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Chicago has department stores a la Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Saks offering sprawling floors of inventory as well as plenty of independently owned shops stocking the uncommon while sporting a ton of heart and personality.
Visitors and locals adore shopping along the Magnificent Mile and Water Tower Place (as evidenced by the throngs no matter the weather) because, honestly, it's all there from Uniqlo to Tiffany, American Girl Place in Water Tower Place to an Amazon Pop-up Store in The Shops at North Bridge. You can stroll and window shop outdoors and pop into one of the indoor malls like 900 N. Michigan Shops for a breather from icy winds or thick-as-pea-soup humidity in the summer. Attracting tons of international tourists, Michigan Avenue is perfect for people watching, too. Those shopping according to Gywneth's goop, may want to take a turn just a tad west for Oak Street's couture and class.
Like many urban downtown areas, State Street had it's tacky era but we're gleeful to report that the Great Street is back teeming with with college students and their fave shops like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters. Macy's, ensconced in our beloved Marshall Field's building, is a testament to the rich history of American department stores, and don't miss Block 37 with its eclectic mix of retail and dining in a five-story shopping mall.
Chicagoans love their neighborhoods and the indie retailers lining Wicker Park, Bucktown, Andersonville, Edgewater, Lincoln Square and others. Take a water taxi to Chinatown for great eats and shops offering inexpensive imported treasures.
The suburbs beckon with an impressive designer outlet mall is in suburban Rosemont, next to O'Hare, and one of the largest indoor malls in the country, Woodfield Mall, lies just a little further northwest in suburban Schaumburg.