From the gigantic Mall of America – the largest shopping and entertainment centre in the US – to the stores on Chicago’s tree-lined Magnificent Mile, from outlet centres with terrific prices to hip shops with unique clothes, the Great Lakes states are a paradise for shoppers.
The Mall of America, with its 520 shops, is a major attraction for anyone visiting Minnesota. Located in suburban Bloomington only five minutes from Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport, the mall, where clothes and shoes are free of sales tax, includes familiar names such as Banana Republic, GAP and Nike as well as the likes of Hollister, Rockport and Victoria’s Secret and many, many more. There’s also an indoor theme park, an aquarium, cinemas, a huge variety of regular events and, next door, the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Farther afield, Albertville Premium Outlets, between Minneapolis and St Cloud, has 100 shops that offer savings of 25 to 65 per cent.
On the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois, there are four shopping centres, chic designer studios, intimate speciality shops, familiar department stores and lavish, luxury boutiques all within an easy stroll. Watch out, too, for fashion shows, celebrity appearances, culinary celebrations, in-store events and special offers during autumn’s Magnificient Mile Shopping Festival. Elsewhere in Chicago, Macy’s is located in the building formerly known as ‘Marshall Field’s’, said to be birthplace of the department store and one of Chicago’s finest architectural landmarks.
West of Chicago, Aurora is home to the 120 stores of Chicago Premium Outlets, with more savings on leading designers and name brands.
An original work of art, a rare antique or that great new outfit – make for Michigan and you’re sure to find it. Detroit has three main shopping areas – Greektown, with its collection of bakeries, markets, shops and nightclubs, New Center Place, which has a variety of shops and galleries, and the Riverfront Shops on the Detroit International RiverWalk . Another Premium Outlets, in Birch Run, north of Detroit, has 145 designer and name-brand outlet stores, while Fairlane Town Center is one of Michigan’s largest shopping centres, with more than 160 unique stores, restaurants and national retailers.
For festive shopping, the state is home to the world’s largest Christmas shop, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, in Frankenmuth, ‘Michigan’s Little Bavaria’, an hour’s drive north of Detroit.
Moving on to Ohio, downtown Columbus is full of shopping, restaurants and other attractions. The Short North Arts District offers everything from vintage clothing to the elegant and outrageous and also houses one of the best collections of art galleries between New York and Chicago. Columbus’s Easton Town Center attracts more than 21 million people a year because of its mix of stores – from Nordstrom and Macy’s to Coach, Apple and Crate&Barrel – and its open-air, pedestrian-friendly setting. In Aurora, Ohio, there’s designer shopping at Aurora Farms Premium Outlets, while more ‘traditional’ mall-style shopping is available at Crocker Park in Westlake, west of Cleveland.
Every July in Wisconsin, Madison’s annual Art Fair on the Square draws almost 200,000 people and features more than 500 artists from around the world exhibiting paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, jewellery, hand-made clothing and fine crafts. East of Madison, in the quaint village of Cambridge, Rowe Pottery, which began as a one-man potter’s studio, has been making museum-quality reproductions of early-American, salt-glaze crockery and jugs since 1975.
One of the largest malls in Wisconsin is in Appleton, south of Green Bay, where the Fox River Mall is, with 180 stores, the premier shopping centre in the Fox Cities (the cities, towns and villages along the Fox River).