BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH - 2000
Mall of America
For the professional and the serious dilettante, there's no place like the Mall of America to refine the art and science of people-watching. The sheer diversity and quantity of subjects can't be beat; add the variety of potential approaches and locations (Preteen social initiation at Camp Snoopy? Weekend-warrior training in East Market? The mating dance around Michelob Gulch?), and you have the makings of a whole American Studies Department's worth of dissertations. Only one question remains: Where to begin? How to observe the rituals and customs of Mall Nation without attracting the fickle subjects' suspicion? The Transit Depot, of course--if you can find it, tucked away in the mall's bowels near the Underwater World entrance. Grab an ice cream from the vending machine (!), and park yourself on one of the ample black benches. Every few minutes the buses disgorge a new batch of subjects. Learn to tell novices from veterans by shrillness of squeal and frequency of giggle. Graduate level: Spot Iowans.