Chicago shopping has it all. From big department stores and malls to unique shops and authentic food stores, there are plenty of places for retail therapy in the Windy City. It's not hard to find good stores in Chicago, as there are a bunch of alluring ones in seemingly every neighborhood, and more often than not, you're bound to stumble upon a few things even if you're not looking for them. The famed Magnificent Mile, which is home to an array of fashionable shops, is a good place to start your Chicago shopping adventure, and there's no telling how far you can take it from there.
Chicago shopping is convenient, as many of the best places to shop here are concentrated in an area that you can cover on foot. This area includes the Magnificent Mile, State Street, and a host of hip neighborhoods where the boutiques are king. The Magnificent Mile is an almost mile-long stretch of North Michigan Avenue where designer stores abound. Some of the finest Chicago shops are found on the Magnificent Mile, and you need a larger budget if you plan on picking up a lot of items in this area. Some of the stores along the Magnificent Mile are housed inside malls, and you'll do well to take a look at what they have to offer when you're not browsing the goods at the streetfront stores. The Magnificent Mile extends north of the Loop from the Chicago River up to Oak Street, which is another street that's home to an array of chic Chicago shops.
Once you cross over the Chicago River on the southern end of the Magnificent Mile, you will find yourself in the Loop proper, where State Street is among the top shopping avenues. State Street once held the title as the top Chicago shopping district, as it was here where the grandest of department stores opened, but now it's a more low-frills strip. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't head down for a look. The Macy's Department Store, which was once the Marshall Field's Department Store, definitely deserves a visit, especially during the holiday season. Dining under the Great Tree at the historic Walnut Room restaurant at Macy's is a seasonal treat that everyone in the group is bound to enjoy.
For those who have jewelry in mind, some of the best jewelry stores in Chicago are found downtown on Wabash Avenue. The strip known as Jeweler's Row in the heart of the Loop isn't overly impressive at first glance, but it's a good place to look for deals on a breathtaking gem. Self-guided tour maps of Jeweler's Row are available at 5 S. Wabash Avenue if you want to pick one up. Heading back north of the Loop, the neighborhoods of Old Town and Lincoln Park offer some unique Chicago shops you might consider visiting, and the string of stores along Belmont Avenue in Lakeview can also help if you've got the shopping bug. Don't forget the neighborhoods of Bucktown and Wicker Park as well when looking for unique stores in Chicago. Bucktown, in particular, is home to some inviting galleries, and in a city this full of art, hitting up a few galleries is always a good idea.
Whether you're looking to shop in downtown Chicago, or you want to head out into some of the neighborhoods to explore the options, you're bound to have a good time. South Side neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Pilsen, and Little Italy, for example, are great places to shop if you are interested in picking up authentic food products or interesting cultural goods. As for the Chicago shopping malls, some can be found downtown, while others are located in nearby suburbs, and they are fun places to shop if you are looking for stores in Chicago that are more identifiable.
There are a lot of free things to do in Chicago, such as visit the Lincoln Park Zoo or swim at one of the Chicago beaches, so setting aside money in your vacation budget for a few fun shopping experiences shouldn't be hard. The many fine Chicago shops strewn across the city are full of things that you are likely to want to take home with you, so bringing an empty suitcase with you on your vacation might be a good way to go.