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CHICAGO SHOPPING & DINING

You could live in Chicago ten years and still not get close to experiencing all the great restaurants in the city. With so many cultures and nationalities represented in Chicagoland, you can find just about any kind of food made the traditional way. Not only is Chicago home to the world’s largest food festival—the Taste of Chicago—but it’s also home to the biggest commercial office building: The Merchandise Mart. The Mart (as locals refer to it) occupies two entire city blocks and encompasses 4.2 million square feet. The Mart may be gigantic, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the Magnificent Mile—Chicago’s most popular shopping district along the famed Michigan Avenue. Shop, eat, relax and repeat!

SHOPPING AREAS

Magnificent Mile
Michigan Ave, North of the River in Downtown Chicago.
With four major shopping centers, world-renowned boutiques, famous designers, seasonal festivals and just about everything you can imagine to see, Chicago’s best known shopping area is always worth the visit.

Merchandise Mart
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago IL, 60654 800.677.6278
The Merchandise Mart is the world’s largest commercial building, largest wholesale design center and one of Chicago’s premier international business locations. Conveniently located on the Brown and Purple Line "El,", this shoppers paradise is a quick ride from nearly anywhere.

Oak Street
Between State and Michigan 888.909.5500
High end retail, amazing local artisans and unbelievable eats make this Gold Coast destination one of the Windy City’s treasured side street gems. Need a break from shopping? Oak Street has spas, theaters, yoga and more.

State Street
In the Loop, Downtown Chicago
When it opened in 1868, Marshall Field’s flagship department store changed the face of shopping in Chicago. Its location on State Street was an institution of sorts that Chicagoans hold dear to their hearts. Macy’s has taken over the 9-floor building, but it continues the traditions that Field’s started with elaborate holiday window displays and a giant decorated tree in the Walnut Room. The remainder of State Street is lined with several discount department stores and other trendy fashion retailers. Generally not as crowded as the Magnificent Mile, State Street is a welcome alternative to the shoulder-to-shoulder pedestrian traffic on North Michigan Avenue.

Skokie
125 Old Orchard Center, Skokie IL 847.674.7070
Locals know if you really need to get some quality shopping done, you go to Skokie. Head north up I-94 and check out Old Orchard Shopping Center for five-star shopping at a beautiful outdoor mall. Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Macy’s and all the best-known fashion retailers are in one place and in the open air.

RESTAURANTS

With more than 9,000 dining options to choose from in Chicago, you might want to narrow your search before stepping out to eat. Fortunately several web sites and newspapers offer regular reviews and directions to every type of cuisine, from traditional Ecuadorian to biker barbeque pits. If you are out for a show or a game there are usually plenty of places to grab a bite within walking distance of your eventual destination. And when you’re done, there are just as many bars and pubs to check out the nightlife and down a pint.