Online shopping has certainly slapped around the brick and mortar shopping experience and fashion snobs who only have high-end designer names emblazoned on their posteriors wouldn’t get caught in last year’s skinny jeans. Malls, and outlet mall, shopping ain’t dead yet, though, and even style personalities like Rachel Zoe are championing the finds at some mass market stores. Don your hunting hat, dust off the plastic and map out your next shopping adventure at these nearby outlet malls.
(Photo Credit: Fashion Outlets of Chicago's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Fashion Outlets of Chicago’s Facebook)

Fashion Outlets Of Chicago
5220 Fashion Outlets Way
Rosemont, IL 60018
(847) 928-7500

Fashion Outlets of Chicago is two levels, all indoors, packed with more than 130 outlets. The wide variety of retailers, from Tory Burch to Prada and Saks as well as plenty for the teenagers like Forever 21 — offer up to 75 percent off in savings. The center offers an indoor “smart” parking garage with digital signage at each level indicating how many open parking spaces are available. Kid-oriented stores are conveniently located in the same wing so you’re not dragging a tired, grumpy tot all over the mall and since it’s close to the airport,  travelers’ amenities include O’Hare flight boards, shopping bag checking and you can even print your boarding pass from Fashion Outlets of Chicago. Notice the contemporary art collection with nationally and internationally-known artists’ work in the common areas. There’s a good range of dining options, too, including a vegetarian eatery.

Chicago Premium Outlets
1650 Premium Outlets Boulevard
Aurora, IL 60502
(630) 585-2200

Parking can be a pain, especially on weekends, but shoppers overlook that irritant when they see the sales and value available at Chicago Premium Outlets. Don’t get all wild-eyed at the get-go — look for the actual word “outlet” in the store name or you could be crushing on an item that’s in a full price store. Hop online before the drive and sign up for the VIP Shopper Club, which gets you exclusive coupons from your favorite stores. Designer deals from Kate Spade, Coach and others can be significant, just don’t arrive hungry because the below par food court options might make that new pair of jeans a little too tight.

Related:  Best Kids Clothing Stores In Chicago

Gurnee Mills
6170 W. Grand Avenue
Gurnee, IL 60031

Open since 1991, Gurnee MIlls was one of the first in the Chicago area to lure spenders with the notion of outlet shopping from retailers like Macy’s, Buckle and Guess. It remains the largest in the state with more than 200 stores — it’s gargantuan, it’s tiring, wear comfortable shoes and have a plan. Go to the website to see which stores have having sales on the already reduced prices (for example, recently Neiman Marcus offered a “last call” with 75 percent off everything) as well as coupons for additional savings at specific stores. Sign up online to be a Mall Insider to get first info on retailer deals, too.

Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets
601 Wabash St.
Michigan City, IN 46360
(219) 879-6506

A stone’s throw from the far south side of Chicago, Lighthouse Place boasts 120 outlet stores and all of the expected retailers are there: Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach, Columbia Sportswear, DKNY, J.Crew, Nike, Polo and The North Face among the lot. For those living in Bridgeport, Pilsen, even the South Loop, this could make more sense than fighting traffic headed north or west to the other outlet malls. Another nice option is that the small towns near the mall, LaPorte, Michigan City and Union Pier, for example, have sweet B & B’s so you can make a weekend of it, coupled with visits to tasty local craft brewers. Michigan City is home to Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa, if you’re feeling lucky after landing some great retail deals.

Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlet
11211 120th Ave
Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
(262) 857-2101

Just over the border to the north, 90 outlet stores are waiting in the tiny burg near Kenosha which offers some other attractions if you want to entertain the kids (Jelly Belly Visitors Center and Dinosaur Discovery Museum) or enjoy Lake Michigan, Kenosha style. Don’t forget to check the in-store promotions online prior to the quick drive to get a bead on liquidations, BOGO’s, clearance sales and new stock at stores like J. Crew, Levi’s, Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers and heck, even Vitamin World, because you’ll need to keep up your strength if you continue shopping like this.

Related: Best Up And Coming Local Brands In Chicago

Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at