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Chicago - Things to buy

Whatever you need, you can buy it in Chicago, on a budget or in luxury.

The most famous shopping street in Chicago is a stretch of Michigan Avenue known as The Magnificent Mile, in the Chicago/Near North|Near North area. It includes many designer boutiques, and several multi-story malls anchored by large department stores like 900 N Michigan and Water Tower Place. Additional brands are available from off-strip shops to the south and west of Michigan.

State Street used to be a great street for department stores in the Chicago/Loop|Loop, but it's now a shadow of its former self, with Carson Pirie Scott's landmark Louis Sullivan-designed building closed, and invading forces from New York City|New York holding the former Marshall Field's building hostage under the name Macy's. Discounts can still be found at places like Filene's Basement, though.

For a classic Chicago souvenir, pick up a box of Frango Mints, much-loved mint chocolates that were originally offered by Marshall Field's and are still available at Macy's stores. Although no longer made in the thirteenth-floor kitchen of the State Street store, the original recipe appears to still be in use, which pleases the loyal crowds fond of the flavor — and too bad for anyone looking to avoid trans-fats.

However, for a more unique shopping experience, check out the fun, eclectic stores in Chicago/North Lincoln|Lincoln Square, or the cutting-edge shops in Chicago/Logan-Bucktown|Bucktown and Chicago/Wicker Park|Wicker Park, which is also the place to go for music fiends — although there are also key vinyl drops in other parts of the city as well. Southport in Chicago/Lakeview-North Center|Lakeview and Armitage in Chicago/Lincoln Park-Old Town|Lincoln Park also have browser-friendly fashion boutiques.

For art or designer home goods, River North is the place to go. Centered between the Merchandise Mart and the Chicago Avenue Brown Line "L" stop in the Chicago/Near North|Near North, River North's gallery district boasts the largest arts and design district in North America outside of Manhattan. The entire area is walkable and makes for fun window-shopping.

If you are the type that loves to browse through independent bookstores, Chicago/Hyde Park#Buy|Hyde Park has a stunning assortment of dusty used bookstores selling beat-up-paperbacks to rare 17th century originals, and the world's largest academic bookstore. Printer's Row in the Chicago/Near South|Near South is also a great stop for book lovers.
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