Clean lines, contemporary looks, a bit of wimsy, and great bargains greeted MDM at the huge IKEA store across from the Mall of America. Divided into two levels, the size of the store has proven somewhat daunting for first time visitors. MDM recommends making your first visit to the store during the weekdays and off-peak hours since weekends tend to be crowded; otherwise, you may have to leave a trail of crumbs to find your way out.
The top level of the store is the Showroom where you can see a full set-up by room. On this level is a restaurant & café. This is the level to jot down the numbers of the individual pieces you wish to purchase and pick-up on the 1st level below. If you are purchasing items, MDM recommends parking on the upper level, which places the customer at the entry of the 1st level.
IKEA is open daily from 10am-9pm, and the restaurant café from 9:30am-8:00pm. You can get breakfast for 99¢ until 11 a.m. Ikea provides instructions how to shop its’ stores online, so be sure to take a look before your first visit because it will avoid a lot of confusion. IKEA provides wheelchairs, superior to the Mall of America, and has had electric carts, too for its’ customers–although at this writing they were not available. Strollers are also provided, and Ikea has storage lockers to place packages from other stores or coats for a 25¢ fee that is refundable. Bags and shopping carts for keeping track of merchandise are provided, too. All products are written in swedish, but the pricing code will tell you if you can pick-up the item or will have to special order it, additionally each item list its’ dimensions and other valuable information to assist in your decision.
MDM especially liked the 1st level Marketplace that contained throw rugs for $1.99, prints, designer accent lighting, housewares and so much more. A sample of items you can find include stainless kitchenware, lighted shelving, bamboo plants, designer rugs,etc. MDM did not fail in her mission to locate the clearance section. In the left corner of the Marketplace as you are entering, you will find an "As Is" and "50% off" sections that include furniture and other items. Take your time and you can find some real bargains and be sure to ask about shipping and delivery if you are unable to take it with you.
The Swedish Food Market had some great chocolate filled cookies and MDM was able to find a stainless steel cheese slicer/shaver–can be used to shave chocolate as well–for $4.99.
You could spend the entire day at IKEA if you have to, but MDM recommends that if you have the time, take IKEA in stages to appreciate all that it has to offer. Bring your own bag(s) to take your goodies home or pay a nominal 5¢ for each. Worthy of several visits especially if you like finding all those neat design accents and materials that you see on your favorite decorating shows, at bargain prices. Hats off to the Swedes for combining utility and style.