Best known as the home of the Mall of America, the largest indoor mall in the U.S., Bloomington stretches out along the north bank of the Minnesota River 10 miles south of downtown Minneapolis and immediately adjacent to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Despite a population of just 83,000, Bloomington has more hotels than the Minneapolis and St. Paul downtowns combined. The 30 meeting hotel venues in Bloomington strike a balance between the amenities of big-city properties and the convenience and affordability of the suburbs. The Mall of America's 520 retail stores, 50 restaurants and entertainment venues are a stone's throw away, and there are both free shuttles to the mall and airport and free hotel parking.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport borders the northeast side of Bloomington just across the highway from the Mall of America. It's the fifteenth busiest airport in the U.S., with 26 passenger airlines serving more than 130 non-stop destinations (Chicago, Denver, and Atlanta are the top three). Delta's third-largest hub, after Atlanta and Detroit, is here. And Metro Transit's light-rail Hiawatha Line runs roughly north-south between the Mall of America and downtown Minneapolis, passing both airport terminals along the way. A ride from the mall to Terminal 1 (Lindbergh) takes twelve minutes.
Friendliness—to visitors, to families, to businesses—is the order of the day. Meeting venues in Bloomington are considered excellent value, and the region at large has a well-known and well-deserved reputation for generous hospitality, Bloomington features at least three of the most popular kid-friendly destinations in the area: Nickelodeon Universe, SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium and the Water Park of America.
Two major convention centers, one in St. Paul and one in Minneapolis, are 10 miles away. The Saint Paul RiverCentre has 162,00 square feet of meeting space and connects to the Xcel Energy Center (which ESPN has named the best sports venue in the U.S.) and the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium, which combine to add another 60,000 square feet of function space. The warm red brick of the modern-looking Minneapolis Convention Center contains 475,000 square feet of column-free event space and 87 meeting rooms (90,000 square feet) in the Loring Park neighborhood of downtown Minneapolis, a block from the Minnesota Orchestra and four blocks from Loring Park.
The Mall of America (MOA) is a community in its own right, a destination not just for residents of Bloomington or of the Twin Cities region but for travelers from all over the country and even the world. Mall is a misnomer, really. MOA is the largest shopping center in the U.S. More than 40 million people visit every year—more visitors than all other attractions in the state combined. They come to shop and eat, surely, but also to gaze at sharks, ride roller coasters, meet SpongeBob SquarePants, pilot flight simulators, and generally take in the spectacle of it all. There is no tax on clothing or shoes at MOA.
On the outside, a vibrant business community complements the draw of the mall. Toro, the Donaldson Company, Ceridian and HealthPartners all have headquarters in Bloomington, and there are more jobs per capita here than in either Minneapolis or St. Paul. And, as the name would imply, Bloomington places a premium on parks and green space—8,000 acres' worth—so workers and visitors alike have plenty of places to stretch their legs at the end of the day.