For amazing shopping in Chicago, look no further than the stores on Michigan Avenue, aka The Magnificent Mile. Any store you can think of is represented on this historic Chicago shopping mile, from Apple to newcomer Zara. You could spend weeks perusing all Michigan Avenue has to offer and still not step foot in every store.
Magnificent Mile - Shopping on Michigan Avenue
While window shopping on The Magnificent Mile is an option, it's not the most fun. You’ve got to get your hands dirty and join the masses to check out all that these amazing stores on Michigan Avenue have to offer. These stores thrive on showing off so you know they’re only going to have the best displays and merchandise.
The department stores are the juggernauts of Michigan Avenue. Every department store center has a unique blend of chain stores and boutiques that will keep any shopper occupied.
Water Tower Place
You can’t miss Water Tower Place: the eight-story atrium houses retail bigwig Macy’s, along with 100 other retail stores, and is home to Chicago's American Girl Place, a one-stop doll paradise complete with cafe, doll hair salon, and all the doll clothing and accessories you could dream up.
Coach, Lacoste and Tumi are just a few of their high-end stores in Chicago's largest mall. But Water Tower Place is also a hotspot for bargain hunters. With stores like Wet Seal, Forever 21 and Claire’s Boutique you can get fashionable duds without depleting your bank account.
Be sure to stop and enjoy the water fountain as you travel up the escalator. For a quick bite visit Food Life on the Mezzanine level. This upscale food court has items from all corners and crevices of the globe and a unique charging system where you pay after you finish.
The 900 Shops
Bloomingdale's is the main tenant at The 900 Shops located on the North tip of the Magnificent Mile. This shopping haven has over 70 stores on Michigan Avenue spanning over 450,000 square feet and seven levels.
From Adidas to Yolanda Lorente The 900 Shops have it all and you can too with stores like UGG Australia, Michael Kors and Gucci.
They also have an impressive line-up for children and expecting mothers featuring Mini Me, Preggers and Galt Toys + Galt Baby.
The Shops at North Bridge
Nordstrom is the headliner at The Shops at North Bridge on the 500 block of Michigan Avenue. This Nordstrom is all about customer service and convenience, offering free bag and coat check, personal stylists and full spa open seven days a week.
This Nordstrom puts others to shame, filling its four floors with only the best merchandise and a shoe department to die for.
As far as other shops go there is no shortage of fabulous finds at The Shops at North Bridge. The frugal will love Swatch, Ann Taylor Loft and The Body Shop, while big spenders can take time browsing and buying at Louis Vuitton, Bose, Stuart Weitzman and the two-level Hugo Boss.
Magnificent Mile Chains
When it comes to prime real estate in America, Michigan Avenue is top tier. So it’s no surprise the sprawling street is home to some of the most exclusive luxury brands in the world.
The shops here typically lose money due to the staggering monthly rent but it’s all worth it to gain bragging rights to say you have a flagship store on the legendary Magnificent Mile.
For the best in computers and other gadgets The Apple Store is where you want to be. Their store on the Magnificent Mile has a genius bar for all your computer and iPod hang ups as well as comprehensive workshops and events.
Located in the lower level of the John Hancock Center, Best Buy is the place to go for all your entertainment needs. CDS, DVDS, TVs, Vacuum Cleaners, Washing Machines – Best Buy truly has it all. Newly opened in May 2009 this store is state of the art, so be sure to put it on your Magnificent Mile itinerary.
Products for the Home
To shop for home and hearth, Crate & Barrel is only appropriate. This massive store stands four stories tall and always features the coolest seasonal products that will give you the urge to revamp your kitchen every time you walk in the door.
For the Kids
No child’s visit to Chicago is complete without a trip to The Disney Store... in fact, expect a tantrum if you whisk by without going in. Even adults will love the store that is clamoring with characters from all their favorite childhood Disney movies.
Every girl’s dream world is without a doubt American Girl Place located in The Water Tower Place. This store is so expansive and impressively decorated, even dad will be amazed. Inside there is a bookstore, souvenir shop and mini-museum detailing the back stories of the dolls that each hail from a different era. For even more fun bring along your doll and take a visit to the photo studio, hair salon, doll hospital or ear piercing studio.
And for little boys? A trip to the brand-new Lego superstore located inside of the Water Tower Place mall. This store, opened in 2011, has every type of building-block set imaginable, plus a few stations to test the toy before you buy.
Magnificent Mile Luxury Brands
To shop in the lap of luxury, Michigan Avenue has all the upscale shopping you, and your credit card, can handle. Start off at the ever-glamorous Chanel Boutique which sells the latest designs from Karl Lagerfeld. This is the ultimate spot to nab a classic Chanel suit or pick up the latest accessories featuring those much-coveted interlaced C’s.
After Chanel, head to Burberry where London chic reigns. No fashionable wardrobe is complete without a Burberry trench coat for all those windy and rainy days Chicago is famous for. Burberry also produces amazing purses and garments whose designs continue to get more and more fashionable as time goes on.
When it comes to high end jewelry, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. are second to none. Feel free to enter, but Cartier is only for the wealthiest of travelers. They have a stunning collection of watches and diamonds, so even if it’s just to browse, every trip to Cartier is a welcome treat.
The two-story Tiffany’s is a bit more wallet friendly, featuring pieces for as low as $100. The second floor is home to their vase, bowl and glassware collections. A whole room on ground level is devoted to their engagement ring collection featuring every cut, color and style of ring a bride can dream of.
For the latest and greatest in handbags, jewelry, make-up, shoes, clothing and home décor, Neiman Marcus is the place to go. The only department store not housed in a shopping center, Neiman Marcus is known for amazing window displays and awesome seasonal sales.
At 700 North Michigan, Saks Fifth Avenue is the main attraction with seven floors of luxury goods to satiate even the savviest of fashion followers. The men and women’s stores are housed across the street from each other so relish this moment to shop in peace.
Another Magnificent Mile treat is the four-story Ralph Lauren store. Whether you’re in the market for a traditional polo shirt with an trademark horse or a four piece suit to die for, Ralph Lauren has you covered. In between shopping, a great lunch spot is RL, the popular in-store restaurant serves brunch, lunch and dinner in a classic Ralph Lauren atmosphere.
If you’re in the market for a handbag that will inspire envy in all who set eyes on it Louis Vuitton is your best bet. Here you can pick up a classic bag branded with those famous little LV’s or chose one of their kookier designs.
Magnificent Mile Budget Brands
One of the best things about shopping on Chicago's Magnificent Mile is that it spans such a breadth of retailers. Yes, you'll find plenty of high-end stores. But you'll also find affordable, trendsetting spots to fit every budget.
For the fashion forward who appreciate getting the most bang for their buck: head to H&M. This is the premier spot to find the trendiest of the trendy in jewelry, accessories and clothing. The clothing is so reasonably priced here, you can easily pick up a handful of outfits for $100 or less.
No shopping district is complete without the always-popular Gap. The three-story Michigan Avenue location houses not only Gap but GapBody, GapKids, babyGap, and GapMaternity. Gap is known for their classic wardrobe pieces and reasonable prices so for a comfy pair of jeans, t-shirt or sweater Gap is always a good decision.
If you want to avoid the mammoth price tags in the department stores' lingerie departments, head to Michigan Avenue’s massive Victoria’s Secret. Here you can pick up intimates for a romantic night or everyday pieces and sleepwear at a fraction of the price. Their sales associates are famous for their sheer number and knowledge about the store’s merchandise so take advantage and get a free consultation.
Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Bus Co. makes several stops along the Magnificent Mile.