Chicago's Loop has been a shopper's paradise for more than a century and is anchored by State Street, located in the heart of downtown. Historic buildings line the iconic "Great Street," vibrant art installations add to the hustle-and-bustle atmosphere and shopping doesn't get much better with this variety of stores. Here luxury splurges are mixed in with bargain finds, and you can even stroll through a legendary store that is part retail mecca, part history museum.
MACY'S ON STATE STREET
Macy's on State Street is the second largest department store in the world, and you can happily spend a whole day exploring the eight floors filled with gorgeous apparel, accessories and home goods. Find an ever-changing array of items at many price levels, from brands known internationally to those by emerging designers, including many Chicagoans. Before you kick off your State Street shopping spree, download a voucher for a Visitors Savings Pass for 10% off on most purchases.
Don't miss the landmark building's eye-catching architectural features:
- the green Great Clocks known as the "Sentinels of State Street" – two massive, seven-ton timepieces that have been fixtures at the corners of Randolph and Washington streets
- the 5th floor Tiffany Ceiling, the largest unbroken example of Tiffany Favrile glass in the world, containing over 1.6 million pieces that shimmer in a mosaic of bright blues, gold and ivory
- the 3-tiered waterfall Burnham Fountain in the Atrium, designed by famed Chicago architect Daniel Burnham and known as "The Lost Fountain"
Among the favorites of Macy's annual events and traditions are the Spring Flower Show, Glamorama fashion show and holiday window displays and décor in the Walnut Room. Opened in 1907, this fine dining room still maintains the original Circassian Walnut paneling and Austrian chandeliers from its heyday so you can enjoy lunch and tea with the utmost style and comfort.
While the Walnut Room is the grande dame of dining, the 7th floor restaurant options are no less a destination. The "foodie" court Seven on State boasts upscale, fast food options as created by celebrated chefs Rick Bayless, Takashi Yagihashi and Marcus Samuelsson.
Another Chicago tradition, from the days before Macy's took over, recalls when this was the home to Marshall Field & Co. department store and their beloved Frango mints. The delectable bite-sized chocolates date back to 1918 and taking home a signature gift boxes filled with sweets is still a joy to this day.
Cross the street to Block 37 and you'll find an eclectic mix of retail stores and dining in a dazzling new five-story shopping mall. Browse shops like Michelle Tan, which features dress and casual wear by this Chicago-based designer, as well as favorite chain retailers like Anthropologie for vintage-inspired wardrobe pieces and home accents, PUMA for sporty shoes and outfits, Sephora for all your beauty needs and the colorful, kid-friendly Disney Store.
Don't let shopping get in the way of your sweet tooth – Magnolia Bakery offers up their beloved cupcakes and classic desserts here.
STATE STREET STORES
These two major shopping destinations may each take up a whole city block, but they aren't the only players in this retail corridor. Downtown Chicago shopping continues both north and south along State Street, roughly from Lake Street to Jackson Boulevard, with specialty shops that cater to all types.
If you're a trend-setter, keep up with the latest looks at Akira, American Apparel, Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters. Look fashionable without spending big bucks at Old Navy and H&M, or get designer labels at a discount at DSW, Nordstrom Rack, Burlington Coat Factory and T.J. Maxx.
Big hitters for fashion and sports fans are a two-level NEW ERA CHICAGO flagship and a HOUSE OF HOOPS by FootLocker, with everything from hats, sneakers, clothing and sporting goods.
For the best in luxe personal products and unique hostess gifts, Merz Apothecary, a family-owned Chicago business for over 135 years, offers an Old World approach with an outpost in the famed Palmer House Hilton Hotel stocked with hard-to-find perfumes and colognes, old-school shaving products, specialty bath soaps, fragrant candles, and more.
While you are there, venture beyond State to see what's in store along other Loop streets. A block east of State, in a stretch along Wabash Avenue known as the Historic Jewelers Row, distinguished shops with sparkling displays of diamonds and other gems make it the Midwest's largest jewelry district.
Get the inside scoop on where else to shop and what's new from our Chicago Like a Local shopping blog.