Best Local: Chicago Shopping Gems

It’s Saturday. You’re lounging around your spacious, comfortable, fully furnished Habitat Corporate Suite wondering what to do with your day. You could spend it prepping for that big presentation coming up on Tuesday. Or you could go shopping. Which sounds like more fun? Shopping? That’s what we thought.

In the past ten years, Chicago has become an epicenter for innovative, fashion forward young designers. Our city even has a full week focusing on fashion (conveniently titled “Fashion Focus,” Oct. 17-Oct 23). But where do our local fashionistas’ shop? You can bet it’s not Nordstroms. There are hidden gems in every neighborhood, where locals go to buy unique pieces at affordable prices.

So forget about work for a day and shop like a Chicagoan. Here are a few of the most notable shopping neighborhoods, with popular stores from each. We also have an interactive map for easy transportation.

Bucktown/Wicker Park: Funky Cool

If you’re looking for vintage finds…Lenny and Me (1459 North Milwaukee Ave.) Vintage clothes are unique, and usually a bargain. Lenny and Me definitely does not disappoint the vintage-minded shopper. With merchandise organized by style and color, it is super easy to find something that you like. This store is not just for clothing, they also have vintage furniture. *Mention Corporate Suites Network and get 10% off your purchase!

Must See: This vintage sailor dress is one of the stand out yet everyday wearable items at Lenny and Me.

Get There

– From Presidential Towers: Take the 56 bus from from Jefferson & Lake towards the Jefferson Park Blue Line and get off at Milwaukee and Honore (travel time: 22 minutes

– From Columbus Plaza: Take the green line train from State/Lake towards Harlem. Transfer to the blue line at Clark/Lake, and take the blue line train towards O’Hare. Get off at Damen-O’Hare (travel time: 29 min.

– From The Chicagoan: Take the red line train from the Chicago-Red stop towards 95th. Get off at Monroe-Red and walk to Monroe-Blue. Get on the blue line towards O’Hare and get off at Damen-O’Hare (travel time: 31 min.)

Other Bucktown/Wicker Park stores to try: Ragstock, Buffalo Exchange, Kokorokoko

Southport: Boutique Street

If you’re looking to start a trend…Cerato Boutique (3451 N. Southport Avenue)
Southport specializes in small boutiques featuring fresh, new designers. If you want new items no one else will have, this is the place to go. Cerato Boutique is no different. It carries mostly local designers whose pieces are one of a kind.  As a result, you can find statement items in here that only a handful of people in Chicago will have. Cool fact: Chicago designer Kristin Hassan has chosen to only sell her collection here. This is a new hot designer, and this is where you get her stuff!

Must See: Snag one of Kristin Hassan’s colorful ruffled dresses to spice up your fall and winter wardrobe. Check out some of her line here.

Other Southport Stores to Try: Anthropologie, Perchance Boutique, Francesca’s

Get There

– From…Presidential Towers: Walk to Washington/Wells brown line and take the train towards Kimball. Get off at the Southport brown line and walk to 3451 N. Southport (travel time: 40 minutes)

– From…Columbus Plaza: Take the State/Lake brown line towards Kimball, getting off at Southport. Walk to 3451 N. Southport. (travel time: 30 minutes)

– From…The Chicagoan: Take the Chicago red line towards Howard. At Belmont, transfer to the brown line towards Kimball. Get off at the Southport brown line and walk to 3451 N. Southport (travel time: 23 minutes).

Lincoln Park: Classy Hip

If you’re classic and conservative, yet trendy…MOI Boutique. (2050 North Halsted St.) MOI  features fashion for those who like to dress on the more conservative, classic side with a trendy twist. Pieces from this store can be worn to work and then easily transformed into cocktail attire. A little more expensive than the previously mentioned stores, it’s comparable to the styles of designers Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors, but way more affordable.

Must See:  Their featured pleated shoulder coat is the perfect fall to winter jacket. And super fashionable.

Other Lincoln Park stores to try: Mint Julep, B Boutique, Viktoria’s Closet

Get There

-From…Presidential Towers: Take the 8 bus from Halsted & Madison towards Waveland/Broadway and get off at Halsted & Dickens (travel time: 24 min.)

– From…Columbus Plaza: Take the brown line train from State/Lake towards Kimball and get off at Armitage (travel time: 28 min.)

– From…The Chicagoan: Take the red line at the Chicago-Red station towards Howard and get off at North/Clybourn (travel time: 22 min.)

Michigan Avenue: The Best of the Best 

If you’re ready to spend…TopShop. (830 North Michigan Ave.) Before the Chicago location arrived just a few weeks ago, TopShop only had a U.S. flagship store in New York.  You don’t have to be British to admire this gem of a store. TopShop has a sort of rocker vibe, with styles that are definitely fashion-forward.  For more fashion tips, they also has a great blog that you can check out online. Side note: Much of TopShop’s designs are inspired by the wardrobe of model Kate Moss. Check out a video of how the collaboration works here.

Must See: Their skinny, colorful corduroy pants are a must have for fall — both warm and fashionable.

Other Magnificent Mile stores to try: Allsaints Spitalfield, Artizia, Marlowe

Get There

– From…Presidential Towers: Take the 151 bus from Canal & Jackson towards Belmont/Halsted and get off at Michigan & Chestnut (travel time: 30 min.)

– From…Columbus Plaza: Take the 3 bus from Michigan & E. Wacker towards Michigan/Chicago and get off at Michigan & Chicago (travel time: 12 min.)

– From…The Chicagoan: Walk east on E. Huron St. towards N. Michigan Ave. Turn left on N. Michigan, and destination will be on the left (travel time: 5 min.)

If you’re on the North Shore… (Residents at the Grove, Lincoln Meadows, Forest Pointe) Old Orchard (4999 Old Orchard Center, Skokie, Ill.) It is easy to go to Old Orchard and spend the entire day there. That’s because Old Orchard not only has a fabulous slew of well-known stores (Akira, Banana Republic, Guess, Brooks Brothers, etc.) and smaller boutiques, but it also has movie theatres and restaurants. Check out Wilde & Green, the newest restaurant + natural market to hit Old Orchard.

Must See: The L’Occitane store offers top of the line French skin care and fragrance, 100% natural and organic. Their Angelica Hydration Cream does amazing things for your skin in winter.

Get There

– From… Residences at the Grove: Driving- About 42 minutes via I-294 North.

– From…Lincoln Meadows: Driving: About 38 minutes via I-90 East.

– From…Forest Pointe: Driving: Around 28 minutes via US-41 South. Metra: About 1 hour. Drive/Taxi to Lake Bluff Metra. Take train towards Chicago OTC, getting off at the Central Street Metra. Take the Central Street & Broadway bus towards Old Orchard. Get off at Old Orchard Road and Skokie Boulevard.