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Mall of AmericaThe Mall of America is shopping central -- and if you're looking to buy something in Minneapolis it's a safe bet that the Mall of America has it in stock. Need another reason to shop? There's no sales tax on clothes and shoes in Minnesota. But it's important to note that there are other worthwhile, and a little more unique, shopping spots in the City of Lakes. If you're not a fan of mega malls, you'd do well to investigate the shopping opportunities in downtown Minneapolis and its surrounding neighborhoods.

The Mall You Never Have to Leave

Minneapolis may have the world's largest mall -- but it also boasts the world's oldest indoor mall, the Southdale Center Mall. The Southdale Center opened in 1956 and houses more than 120 retail stores and a 16-screen movie theater.

If you're strolling around downtown Minneapolis, you may feel the urge to snap a photo with the Mary Tyler Moore statue in front of Macy's on Nicollet Mall. The statue stands on the exact spot where Mary tossed her hat in the air during the show's opening sequence. (Traveling alone? Ask a local to take your picture. They're used to it.) After your photo op is complete, investigate the myriad spots to shop on Nicollet Mall, an 11-block pedestrian thoroughfare brimming with clubs, restaurants, shops and sidewalk cafes, plus the aforementioned Macy's and a two-story Target. During warm-weather months, the Minneapolis Farmer's Market opens on Thursdays on Nicollet Mall, where vendors hawk everything from fresh produce to crafts.

Another fantastic market is the Mill City Farmer's Market, which is generally open on Saturdays from May through October. You'll find this market in the Chicago Mall near the Guthrie Theater in the Riverfront District. Vendors include local farmers, artisan chocolate makers, bakers, flower sellers and more.

Twenty-five blocks of boutiques and charming coffeehouses line Grand Avenue in Saint Paul. The Grand Avenue promises a "small-town feel" -- expect lots of locally owned businesses and one-of-a-kind specialty shops. Events like live music, sidewalk sales and summer festivals regularly take place on Grand Avenue. For an updated listing, visit GrandAve.com/events.

The Midtown Global Market in South Minneapolis is the prime place to find interesting and unusual arts and crafts from around the world. Vendors sell produce, handmade imported jewelry, fresh produce and more from tables and stands set up within the market. More than a dozen restaurants and bars are located in the market, so come hungry.

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