Chicago is full of world-class restaurants, renowned museums and scenic views, but it can cost you quite a bit to enjoy this city. Even a day at Chicago’s free-admission Lincoln Park Zoo comes with a hefty $35 charge for parking. And that doesn’t include the cost of refreshments for the kids.
Taking your entire family out to eat, or to the Shedd Aquarium can consume a large part of your trip budget. But there are bargains to be found in the Windy City – especially at clothing retailers.
Deals for adults
You expect a big American city to have some big American names in fashion, and Chicago meets and surpasses that expectation. Saks Off Fifth, with locations just north of Chicago in Northbrook and just northwest in Schaumburg, offers the name brands you’d expect for about half the normal retail price. At Nordstrom Rack, near the intersection of State and Washington Streets, just southwest of Navy Pier, you can score a $200 women’s business suit for less than $100.
Trendy finds for teens
Teens and tweens in your travel party will find their dream shopping experience at Gurnee Mills Outlet Mall in Gurnee, Ill. About 40 miles north of Chicago’s downtown, the North Chicago mall will be worth the trip for true shopaholics. The A & F Brands Factory Store features items from several popular youth stores, including Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister. Markdowns are steep, often half-price for many clothing options, while Abercrombie logo sweatshirts can be found for under $10.
Looks for little ones
Brand names probably don’t matter as much to your youngest kids, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress them in the stylish duds found in Chicago’s bargain shopping scene. Kid-geared discount shop Madison and Friends, located on Oak Street not far west of Lake Michigan, features brand-name youth clothing, including clothes for infants, at 30 to 90 percent off their regular retail prices.
Geared toward women looking for the most upscale clothing brands at a fraction of the cost, Designer Resale on Dearborn Avenue may be the jewel in Chicago’s bargain-shopping cap, and a most essential find for ultimate bargain-hunters. Prices at Designer Resale aren’t exactly cheap, but the bargains found within the store are substantial. Sharp-eyed shoppers may spot Prada and Jimmy Choo pumps for under $200, substantial savings from their typical price tags of $600 or more, and dresses by Burberry, Nicole Miller, and Badgley Mischka ring-in at fractions of their usual prices.
Whether you live within the city limits, or you’re just stopping in, there are plenty of things to do in Chicago. With all of the entertainment, nightlife and cultural destinations, shopping becomes almost an afterthought. But if you’re going to the Windy City, you’d be missing out on the total experience if you didn’t do some shopping while you’re there. You’ll find many more exciting shops and boutiques along Chicago’s streets, and they may have a great deal on something you’ve been looking for. But you’ll never know unless you go in and look.