Illinois — Shopping and Leisure
Chicago is one of America’s original luxury shopping hubs, serving the nation’s wealthy and fashionable well before Beverly Hills or Manhattan became chic. The world’s great luxury brands are all here, mainly along Oak Street and Michigan Avenue aka the famed “Mag Mile.” There is also a thriving scene of independent boutiques, home décor, and other interesting stores to explore. Wicker Park and River North are fun neighborhoods to browse, while The Loop and State Street are home to some of the country’s very first major department stores.
Outlet malls are a big thing in Illinois, even well outside the metropolis of Chicago. The Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora are very popular to save some Benjamin’s with 120 stores to check out. Gurnee Mills is also a good destination, with more than 200 brand name retailers on site. Smaller venues like the Prime Outlets at Huntley and the Tanger Outlet Center at Tuscola ensure bargain shopping in almost every corner of Illinois.
Like many regions of the American Midwest, Illinois’ small towns are often fantastic places to hunt for antiques. Rent a car and cruise one of the scenic byways to towns like Galena’s Antique Mall with its 50 vendors under one roof or Fairview Heights’ St Clair Antique Mall where 200 dealers showcase their wares. On Sundays from spring through fall, the Sandwich Fairgrounds in the little town of Sandwich hosts a major antiquing fair with 500 vendors. There are also cool flea markets like the huge Kane County Flea Market in St Charles on the first Sunday of each month where haggling over prices is often part of the game.