Tag Archives: Mall of America

The Mall of America (MOA), located in the east side of Bloomington, is just one of the many travel treasures to explore by bike, when visiting.

Exploring the east side of Bloomington by bicycle for hidden treasures

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

When exploring Bloomington, the Mall of America (MOA) is just one of many travel treasures to visit. Along with MOA, venturing out on a bike can make it easy to see more south metro attractions. And, with designated bike routes and commuter paths along the area streets, it’s easy to spend several days seeing the sights here.

Bicycling to MOA from American Boulevard.

Bicycling to MOA from American Boulevard.

When visiting Bloomington, the MOA makes an excellent multi-modal gathering point to see all the treasures here. Starting at the Mall’s north parking lot and pedaling east, it is less than a mile and a half to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Center. Along the way, you can stop by the Northwest Airlines Museum to learn more about Minnesota’s aeronautical history.

If you like watching big planes land and take off, it is fun to take the northern bike route to the viewing station at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. To the west, less than five miles, saddle up the family for a day’s adventure at the Works Museum. Along the Minnesota River Valley, mountain bikers and hikers alike will find hours of fun to the south.

Add to the fun, exploring Bloomington by bike.

One of many bike parking racks at the Mall of America.

On the north side, one of many bike parking racks at the Mall of America.

A revolutionary place for shopping, entertainment, and attractions, John Emerson says it best, “I like using the MOA as a meeting point when biking around the south metro. It’s nice, and I can come a little early or stay after a bike ride, get some shopping in, or grab a bite to eat. Plus, getting to and from the Mall is easy with the bike-friendly sidewalks, access to light-rail, and ample bike parking.” We agree with John, and the Mall makes the perfect multi-modal commuting hub to explore Bloomington on two wheels.

When exploring Bloomington, the sidewalk/trail running parallel to American Boulevard works well as a bike commuter route along the 494 Freeway strip from the Mall of America’s north parking lot. Once at the Mall, you will find bike racks near most of the main entrances and lockers inside for changing clothes.

If you are coming in by Metro Transit (bus or light rail), use the lower ramp on the east side. There are plenty of bike racks next to the bus station to secure your bicycle. For more information, see MOA services and map.

Northwest Airlines History Center Museum

Riding east from the Mall, a tour rider can stop at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where the NW Airline Museum is located.

One of the displays at the Northwest Airline Museum.

One of the many displays at the Northwest Airline Museum.

Located one mile east of the Mall of America, the Northwest Airlines History Center Museum is worth checking out. Here you will find Minnesota’s hometown airline of the past. Visiting, you will see over 4,000 aviation artifacts from 1926 to 1998 to sift through. Plus, a gallery of photos hanging in the hotel hallways to enjoy as you make your way to the museum. It is easy to spend a couple of hours looking at the various collection here!

What you may discover at this home-town airline attraction

According to the Minnesota Historical Society’s review, you will find records on air routes, aircraft accidents, hijackings, and more. Also, see information and video on Northwest’s involvement in World War II. In the airlines, correspondents section discover communications with aircraft manufacturers and aviators like Amelia Earhart. There are also newspaper accounts of the 1989 takeover of NWA Inc. and the company’s brush with bankruptcy.

To find the museum in the Crowne Plaza Aire MSP Hotel at Two Appletree Square, take the elevator in the lobby to the 3rd Floor. As you make your way to the museum, enjoy the photos along the hallway. If the weather isn’t conducive to bicycling to the museum, consider using the light rail from the Mall of America. The Hotel is across the street from the 34th Avenue Blue-line station.

When Exploring Bloomington take in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

The castle-like presence of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center.

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center are overlooking the river and wetlands below.

A short distance east of the airline museum and across from the Hilton Hotel is the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center. Its grand stature overlooking the river valley below offers a castle-like presence. Inside it feels more significant than the average visitors center, and it is. It has everything, including information on the wildlife that calls the refuge home. In the theater and interactive exhibits, kids of all ages can learn about the wonders of the natural world. Several large murals are made out of tiny pictures of animals, and can also be found inside.

