Over the past couple of years, I’ve visited some fantastic cities like London, New York, and Paris. A couple of weeks ago, I added Chicago to that list. I’ve been there before, but with my then nine-month-old son, so that trip was a blur of feeding and diaper-changing in my friend’s apartment. This time, I went with my husband, so we were able to spend more time eating and shopping in Chicago. If you’re planning a trip there, then I have some suggestions for what to pack, where to eat, and where to shop…

What To Pack For A Trip To Chicago

Here are my suggestions for a spring trip to Chicago:

  1. Pack plenty of wind resistant layers. As I was walking around in my wrap dress, I felt like the wind trying to undress me! (Thankfully, I was wearing a fitted slip underneath.)
  2. Unless you are staying at a luxury hotel or going to an upscale restaurant, Chicago is fairly casual. Wear comfortable shoes. I wore sneakers and wedge sandals.
  3. Take a water-resistant trench coat that you can wear over one or more layers.
  4. Pack a silk scarf is a nice way to add a little warmth or to protect your hair from the wind.
  5. Take travel-friendly pants that don’t take up a lot of space in your suitcase. You’ll want that space after you’re done shopping in Chicago!

What To Eat In Chicago

Our first treat was at the Girl And The Goat. They serve shareable small plates that incorporate several cultures and cooking styles. We had quinoa bread, chickpea fritters, and goat empanadas, some of their many unusual dishes. If you are planning to go, then make your reservation well in advance. Even though we called weeks in advance, we were only able to get a 4.45pm, Wednesday night reservation!

Eating And Shopping In Downtown Chicago: The Girl And The Goat

The Publican, which features international beer, heirloom pork, and sustainably sourced seafood, was also amazing. There, you might sit with a stranger at a communal table, right next to the open kitchen. Save room for the cream puffs that you can dip in cajeta, chocolate sauce, or cream anglaise.

Eating And Shopping In Downtown Chicago: The Publican's Cream Puffs

We also ate at Fontera Grill (if you’ve ever watched Rick Bayless, on PBS it’s one of his restaurants). You’ll want to try a whole bunch of appetizers and entrees there, so take a big crowd if you can. We loved the ceviche trio, the suadero ahumado (20-hour smoked beef) and the feature fish chiltomate.

Where to Shop

The best area for shopping in Chicago is the Magnificent Mile which is one glorious mile of quality stores. It includes department stores, designer boutiques, and off-price retailers (Nordstrom Rack, T.J. Maxx, and Marshall’s). What I really appreciated was that the stores were just the right size for a two day shopping trip, not overwhelming like a flagship store, and not uninspiring like our small town stores.

If you’re a bargain-hunter like me, you’ll have a lot of choices this weekend during the Memorial Day sales.

Nordstrom is having its Half Yearly Sale, so this is a great time to pick up that Staud Shirley handbag you’ve been waiting to buy (oh, wait, I might be talking about me!)

Saks Fifth Avenue has a 50% off sale for summer clothing, so if you’re looking for designer or contemporary clothing, check them out. This is the time of year that I buy styles I can’t usually afford at full prices like Rebecca Taylor’s silk blouses or bright new swimsuit from Alice + Olivia.

If you aren’t particular about having current season styles, you can get an extra 25% off clearance at Nordstrom Rack. You can stock up on winter accessories for next year at 70% off the original prices. If you hurry, you may be able to pick up some Balmain sunglasses that are 82% off the original prices.

Bloomingdales is having its Big Brown Bag sale and has a great selection of summer sandals for 40% off, plus an additional 20% on some styles. They started their sale two weeks ago, so I spent most of my time there. You’ll see what I bought, in some of my upcoming posts!

Other Tips For Shopping In Chicago

Since the stores are so close together, try to scan them all first to get an idea of what you’d like to buy. The sales are different at each store so you may find something on sale at one store, that is regularly priced at another.

I did visit some of the individual brand stores like Zara, Kate Spade, and Club Monaco, but since I only had two days, I preferred to get an overview of lots of different brands, than to focus on a few. Bloomingdales also offered me free shipping, so when I bought more than I could carry, I didn’t have to worry about it!

Are you ready for eating and shopping in Chicago? If you have any questions about my experience, leave me a comment below…

love, Nipa | fashionipa.com
Eating And Shopping In Chicago

13 thoughts on “Eating and Shopping In Chicago”

  1. Your post reminded me why they call Chicago the Windy City. I like concept of The Girl and the Goat. Small sharable plates what’s not to love about that? I will have to eat there.

    1. Apparently, it’s called the Windy City for political reasons, but I definitely felt the gusts! Nipa

    1. I found it to be the most user-friendly of all the cities I’ve visited lately. Small. Friendly. Easy to navigate. xo Npa

  2. I’ve heard great things about Girl & a Goat but have yet to go there! Adding it to my list for next time!

    1. Hi Jenna, Lucky you! I wish I had a relative in Chicago to give me an excuse to visit more often! xo Nipa

    1. Hi Tatyanna, I hope you make it there soon! The food really was amazing, and the prices were reasonable compared to other cities. xo Nipa

    1. Thank you, Ruth! I do enjoy looking for the perfect dress, especially one that can be styled in different ways. xo Nipa

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