Chic on a Shoestring Decorating: Shopping Chi-town Magnificent Mile aka: Michigan Avenue

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Shopping Chi-town Magnificent Mile aka: Michigan Avenue

I escaped on a 24 hour getaway last week with my hubby to Chicago. He had to go for business so this meant free swanky hotel, free transportation and lots of alone time for me... SCORE! :)

I LOVE my kids and hubby more than anything but every mom knows (hopefully!) how important it is to have some me time. Usually mine is grabbed in the bathroom in 5 minute increments with random screams coming from outside the door and someone inevitably yelling "MOOoooomm!" after the 2 minute mark. I needed a quick getaway. :)

We live within day-trip driving distance to Chicago so sometimes I take for granted what a cool city it is. While I was there it dawned on me that not everyone has visited and it might make a cool blog post... DUH.

Many of you may have heard of the Magnificent Mile (especially you Oprah fans) but if not, here is a little bit of info from Wikipedia about the "Mag Mile",
"Today, The Magnificent Mile® contains a mixture of upscale department stores, restaurants, luxury retailers, residential and commercial buildings, financial services companies and hotels, and caters primarily to tourists and the affluent. The area also has a high concentration of the city's major media firms, such as the Chicago Tribune newspaper, and advertising agencies. The Magnificent Mile includes 3,100,000 sq ft (288,000 m2) of retail space, 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 51 hotels, and a host of sightseeing and entertainment attractions to more than 22 million visitors annually.[11] The American Planning Association selected The Magnificent Mile as one of the 10 Great Streets for 2007 through its Great Places in America program.[12] In recent years, The Magnificent Mile has added trees and flower-filled medians to reflect the changing seasons.

Many of the world's leading retail stores populate The Magnificent Mile, including department stores such as Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, and Macy's. In addition, some of the finest luxury boutiques such as Cartier, Escada, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chanel, Max Mara, Vera Wang, Jimmy Choo, Georg Jensen, Harry Winston, Yves Saint Laurent, Tory Burch, St. John, Loro Piana, Jil Sander, Givenchy, Aritzia, Stuart Weitzman, Prada, Paul Stuart, Betsey Johnson, Montblanc, Anne Fontaine, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Bottega Veneta, Herm├Ęs, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Cole Haan, Charles David, Giorgio Armani, Kenneth Cole, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ermenegildo Zegna, Burberry, Hugo Boss, La Perla, Agent Provocateur, Dennis Basso, Piazza Sempione, Fratelli Rosseti, Hickey Freeman, Jil Sander, Henry Beguelin, Juicy Couture, Michael Kors, Bernadaud, Christofle, Arthur, Sermoneta, Manrico Cashmere, Marlowe, Graff Diamonds, David Yurman, Fogal, Wolford, Frette, Pratesi, Culti, Tiffany & Co., and Guess are located along The Magnificent Mile.[11] In fact, in its book The 10 Best of Everything: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers, the National Geographic named The Magnificent Mile along with Rodeo Drive and Fifth Avenue as one of the ten best shopping avenues in the world.[13]"

Piazza Sempione, Fratelli Rosseti, Hickey Freeman... Hickey who?!?  Some of the stores on Michigan Avenue are SO fancy that I've never even heard of them!  There are lots of other stores that I have heard of but most, unfortunately, are not really on the ol' Chic on a Shoestring budget.  Boooooo. 

However, don't let those fancy names scare you away.   It is SO fun to window shop these stores for inspiration and there are several shops that are reasonable if you can find a sale (J.Crew, Banana Republic, Crate & Barrell, GAP and my personal favorite- Marshall's)

It's also kinda fun to go in some of the real swanky places and pretend like you might be able to afford to buy something besides a sterling silver heart bracelet that was really popular 10 years ago at Tiffany's. ;)

                                                       Fancy-pants Tiffany & Co.

More affordable J.Crew upstairs from super pricey Gucci...

