One of Chicago’s wealthiest suburbs, Lake Forest offers upscale shopping opportunities in quaint Market Square. Gable-roofed, Tudor-style storefronts circle a clock tower across from the Metra train station. A former Marshall Field’s department store (Field was a Lake Forest resident years ago) anchors the vibrant square designed by Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in the early 1900s.
Some of these stores have been in business for more than 70 years, including the Lake Forest Dress Shop and Lake Forest Bookstore. The approximately six-block walkable commercial area holds a wide variety of independent specialty shops for hours of browsing. The Perfect Setting is a popular tabletop decor store known for its creative hostess gifts, designer linens, china and crystal. Global fair-trade shop Mustard Seed sells artisan-made textiles, toys, clothing and jewelry. Refuel with lunch at the historic Deer Path Inn (the only downtown hotel), or enjoy coffee and a sweet treat at Gerhard’s Elegant European Desserts.
It’s easy to spend a full day in Lake Forest, but keep a close eye on the time because many lots limit public parking to three hours. And don’t leave town without driving along the lakefront bluffs to glimpse the majestic mansions behind fences.