BEST MALL Minneapolis 2002 - HarMar Mall
The name itself--sounding like some kind of punch line to a corny joke--is legendary, helped in no small part by the emergence of local musician/mysterian Har Mar Superstar. Then there is the edifice, an old relic from 1961, in dire need of a face-lift but somehow never getting one. But Har Mar never concedes to its upscale competitors. It's working-class, and proud of it. Flanked by Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, and anchored by an enormous Barnes & Noble in the middle, Har Mar is filled with middlebrow stores that will never allow you to spend too much money--which helps a shopper feel savvy in these sour economic times. The addition of a Cub Foods last summer has bolstered business at the mall, which has long leaned on the 11 screens offered by the Har Mar movie theaters, and in the summer there's a farmers' market every Tuesday morning. In other words, this is a serviceable mall without the pomp and circumstance of the dreaded Mall of America. In fact, wander the halls for a few hours and Har Mar starts to feel like an old childhood friend. And that's no joke.