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For many tourists, shopping in the Twin Cities means one thing: the Mall of America. The largest mall in the US, it houses more than 500 stores under one roof, along with an aquarium, amusement park, and numerous restaurants, bars, and theaters. 'The Megamall' is a tourist attraction in itself but offers mostly chain stores with a few exceptions, including Love From Minnesota, which stocks a range of Minnesota souvenirs.

The Twin Cities have a number of other major shopping centres, including Rosedale Centre in Roseville, Gaviidae Common on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, and the upscale Galleria in Edina. Most offer the same varieties of chain stores. There are many other places to shop in Minneapolis and St Paul, however, with unique local flavour.

Minneapolis has several unique shopping districts, include Nicolett Mall, a pedestrian avenue in the downtown area with many upscale shops; the arty and multicultural Uptown district surrounding Lake Street; and the emerging Warehouse District near the iconic Target Centre.

You'll find interesting vintage shops and used bookstores in the University of Minnesota-dominated Dinkytown neighbourhood. St Paul has its own vibrant neighbourhood in Grand Avenue, with dozens of quirky independent boutiques, cafes and markets. Minneapolis and St Paul each have their own bustling Farmers Markets on Saturday mornings, offering fresh produce and flowers alongside local arts and crafts.

Popular souvenirs from Minnesota include fashionable (and locally-made) Minnetonka Moccasins; Prairie Home Companion merchandise and books by Garrison Keillor; and sports memorabilia for the Twins (baseball), Vikings (American football), Timberwolves (basketball), and Wild (hockey). There are good bargains to be had on fashion, as Minnesota does not impose a sales tax on clothing.

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An American expat currently living in South Africa, Anya Klaassen has travelled widely as a musician and writer.

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