Friday, October 3, 2008

Magnificent Mile highlights

The shopping scene on a famed stretch of Michigan Avenue in Chicago ranks up there with Fifth Avenue in New York or Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

The Magnificent Mile might as well be the roll call for major retailers: Brooks Brothers, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Polo Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue. If you were in the market for a new wardrobe, you need not walk far to get it done. If you have cash, be strong enough to carry.

And of course, where there is upscale retail, the bargain hunting hotbeds aren't far behind. A few blocks west of the Michigan Avenue is State Street, where the likes of Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Filene's Basement and the former Marshall Fields (now Macy's) are located. In fact, I very nearly bought a pair of Ecco's at Nordstrom Rack for half price, but had to catch a hotel shuttle to the airport.

The only drawback to shopping in Chicago is its 10.25 percent sales tax. However, if you are an out-of-towner, some stores can ship your goods to your house for a $15 shipping fee, which could be less than the sales tax on your purchases in the store.

If you venture outside of downtown Chicago and take the Brown Line north to Armitage Street, you'll find the Ralph Lauren Rugby store, which offers cool preppy attire. I purchased a vest and a pair of striped socks, which do not fall down. The store even sells leather and rubber rugby balls. Down the street on Armitage is Kiehl's, where I picked up a bottle of pre-shave oil. The service is most friendly at both establishments. I'll likely return to this street on my next visit.

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