great shows going on, and feature comedians such as Chris Maddock, Jordan Rock, and Noah Gardenswartz. You can also expect several different special presentations throughout the year. 

8. AMF Southtown Lanes

How does some old-school bowling sound to you? You and your family can head over to AMF Southtown Lanes for a night of bowling fun that you will never forget. If you want to take your bowling game to the next level, consider joining a league and competing with other serious players.

The facility has weekly specials, and you can even book parties and events at AMF Southtown Lanes. Besides bowling, you can also spend some time in a classic arcade that features old-school classics and state-of-the-art video games. Want to play some billiards? No problem. You can do that at AMF Southtown Lanes, too.

9. Old Town Hall History Museum

Next on the list of best things to do in Bloomington, Minnesota is the Old Town Hall Museum. The Old Town Hall Museum is a wooden clapboard building from the 1890s that has been beautifully restored. The building features a cupola that was a unique architectural feature from that area. Inside the museum, you can see an old-time schoolhouse room as well as the old town hall.

Also nearby is the Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, which was first built in 1864. The church features a pump organ that was manufactured between 1882 and 1898 in Chicago.

At the museum, you can view old newspapers from the area, some of which date back to 1928.

10. McLean County Museum of History

The McLean County Museum of History is a great place to visit to learn more about the area where Bloomington is located. The museum traces its beginning back to 1892, which is when the McLean County Historical Society first began. The museum features two rotating galleries and five permanent exhibit galleries.

Now, the museum has more than 20,000 objects, along with more than 15,000 rare books on local genealogy and history. Activities and exhibits include the annual Dia de lose Muertos celebration, Evergreen Cemetary Walk, and The Night the Stars Fell.

11. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Hogback Ridge Ponds Area of Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Hogback Ridge Ponds Area of Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

The Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge has more than 46 miles of trails and two robust visitors centers. Besides viewing wildlife, you can also enjoy hiking, fishing, bicycling, hunting, foraging, bird watching, and more. The refuge also hosts several different nature programs and events every year.

If you’re wanting to learn more about the environment, take advantage of some of the environmental education opportunities. These opportunities are available for youth groups, teachers, schools, and families.

12. The Fair On 4

Get that summer feeling year round at The Fair on 4, one of the best things to do in Bloomington, Minnesota. Everyone loves going to the fair, and when you visit Bloomington, you can enjoy the fair year-round at the Fair on 4. At The Fair on 4, you can enjoy classic fair foods like hand-dipped corn dogs, house battered cheese curds, beer, cocktails, artisan pizza, and more.

But the Fair on 4 isn’t just about good food. You can play for hours in the arcade, or get a little more physical with the go-karts and some high-stakes ax throwing. The Fair on 4 is located in the Mall of America. You can book the facility for large group events, too.

13. The Works Museum

To learn about engineering, there is nothing better than an interactive museum. At The Works Museum in Bloomington, kids of all ages can participate in programs and design challenges that will engage them in technology, engineering, and science in ways that are fun and memorable.

The museum has tons of programs, including summer camp and school break camps. Every year, The Works has a Tech Fest, where kids and families can explore tech and engineering. On Robot Day, an annual event that’s celebrated during National Robotics Week, kids can learn all about what it means to work in robotics.

14. Nickelodeon Universe

If you want a rocking good time for your family, get immersed in the world of Nickelodeon at Nickelodeon Universe. Located inside the Mall of America, Nickelodeon Universe has 27 exciting rides and attractions, including Avatar Airbender, Adventure Bay, Bakyardigans Swing-Along, and more.

In addition to the rides and attractions, the park also has lots of ongoing events as well as seasonal events. Nickelodeon Universe is also a certified autism center, which means their staff is trained in the areas of sensory awareness, emotional awareness, social skills, and motor skills. The park can also accommodate group visits.

15. Richardson Nature Center

The Richardson Nature Center is located within the Hyland Lake Park Reserve. The center serves as a gateway to some of Bloomington’s most stunning natural beauty. Inside the center, you can check out sculptures and colorful clay mosaics by artist Chris Tully while engaging with the center’s natural world.

Also fun to do at the center is get up close with the center’s reptiles, raptors, and amphibians. Nighttime activities are also an option at the center, where you can take a guided walk under the monthly full moon. For kiddos, there is a Young Birders Club that will introduce them to the joys of bird watching.

16. Crayola Experience

Located in the Mall of America, the Crayola Experience is the only place in the entire world where the magic of Crayola Crayons comes to life. At the Crayola Experience, kids of all ages are encouraged to allow their creativity free reign.

At the center, you can color outside the lines and participate in 25-hands-on activities and attractions. At the Crayola Experience, chemistry, color, and technology combine magically to create a colorful and fun-filled adventure for your family’s imagination. Holidays have even more fun events happening at the Crayola Experience.

17. Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium

Explore underwater adventures at one of the best things to do in Bloomington, Minnesota
Explore underwater adventures at one of the best things to do in Bloomington, Minnesota

To visit Minnesota’s largest aquarium, just head right over to Bloomington and go to Sea Life at the Mall of America. Inside, you can go through a 300-foot long underwater tunnel, where you can view rescued sea turtles, giant sharks, and more. You can even enjoy a Pirate Party every October, along with other seasonal events.

Other exhibits include Coral Caves, Brave the Rainforest, Ray Lagoon, and more. Sealife that is found at the facility includes guitar sharks, green sawfish, stingrays, and more. You can also book a behind-the-scenes tour.

18. Northwest Airlines History Center

At the Northwest Airlines History Museum, you can learn all about the history of one of the country’s oldest airlines. The museum is located at the Crowne Plaza Aire MSP Hotel on the third floor. This hotel is near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which is located in Bloomington.

The museum’s mission is to preserve the history of the airline and the impact it has had on the area. You can also enjoy a virtual tour of the museum online. While you’re at the museum, check out the delicious menu at the AiRECraft Grill.

19. Hyland Lake Park Reserve & Play Area

The Hyland Lake Park Reserve is located in the scenic heart of Bloomington. The park offers viewing of a major body of water, breathtaking prairie landscapes, and a huge play area.

Additionally, the park has a ski area, a three-hole disc golf practice area, and even an 18-hole disc golf course.

20. Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center

When you visit the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center, you can discover the legacy of Freemasonry, which has hugely influenced the history of Minnesota and the lives of the people who live there. The museum serves as a working tribute to the contributions and concepts of Freemasonry and provides the public with an elegant and intimate destination for performances, events, and scholarship pursuits.

At the museum, you can tour the exhibits and library, plus see the ornate Masonic Lodge Room. There is a catering kitchen on-site, so you can rent space and book your events there as well.

Numerous Choices of Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Minnesota

There are numerous choices of amazing things to do in Bloomington which poses the question of where to begin. From cultural experiences to tons of shopping and discovering adventures in the great outdoors, Bloomington, Minnesota will meet all of your unique excursion needs.

Once you’ve spend a day or two discovering any of the amazing things to do in Bloomington, let us know what you enjoyed most.