It only took a few years living in Wisconsin for me to realize just how lucky we are in the Twin Cities when it comes to retail centers.

Not only do we enjoy tax-free shopping, but we have a plethora of options when it comes to shopping malls. From the swanky to the convenient, Minnesota retail centers truly have every shopper covered. Whether you’re looking for a specific item or perhaps just a way to kill time on a rainy day, the malls in our backyard provide the perfect entertainment.

And yes, I’m sure there are mall snobs out there that pooh-pooh the Midwest scene, but truth be told, I’ve never been one for designer labels and hoity-toity sales associates. Perhaps that’s my paycheck talking but I find there’s everything and more that I need at our good ol’ commercial retail centers.

Growing up as a teenage girl in the Twin Cities, I can safely say I’ve visited my share of malls in the area. (Though I’m ashamed to admit it, I’ve probably even visited multiple malls in the same day.)

From my many experiences — from searching for the perfect prom dress to looking for Christmas presents for loved ones, I’ve listed a few of my favorite “go-to” shopping centers in the metro. I’m sure there are a few I’ve missed, so feel free to list your favorites as well.

Now, without further ado, let’s get shopping!

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Galleria Shops of Distinction

3510 West 70th St.
Edina, MN 55435
(952) 925-4321

If you’re looking for high-end shopping, the Galleria is your one-stop shopping. Here you’ll find everything from BCBG and Coach to Crate & Barrel and Tiffany & Co. It’s the place where the Real Housewives of Edina get their latest trends and biggest bling. And no, you don’t have to be a “housewife” to enjoy these shops of distinction, but you may want to consider doing your shopping with a raised pinky.

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Woodbury Lakes

9000 Hudson Road
Woodbury, MN 55125
(651) 251-9500

Woodbury Lakes used to be my final chance for tax-free shopping before heading back into the shopless land of Wisconsin. Now, it’s just a great excuse to get out to Woodbury and enjoy the indoor/outdoor options off Interstate 94. With a great selection of shops seen from the major highway, it’s hard to drive past this shopping haven without stopping.

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Rosedale Center

10 Rosedale Center
Roseville, MN 55113
(651) 633-0872

Here’s a little fun fact: I earned my summer salary by putting in countless hours at the Gap, GapKids and yes, even BabyGap at Rosedale Mall. And since that time, I can proudly say that the mall continues to expand and develop, giving the northern suburbs access to great shopping without the hassle of driving across town. They’ve got just about everything a shopper would need — plus, attention: tweenie boppers — they’ll be adding a Forever 21 next spring.

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Ridgedale Center

12401 Wayzata Blvd.
Minnetonka, MN 55305
(952) 541-4864

Ridgedale has become my go-to when I’m combining my two loves in life — shopping and eating. Housing the second location of one of my favorite sushi spots — Origami — this mall always seems to have just what I’m looking for. There’s a gorgeous water fountain placed in the center of the mall and the stores seem to be continually updated with the trendiest decor.

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Nicollet Mall

Nicollet Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Ask anyone who works downtown about Nicollet Mall shopping and they’ll likely tell you a story about going on their lunch break and coming back with bags of goodies. The area knows this “lunch break” fact well, and definitely plays it to their advantage. Besides the iconic Macy’s, there’s Banana Republic, Gap and the selection of stores within Gaviidae Common. You’d be surprised how quickly an hour on lunch flies by.

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The Shoppes At Arbor Lakes

12459 Elm Creek Blvd.
Maple Grove, MN 55369
(763) 424-0504

It wasn’t that long ago when there really wasn’t much in Maple Grove. Then all of a sudden, it exploded into a variety of shops, restaurants and all-around goodness. The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes is definitely a big part of this explosion — and it seems to add another store or two every time I visit. The shopping scene here is almost straight out of a movie — where the shops are as trendy on the outside as they are on the inside.

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Maplewood Mall

3001 White Bear Ave N.
Suite 1072
St. Paul, MN 55109
(651) 770-5020

I’m not going to lie. When I was in high school, Maplewood Mall was kind of considered “g” to the “-hetto.” But there’s been some serious change in the past few years and when I revisited the mall not too long ago, I barely recognized it. For starters the outside of the mall got a major facelift. The inside also received some much needed makeovers, with updated and new stores around every corner. Plus, you gotta love a mall with a working carousel as a centerpiece.

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Southdale Mall

10 Southdale Center
Edina, MN 55435
(952) 925-7874

I always liked to joke to my Edina-native boyfriend that Southdale Mall was Home of the Cake Eaters. (“Mighty Ducks,” anyone?) But I can honestly say, this is an excellent mall with a great selection. Plus, I love the two-story H&M and access to two of my favorite chains — P.F. Chang’s and The Cheesecake Factory. Delish.

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Albertville Premium Outlet Center

6415 Labeaux Ave. NE
Albertville, MN 55301
(763) 497-1911

If you have a free afternoon, I highly suggest hitting up the Albertville Premium Outlets. They’re fantastic. And yes, you need the full afternoon. It’s not just a cluster of outlet stores, there are 100 stores with outlet-style prices here. And in this economy, who can pass that up? Be sure to wear comfy shoes, though — 100 stores is a bit of a trek. But hey, cardio and shopping? Sign me up.

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Mall Of America

60 East Broadway
Bloomington, MN
(952) 883-8800

Typically I’m the kind of shopper that likes to avoid crowds, so on a Saturday afternoon you won’t find me at MOA. But that’s hardly a complaint — it’s simply too popular. The mall has everything you could possibly imagine — and in some cases, stores you couldn’t even dream of. And you can’t deny the convenience of everything under one roof. Just when you thought you shopped everywhere, they add something new. It’s not called the Mall of America for nothing.

Honorable Mentions:

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Eden Prairie Center

8251 Flying Cloud Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
(952) 941-7650

If this were an “11 of the best” list, Eden Prairie would have been in the mix. The only reason they fall to the coveted honorable mention spot is because, well, I just don’t get out to Eden Prairie that much. However, a few of our awesome viewers listed EP as their No. 1 shopping central — some stating the play area and food court are tops. And I always love a mall with an attached Target.

-Sara Boyd is a Web Producer at

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