When Macy's took over Marshall Field's -- Chicago's best-known "hometown" department store -- in 2006, there was much local hand-wringing about what the buyout meant for Field's grand State Street headquarters. Although Field's iconic green awnings and shopping bags have been replaced by Macy's more dreary black, the good news is that the store itself remains impressive, a testament to the days when shopping downtown was an eagerly anticipated event rather than a chore. This block-long store is second in size only to Macy's New York City flagship, and its impressive breadth of merchandise and historically significant interior make it a must-see for serious shoppers. A number of exclusive "miniboutiques" are scattered throughout the overwhelming space, including the 28 Shop, which stocks the latest from hot young designers; beauty stations where you can get a manicure and pick up exclusive products; and a gourmet food department developed by celebrity chef Charlie Trotter. The enormous shoe department is another highlight, with everything from killer high heels (at killer prices) and boots to sneakers and casual sandals.
If you're interested in the history of the store itself, you can download an audio tour from the website www.visitmacyschicago.com before your trip (you can also print out discount coupons to use while you're here).
The Water Tower store, 835 N. Michigan Ave. (tel. 312/335-7700), is a scaled-down but respectable version of the State Street store. Its eight floors are actually much more manageable than the enormous flagship, and its merchandise selection is still vast (although this branch tends to focus on the more expensive brands).
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2009
- Very Highly Recommended 2010