BEST MALL - 2010
Mall of America
We're well aware that for most urban Minnesotans, it's cool to hate on the Mall of America. It's a four-million-square-foot behemoth of rampant consumerism, our country's ultimate shrine to the evils of capitalism, a 500-store temple where the unwashed masses pay homage to the almighty dollar. But MoA haters conveniently ignore one crucial truth: This is exactly what a mall should be. Not only does the Death Mall feature pretty much every big-name store you could want, all in one place, but it has food offerings ranging from grungy street fare to high-class dining experiences. With its newly rebranded Nickelodeon indoor theme park, there's a place to distract the kids while you spend your last paycheck. The light rail stops in the basement, and various bus lines converge on the mall, so even the car-free can't be denied the spending frenzy. It's huge, crass, wasteful, and ridiculous. But it also represents the culmination of American culture—simultaneously its zenith and nadir. And that, folks, makes it a great mall.