In the age of Amazon and free two-day shipping, it's rare to, you know, spend money in an actual shop, even as Chicago has tons of new stores opening every month. But there's something special about setting foot in your favorite department store that online shopping can't replace. Whether you're pining for the latest Stuart Weitzman boots from one of the city's best clothing stores, upgrading your espresso machine, or lunching with ladies, these department stores will never let you down.
Chicago's best department stores
The iconic clock at State and Washington, the Frango mints—yes, we know they’re not made here anymore—and the magnificent Tiffany dome you can see up close from the fifth floor are just a few of the attractions that make this department store, one of the largest in the world, a must-see. The selection here is so abundant it's overwhelming, offering everything from modestly priced pots and pans to high-end fashion. Holiday-themed window displays go up every November, and you can even take a guided group tour.
This department store’s reputation for service is well-earned. Throughout four floors of shopping fun, pleasant clerks are helpful without being pushy. Returns are always, without a doubt, hassle-free and there’s a shoe department the size of Montana selling every style, size and type of footwear you can imagaine. The varied selection storewide is sure to please everyone from high-maintenance designer divas to no-fuss grumpy gramps.
In the 900 North Michigan building, Bloomingdale's has everything you would expect from a big and notable department store, meaning a large makeup department, all styles and prices of women's dresses, an entire floor dedicated to trendy and pricey apparel for women, and a solid shoe department on the first floor. It may not be as big as Nordstrom's or as designer-friendly as Barneys, but Bloomie's shoe department is always a safe bet for great footwear too.
Professionals, fashion lovers and socialites head to this beautiful and luxurious department store for top designer and private label apparel, including clothing, jewelry, bags, shoes and accessories. On the top level you'll find an amazing gift shop with goodies for babies, hostesses and birthday pals, plus Fred's restaurant, a favorite spot for ladies who lunch.
Synonymous with all things chic, upscale and beautiful, Saks Fifth Avenue is the place to go to splurge on the latest designer collections. Christian Louboutin, Alexander Wang and Prada are among the many heavyweights housed here. The store on Michigan Avenue offers a specialty fur salon and a separate men’s store along with events like designer trunk shows and special appearances. Extend your shopping trip with brunch or a cocktail at Sophie's at Saks for the ultimate treat.
When on the hunt for major designer duds, Neiman Marcus is a great place to start. While it didn't gain a stuffy reputation without reason, we can still appreciate the well-curated upscale selection. Twenty-somethings in particular should note the Cusp department, which caters toward a younger crowd, with trendier, slightly less costly merch.
Occupying the iconic Medinah Temple, Bloomingdale’s Home and Furniture Store is both beautiful architecturally as well as useful for purchasing coveted items for your home. Carrying all types of bedding, towels and kitchenware, the home and furniture store is the place to browse and buy upscale home items.