Step outdoors, right behind the center; you will find a stone observation deck with two telescopes. Here it’s easy to focus on flora and fauna across the river valley while relaxing in the center’s natural surroundings.

When exploring Bloomington, take a walk and get close to nature.

If you are up for a walk and want to get close to nature, take a hike on one of the well-managed trails in the refuge. Walk at your own pace and stop periodically to reflect on the serenity of nature. As you explore some of Minnesota’s environment, you will find sitting areas scattered along the path to pause and reflect.

Long Meadow Trail

At some point, if you walk far enough, you’ll connect to a dirt road known as the Long Meadow Trail. This multi-use trail takes you up the river valley to the old Cedar Bridge and beyond. Along the path, you will pass by fields that grow long grass; trees that now and then shelter you from the blazing sun; waterfowl floating in the wetlands; and a bridge that takes you over the Minnesota River. If you’re lucky enough, you might even pass by an artist seeking inspiration from what’s around them and putting it on canvas.

Maps and Q-sheet make it easy to find these attractions from the MOA

With free admission to get into these two attractions, commuting by bike can add to the fun and memories. First, look at the map on pages 40-41 of the 2022 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then copy the turn-by-turn Q-sheet for your next bike adventure to the NWA Museum and Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Center.

Exploring Bloomington from the MOA to the MN Valley Wildlife Center                                     0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot
0.2 Right on East American Boulevard (sidewalk trail or street)
1.1 Cross 34th Ave. NW Airlines Museum/Crown Plaza Hotel (SE corner)
1.3 Entrance to the MN Valley Wildlife Center (across from the Hilton Hotel)

The Works Museum can engineer fun for the whole family

Plenty of bike parking is available at the Works Museum.

Plenty of bike parking is available at the Works Museum.

A five-mile bike ride west of the Mall of America in Bloomington brings you and your kids to the Works Museum for some mind-expanding fun.

In the interactive Experience Gallery, your family can experiment with simple machines, structures, and shapes with sensors, imaging, and optical technologies. Your kids can touch, try and build as they explore how things work.

The Workshop in the museum is a new creative space for families. This space is perfect for the youngsters in your home. Especially for those who like to sew, build things, or create art — the ideal place for a bonding exercise with your child. The art department classes here will help you and your child produce a stop-motion animation video together. Another level allows you to create your own LED sign, and there are many more classes to select.

The Works Museum is located at 9740 Grand Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55420.

Maps and Q-sheet make it easy to find the Works Museum from the MOA

Getting to the Works Museum by bicycle can add to the fun and memories when riding a bike there. First, look at the Bloomington bike map in the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then copy the turn-by-turn Q-sheet for your next bike adventure to this museum.

Please note – the following route offers a combination of roads with parallel bike/walk paths and quiet neighborhood streets.

From the MOA north side entrance to the Works Museum!   

0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot
0.2 Right on East American Boulevard (sidewalk trail or street)
0.9 Left on 12th Avenue
1.2 Right on 82nd Street
1.4 West onto trail across Smith Park
1.6 Left (south) Park Street
2.1 Right on 86th Street
2.5 Left on 3rd Avenue
3.0 Right 90th Street (Bloomington Aquatic Center)
3.2 Left on Nicollet
3.6 Right on 93rd Street
3.7 Left on Blaisdell Avenue
3.9 Right on 95th Street
4.2 Left on Grand Avenue
4.5 Cross 97 ½ Street into the Works Museum

Watch the planes at the MSP Aircraft Viewing Station.

The MSP Observation Area for those wishing to watch the big planes land and take off.

The MSP Observation Area for those wishing to watch the big planes land and take off.

Another fun opportunity to ride your bike from the Mall of America includes a visit to the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport Viewing Station.

From the MOA to the MSP Aircraft Viewing Station! 

