Best Mall - 2011
Sure, we're well aware of that tourist-drawing behemoth out in Bloomington. But after nearly two decades, it's hard not to appreciate the MOA's predecessors, the shopping centers that have not only survived but thrived and expanded since the colossal megalith opened its doors back in '92. Rosedale is the old-school shopping mall retrofitted for modern times, opening back in 1969 and weathering the fall of Donaldson's, Montgomery Ward, and Carson Pirie Scott while remaining a major shopping destination. Sure, there's the requisite Spencer's Gifts and Forever 21, but Rosedale also features some longstanding local family businesses and a restaurant selection, including Green Mill and Flame, that transcend the average food court. And while its 2006 renovation updated its profile—out with a featureless, windowless big-box anchor; in with the deluxe movie theater and Main Street-style retail facades—there's enough of Rosedale's vintage character left to fire up the nostalgia circuits of a couple of generations' worth of former teenagers. Best of all, it's close enough to St. Paul's urban core that it doesn't have the detached, middle-of-nowhere isolation that leaves most other suburban shopping centers feeling like satellite outposts. Does it have an aquarium and a roller coaster? No. It's just the ideal mall for people who want to shop, eat, and catch a movie without getting overwhelmed by the scale of it all.