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Arts, culture and a big, giant mall full of fun in Bloomington

Bloomington has a little bit of everything for everyone to enjoy

Bloomington, MN –Alive with energy and rich in diversity, Bloomington is a dynamic mix of first-class attractions, vibrant restaurants and kid-friendly hotels. Whether you’re interested in an exhilarating walk in a wildlife refuge or an energizing day filled with attraction hopping, they’ve got you covered! Bloomington is home to the shopping mecca Mall of America┬«, adjacent to the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and minutes from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Experience performing and visual arts at Bloomington Center for the Arts with two theaters, two art galleries and the Rose Schneider gift shop featuring items created by regional artists. On Saturdays during the summer and fall, Bloomington Civic Plaza is home to the Farmers Market with fresh produce, breads, nuts, cut flowers, live music and more.

Bloomington’s most surprising attraction is the hiking and nature trails of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors should stop into the newly remodeled Welcome Center with static displays, large window for bird watching and river valley maps. Its 14,000 acres of protected habitat make it the nation’s largest national wildlife refuge located within a major metropolitan area. Stroll along the winding paths, cross-country ski, bike, hike, watch migrating birds or just relax on one of the many benches in the area and enjoy the pristine wilderness. For an exhilarating afternoon outside, take the Hillside Trail, located just east of the Welcome Center, linking to 15 + miles of trails that wind around Long Meadow Lake to river flats and even across the river in Bloomington, where visitors can get prime wildlife viewing.

Bloomington’s hidden gem is Normandale Community College's Japanese Garden. A two-acre oasis on the college campus, this garden is filled with beauty and serenity and the ideal place for contemplation and renewal of the spirit. The garden is open year-round at no charge. Visitors will find lanterns, a waterfall, and koi in the pond -- elements that are all common to a Japanese garden. A self-guided tour brochure is available inside the square shelter located in the garden. If you are not able to visit the garden, the online tour describes the landscaping and architectural features at www.normandale.edu/japanesegarden.