From food to gifts, the MOA has it all to celebrate you


MOA Press Kit

You say it’s your birthday? Why not let the Mall of America shower you with free gifts?

Talk to any non-Minnesotan, and what comes to mind when you mention the Twin Cities? The Mall of America. It is a well-known shopping destination all across the country and a highlight of this cold, quiet state. But while tourists come from all over to see and shop in this mall — whether it’s just for fun or to celebrate a birthday — few people are aware of the fact that you can actually get free food and makeup there.

Yes. You heard that right. Free stuff.

It’s simple really: there are just a few steps to receive free gifts. Just sign up to be a member of the stores that offer birthday rewards, enable email notifications, and the e-mails will roll in close to the date. It could be desserts, pastries, drinks, or makeup. Some stores like Chick-fil-a and Auntie Anne’s give gifts on holidays, too, while Panera gives a free pastry upon signing up.

Personal experience: when I went to the Mall of America for my free-stuff celebration, I mainly ended up collecting sweets like cinnamon rolls, pastries, brownies, cookies, and pretzels from places like Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, Chick-fil-a, Panera, and Dunkin Donuts. Sephora, Bare Minerals, and Ulta gave out mini-sized makeup/skincare products. Auntie Anne’s gave me two coupons but there is a 4-hour wait time in between usage. Chick-fil-a had one coupon for my birthday and one for a national giveaway. Panera gave me a pastry for signing up and one for my birthday, too. I spent hours in the mall and walked out having not paid a single cent.

Do stay aware of the cons and possible complications, though. Don’t plan to register in a store because some places require an account before your birthday month. Since this is all done online, there can always be issues. The stores listed above are only a fraction of the ones that give birthday rewards, but the majority of the places that offer these gifts give small sweets instead of savory meals.

While it might be common knowledge that some places offer free birthday gifts, it is still worth it to make a trip to the MOA. With a mall that big, it’s possible to collect all of the free gifts in one stop. Definitely check out Panera; their pastries are huge and I collected two on the spot for free. As for makeup, Ulta unfortunately was out of gifts but Bare Minerals and Sephora are head to head with quality. Sephora always comes through with three different choices, but Bare Minerals gifted a mini mascara and a really good blush.

What could be more fun than a sample of random makeup for free or a sweet snack? Definitely check it out.

Mall of America: 60 E Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425 (hours available on their website)

Rating: ★★★★