Luxury shopping in Chicago isn’t restricted to one area. Sure, Michigan Avenue has several flagship brands that hotel concierges love to send their discerning guests to, but just off "The Magnificent Mile" - as the locals call the approximately one mile distance between Oak Street and the Chicago River - boutique shops line tony historic neighborhoods while giving shoppers a taste of Chicago’s character. Luxury shopping along Chicago's Magnificent Mile — Photo courtesy of The Magnificent Mile
Apple, Cole Haan, Vince, Ermenegildo Zegna, Giorgio Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo, Burberry, Cartier and Tiffany and Company all have homes on this one mile stretch. But nestled within towering skyscraper malls, you’ll find even more luxury shopping opportunities.
Water Tower Place and the 900 North Michigan Shops on one end of the strip count Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue among their anchors. Just south is Chicago Place, which includes Prada among its tenants.
On the southern part of The Mag Mile is The Shops at North Bridge, which includes a four-story Nordstrom with a first-floor shoe department larger than several of its neighbor boutiques combined. For a massage or facial, stop by The Peninsula Spa in The Peninsula Hotel just steps away from Michigan Avenue. Ralph Lauren Restaurant, located adjacent to the world’s largest Polo store, is known for its great location and equally great food selection. It is designed in its trademark designer’s look.
Among Chicago visitors, Lincoln Park may be best known for its zoo, but it’s a favorite shopping destination for locals because of its high-end boutiques and bohemian shops, as well as its dining.
Head to Armitage and Halsted Corridor to find independent shops as well as chains. Chicago native Cynthia Rowley features her trademark dresses and accessories at her namesake boutique, as does 1154 Lill Studio, where shoppers can customize their own handbags or choose one of the ready-made designs.
Denim lovers will appreciate Ralph Lauren’s more rugged brand, Rugby, as well as Lucky Brand. Stop by Kiehl’s for some of the best in all-natural skin and hair products.
Runway names like Jimmy Choo, Jil Sander, Paul Stuart, Vera Wang and Vince all consider Oak Street in Chicago, just west of Michigan Avenue, their address. Bridal boutiques Palazzo and Dimitra’s Bridal attract a clientele seeking a bridal dress like no other, while shops like Juicy Couture, The Denim Lounge and Scoop NYC appeal to those who value quality in their laid-back style aesthetic. Oak Street wares — Photo courtesy of Oak Street
Off the Beaten Path
The beauty of Chicago’s luxury shopping scene is that it’s not centrally located. Shops dot the landscape and often are hidden from tourist heels. Well, almost hidden.
On Huron Avenue, just steps away from Michigan Avenue, is Ikram Goldman’s lipstick red, celebrity-favorite ikram, with a hand-picked selection of American, European and Japanese designers including Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, Comme des Garçons, Jean Paul Gaultier, Junya Watanabe and Proenza Schouler.
Venture just a few more blocks west, into the River North Design District, and you’ll find yourself among high-end home furnishings throughout the area, including Hydrology, Sawbridge Studios and Maxalto. Behemoth Merchandise Mart still reigns supreme with its own equally impressive roster of luxury kitchen and bath showrooms.