4 Story Crate & Barrel = FUN

The Lux Cafe is an awesome yet not too expensive restaurant that kind of reminds me of the Cheesecake Factory.  They hid Marshall's in a basement right by here... apparently it's not swanky enough to be a store front on Michigan Ave.! lol :)

To my dismay, one of my Michigan Ave. favorites, a beautiful and huge Pottery Barn store, closed. Sigh... :( 

Because I'm cheap thrifty I did most of my shopping at a huge TJ Maxx on State Street.  It has a Filean's Closet in the basement for even more bargain shopping.  I got some Seven For All Mankind clearance jeans($29!!) and shoes to list on eBay and hopefully quadruple my money.  Didn't find any decor unfortunately.

I also got some King sheets for our new bed at the old Marshall Fields flagship store which is now Macy's.  I hadn't been there in a long time and forgot how huge it is... 10 floors that are each the size of a department store.  I found some sheets 75% off plus 15% off so paid $16 for king sheets and they're not even scratchy! 

If in Chicago you should MUST get some Garrett's Popcorn.  They are known for their famous "Chicago Mix" which is carmel corn and cheese popcorn served together in the same bag, sounds weird but trust me, it is addictive!  We get it every time we go to the city.  I bought some and my hubby bought some without knowing that I had already bought some and then he got some more in a gift package he received from his conference.  We had a TON of popcorn and had no problem devouring all of it.  :) 

As you can see the popcorn is almost gone!

I can't write a post about the Magnificent Mile without mentioning the fabulous architecture of Chicago.  I've been there so many times but I always find myself amazed by it's beauty.  We've taken a few architecture tours... one on a boat on the Chicago River, the other on a bus through town, both good but I highly recommend the boat tours. 

Me and my hubby overlooking the Chicago River and Michigan Avenue/Mag Mile.  The brightly lit white building behind us is the Wrigley building, one of my faves! 

The city and river are breathtaking at night!

Awesome architecture of the Tribune Building entrance.

Although I didn't go this time, Navy Pier is a must see for a Chicago visit, we were able to see the fireworks
on the pier from downtown.

Of course it wouldn't be a trip to Chicago without hitting a Home Goods in the suburbs on the way home but that's a whole 'nother post. ;) 

I hope you enjoyed my quick tour of Chicago's Magnificent Mile.  What's your favorite big city to shop in??

*Daylight pictures courtesy of Wikipedia, all others are mine! :)


  1. My brother lived in Chicago for 2 years, and I was never able to make it out to visit him there. I'm still kicking myself! He still lives only an hour and a half drive away. I should still try to make it...right? I DIED over that Garrett's popcorn. He brought me some and insisted that I eat the two flavors together. I'm pretty sure I said "gross" out loud. But I tried it...and...the bag was gone in a matter of minutes. In fact, I need some right this second. Now I really have to go visit!

    (such fun pictures. I really want to go shopping there...)

  2. Wow! Thanks for the tour! I've always wanted to go to Chicago! It's a good distance from me here in Arkansas so maybe someday soon I'll venture out!!

  3. My husband and I went to Chicago last October and I LOOOOOOOVED it!! I think we ate at the Grand Lux twice :) We also did a boat tour, which I really enjoyed even though it was C-O-L-D. We spent a whole week there and didn't even come close to doing everything. I'd really like to go back one day! And sadly, most of my shopping consisted of window shopping since we flew there...couldn't get anything that wouldn't fit in my suitcase back home!

  4. Katie, so fun! Where did you stay and eat, I was thinking about bringing Brian there for his 30th birthday?

    You know, I have been thinking about starting a Home Goods or Marshall's one day in the old K's merchandise building...I just need investors because I don't have the money:-) We should do it together!

  5. Chicago is a great city. Glad you had a fun!

  6. Chicago's such a cool city! I've been there once when my wife and I had our honeymoon. Whenever we're on a vacation, my wife never forgets to go out and shop. It's her way of releasing her stress and finding some time for herself.


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