A Design Lover's Travel Guide to Chicago in a Day

Photo of Kelsey Grace Pfeifer
31 October 2017

Sometimes trips are about a mission and not just seeing the sights or eating the food. Designers have a particular eye, so each city curates its own style that is as unique as the famed tourist spots. Chicago is a bustling design mecca, so if you only have a limited amount of time to explore, here are some shops that will blow your designer mind!

Haute Living

It it’s posh you’re looking for, Haute Living is the venue to hit up. Their furniture includes up-and-coming styles that many designers haven’t even considered yet. They carry all of the big names in contemporary style and even hold intimate gatherings with the world’s most renowned designers. This is the place where every velvet lover’s dream comes true, so take a moment and browse all the best that Chicago has to offer.

Two geometric shapes are combined to create the intriguing Laurel side table by @nichettostudio

A post shared by Haute Living (@hautelivingusa) on


There are few places in Chicago that provide the inspiration found at Luminaire. The space is filled with exciting new pieces and focuses on phenomenal lighting design. They pride themselves on impeccable customer service, so a visit is always memorable, and they will even help you transform your own space into a personal masterpiece.

Courtesy of Luminaire

Johnathan Adler

If you’re a designer aspiring to turn your clients’ homes into Instagram-famous sensations, then make sure to stop by Johnathan Adler. Not only do they have an other worldly selection of awesome furniture and accessories, but they also allow clients to customize with different fabrics and colors. Jonathan Adler is constantly on the edge of the newest trends and breaking the mold.

Courtesy of Johnathan Adler


Sure, there are Bloomingdale’s all over the U.S., but Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue location is second to none. It’s as much about the building as it is about what you’ll find inside, as the architecture reflects some of Chicago’s earliest influences. And, of course, the shopping is phenomenal, as well.

Michigan Avenue Bloomingdale’s | © Richie Diesterheft/Flickr

The Golden Triangle

For those looking to steer away from millennial pink and go back to the classics, be sure to stop by The Golden Triangle. This fanciful shop holds many European- and Asian-influenced pieces, so it’s perfect for the designer who loves the elegance of antiques without the stuffy feeling of an 1800s Victorian mansion. The art collections here are especially exquisite and will make a statement in any room.

Courtesy of The Golden Triangle

Merchandise Mart

There is no better place to end the perfect designer’s day in Chicago than at the Merchandise Mart. It’s basically Oz for anyone who loves sleek lines and curated color palettes. The Mart has everything from tile designers to window masters, so if you love design at all, you’ll be a kid in a candy shop. You might have to buy a new house just to renovate with all of The Mart’s amazing vendors.


For people with a perfect eye, there must be food to match! Wrap up your perfectly designed Chicago day with dinner at Alinea, where each dish is thoughtfully composed with the utmost elegance. The Michelin-starred Chicago staple is known for outrageously unique dishes that always look magazine ready.

Alinea | © Basheer Tome/Flickr

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