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December trip

Seminole, Florida
Level Contributor
23 posts
2 reviews
December trip

My daughter requested for her birthday to go to Minnesota to see snow and go to the Mall of America (we live in Florida, she's 12 and hasn't seen snow yet!) I need to plan a time when she is out of school and extracurricular things, but not too terribly cold. Thinking Dec 27-30th. Hoping there would be snow but not too horridly cold! We have Hilton Honors and Hyatt Honors so looking at those hotels but doesn't seem like they are right at the Mall of America. Recommendations for hotels? Things to do/see that I should plan for? **also we have gluten allergies so anyone that can suggest places to eat would be amazingly helpful

19 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
225 posts
2 reviews
11. Re: December trip

Depending on how sensitive you are to gluten, my top recommendations for restaurants would be Lyn 65 in Richfield and Peppers and Fries in the Longfellow area in South Minneapolis. Both have dedicated gluten free kitchen areas and fryers, and Lyn 65 has some of the best fried chicken around, and the batter is gluten free! I have friends with celiac, so I know that for some people eating food that was cooked on the same surfaces/in the same fryer as food with gluten is enough to trigger a reaction. Also, we have a gluten free brewery called Burning Bros in St. Paul that's worth checking out. The owner has celiac, so the entire facility is gluten free.

Seminole, Florida
Level Contributor
23 posts
2 reviews
12. Re: December trip

Thank you all so much! We've been distracted with the kids events these last few weeks but just were able to purchase the plane tickets Tuesday! I will be able to spend time this weekend looking into all of your suggestions!

Seminole, Florida
Level Contributor
23 posts
2 reviews
13. Re: December trip

I hadn't considered staying downtown, but also wasn't aware of a train being available. What are your thoughts on not renting a car, but still staying downtown? Will we be able to take the train to MOA? I honestly knew nothing about the city until I read your feedback and just had in my head we needed to be by MOA!

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
878 posts
16 reviews
14. Re: December trip

The lightrail is very limited, but depending on what you plan to do while you are here it might be fine. If you only want to spend time in the downtown area & at MOA, you should be OK. If you want to do more exploring, then you'll need to rent a car.

The "Blue" line basically runs north-south. From MOA to the Airport to Downtown Minneapolis. The "Green" Line is sort of east-west, from downtown Minneapolis to downtown St Paul. https://www.metrotransit.org/metro-system

Seminole, Florida
Level Contributor
23 posts
2 reviews
15. Re: December trip

I know MOA is going to be at least a full day for her, maybe more. I think going out somewhere she can play in the snow (the tubing at Buck Hill sounds like a good option for her), and trying a few of the restaurants for dinner are the main outings, ( I think?? you guys opened my eyes to many different options!) We do like being active, however, the Floridians we are I'm not sure about how much outdoors is realistic. Obviously weather will be the determining factor, I'd love to think we could do a lot of walking around*** Im not sure what to pack to allow for playing in the snow that won't take up too much in the suitcases.

Is it smarter to stay near MOA and take an uber to leave that area? Or is Downtown a better place to stay?I'll look at the metro routes and fees, too.

(Yes! I have a hard time with decisions sometimes!!)

My plan is to give her a binder on her bday (Nov 15) with as many of the activity options that have been mentioned printed off for her to scan and make decisions for activities, but I'm hoping to book the hotel before that if I can.

Level Contributor
88 posts
11 reviews
16. Re: December trip

For just playing in the snow, you'll need a hat that covers the ears. A hood to pull over the hat is good if there's wind. Wear mittens instead of gloves because your fingers keep each other warm. Obviously a winter coat. You'll also need snow pants and snow boots. If the snow is deep, taller boots are better. Snow gets in the top of the short ones.

If you want to ski, the guys in our family who ski wear googles and helmets. Scarves aren't allowed because of the potential for them getting caught on chairlifts and tow ropes and causing choking.

Unfortunately, winter gear does take up a lot of room in a suitcase. There's a Walmart on American Blvd. not far from the MOA where you could buy cheap snow pants after you arrive.

As far as where to stay, if you go to the Minnesota forum (this is Bloomington), there's a Top Question in the upper right corner about staying downtown vs. by the MOA. You need to be on the full (not mobile) site to view this. Pay attention to the comments under the Top Question, too.

I grew up in MN and currently live in an adjacent state. I travel to Minneapolis frequently with and without kids. My two cents is that if you're a group of adults wanting some nightlife and excitement, stay downtown. The suburbs of Bloomington and Eagan are good for people with kids. Here are some things to consider:

-Are you going to rent a car? If not, stay downtown near the light rail or in a hotel attached to or across the street from the MOA. Make sure the hotel has an airport shuttle and that they'll work with your flight times.

-Are you comfortable driving in the snow?

-Downtown hotels have parking garages and it costs money to park. Most don't have free breakfasts. Are these things a big deal? On the other hand, would you use the free breakfasts at many suburban hotel chains if you have a wheat allergy or have celiac disease?

-If you stay downtown and want to ride to the suburbs to play in the snow, are you okay with wearing or carrying your winter gear on the train and then on a bus? What about a lot of shopping bags?

Edited: 05 November 2018, 06:08
Seminole, Florida
Level Contributor
23 posts
2 reviews
17. Re: December trip

Buying the clothes there is brilliant, we have coats from a trip to the mountains last winter, pants should be easy enough to get there but im not sure what kind of snow boots to look for. I think the snow tubing will be the only time we will need them so Ive got to balance cost and comfort (don't want to be miserable). Ive decided to go with staying downtown Minneapolis, currently debating between the Hyatt Place and the Hilton's Hampton inn. Theres a small price difference but the Hyatt seems closer to the metro and a little nicer for the small $ difference. Anyone have thoughts on this? (We need to keep it a Hyatt or Hilton hotel because of traveling points). And thank you again, you've all been incredibly helpful!

18. Re: December trip

Radisson Blue Hotel is near mall of america is connected

Apple Valley...
Level Contributor
576 posts
1 review
19. Re: December trip

I'd not stay downtown. The light rail isn't the most comfortable of things in the winter--homeless folks tend to use it at night to stay warm. Getting from downtown Minneapolis to the MOA is a pain, given that the main interstate freeway is under a lot of construction. If seeing/playing in snow is the goal, downtown is a bad choice. There's really not many places to see or play in snow there.

I live in a suburb of Minneapolis, and avoid going downtown whenever possible. It's not a place with a great many of activities for children.

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