0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot
0.2 Right on East American Boulevard (sidewalk trail or street)
0.9 Right on 12th Avenue
1.6 Right on Diagonal Boulevard
1.9 Left on Bloomington Avenue
2.4 Right on 86th Street
2.6 Left on Old Cedar Avenue
2.9 Right 66th Street across Cedar Avenue
3.0 Left (south) Longfellow Avenue
3.5 Left Cargo Road
4.0 MSP Aircraft Viewing Station

Check here for more fun activities, attractions, and hotels to bike to when staying or visiting Bloomington, MN.

Fun riding through the Edina Promenade connecting the Nine Mile Creek Trail east and west.

Edina makes the perfect beginning on the new Nine Mile Creek Trail

By Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

From the Promenade in Edina, MN, the new paved trail system along the Nine Mile Creek watershed is fun to explore. Pedaling west, you can safely ride over two freeways and connect to another regional trail hub in Hopkins. Along the way, this new corridor utilizes several wooden trail structures to straddle the bed of the creek giving you a birds-eye view of nature. Pedaling east out of Edina the trail takes you to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Either way, it is a fun place to ride for the entire family. You can also connect to the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes trail system for a loop of the south metro.

Riding through Edina on the wide wooden trail structure.

Rider and walkers alike enjoy the wide wooden trail structures that follow Nine Mile Creek through Edina.

This 15 mile, Three Rivers Park District Trail is a 10-foot wide asphalt path with several wooden bridge sections that welcome walkers, bikers and others using non-motorized transports.

The Nine Mile Creek Trail west from Edina

Venturing west out of Edina there are so many places to explore with this new section of the trail over the Nine Mile Creek watershed. With fall and winter soon approaching get your bike, skis or walking shoes and head outside! After leaving the Edina Promenade, the trail wanders through Fred Richards Park.

Riding through Fred Richards Park, in Edina, MN.

Riding through Fred Richards Park, a part of Nine Mile Creek, in Edina, MN.

Once a par 3 golf course this park is now an urban green space welcoming you to the next several miles of your trail adventure. At the trail bridge over Highway 100, the actual Nine Mile Creek comes into view. Now the trail meanders above its namesake creek, on the elevated wood bridges above the wetlands and woodlands, in Edina. Along the way, you may want to stop and enjoy the wildlife that makes their home here along the creek. From Edina to Hopkins, by trail, it’s about eight miles with 1.7 miles of wooden boardwalk structures along the way.

Rolling through Edina on Nine Mile Creek Trail is fun to explore. If it’s an out and back bike adventure, add another mile on the Cedar Lakes Trail (east) for a treat. Stopping at the Hopkins Depot for an ice cream cone or cup of coffee is the perfect treat before heading back.

The Nine Mile Creek Trail east of Edina

Sometimes, the journey is the reward, that is definitely the case here. It is approximately seven miles from the Edina Promenade to the Minnesota River. On this section, the trail passes through the city Richfield and connects to the north/south Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail.

The trail makes it easy to stay off busy streets.

The trail makes it easy to stay off busy streets.

Just north of the Mall of America, both cyclists and pedestrians can safely cross the 494 Freeway and follow the trail south, through Bloomington, to the Minnesota River. To the north, the Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail users can easily reach Lake Nokomis and the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway in Minneapolis. Other points of interest in this area include the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Fort Snelling State Park.

Map, parking, bike rental and trail access

For your next bike adventure here use the Explore Edina Bike/Hike Map, featuring the new Nine-Mile Creek Trail. On this map, you will notice several trail access points. A favorite gathering point for me is parking near one of the retail centers, north or south of the Edina Promenade. Here you will find ample parking and several restaurant options for that appetite you are sure to acquire on your ride. For a place to stay when visiting Edina check their lodging options here.

Need a rental bike?

Edina residents and visitors now have access to a new, dockless bike service. You simply download the Lime app. All rental bikes are GPS and 3G-enabled, making it simple for riders to find, unlock and pick up a nearby bicycle using the iOS or Android smartphone app.

The NineMile Creek Trail through Edina works well for all ages.

The Nine Mile Creek Trail through Edina works well for all ages.

With many bike-friendly street routes, Edina is recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community.