3-Hour Tour: Minneapolis

Leave the airport and live it up during flight delays and layovers

The Mall of America has over 520 stores.

For most travelers, flight delays and layovers are annoying, but the extra time doesn’t mean you have to confine yourself to the airport’s duty-free shops. It may only be three hours, but consider this your vacation bonus to see Minneapolis.

First Hour: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has the quick and easy Light Rail Transit trains, an airport shuttles that whisks passengers from terminals 1 and 2 to 17 destinations, including the Warehouse District to the north in 25 minutes and the Mall of the America to the south in 12 minutes; trains leave every 10 to 15 minutes. The remaining two hours gives you plenty of time to get a flavor of Minneapolis.

Travelers with three hours to kill should choose to spend their time either inat the Warehouse District or the Mall of America and not attempt to do both as they are in opposite directions.

Option 1: Warehouse District

Second and Third Hours: The historic Warehouse District is a cluster of restaurants, bars, and shops adjacent to Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. Try 112 Eatery, the venture of husband-and-wife team Isaac Becker (named Best Chef: Midwest by Tthe James Beard Foundation) and Nancy St. Pierre —that it's a favorite hangout of locals chefs who come for the inexpensive yet impeccable eats.

Option 2: Mall of America

Second and Third Hours: It would take 86 hours to shop in each one of Mall of America’s 520 shops if savvy shoppers spent just 10 minutes in each. Add the fact that there is no sales tax on clothing in Minnesota and the Mall of America is a traveling fashionista’s dream getaway.

If you’re traveling with kids in town, Nickelodeon Universe, in the center of the mall, has seven acres of attractions and entertainment, including 25 rides and character meet-and-greets. The SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, with 10,000 sea creatures, including sharks, sea turtles, rays, jellyfish, and seahorses, is also worth a visit. Exhibits include a 300-foot Ocean Tunnel where visitors can view sharks up-close, a quiz trail, touch pools, and a play area. SCUBA-certified divers can also swim with the sharks, which would make for an excellent brag-worthy layover adventure.

Take more 3-Hours Tours: 3-Hour Tour: Hong Kong.