Woodfield mall in Schaumburg (NW suburbs) is awesome, and has pretty much everything there; considered one of the best malls in the country. Oakbrook mall is a good one in the western suburbs. As for downtown, world-famous michigan avenue has it all, with the more high-end stores just off michigan on the north end on oak street, and at the 900 N. Michigan complex. Watertower place, which is also on North michigan avenue, is pretty much a waste IMO, as almost all the stores are redundant to the one's on michigan ave. itself. I guess it is good if you don't have much time, but not nearly as much selection as all of the stores are smaller. For thrift stores, check out the Belmont street area (a few blocks south of wrigley). Bottom line, if you are going to be around for only a few days, Michigan Ave. is probably the way to go. It is a lot of walking and very crowded, but it is always a good experience, as long as you don't get too overwhelmed. Woodfield mall area is my favorite, but it can also be quite overwhelming, as it is so spread out, and the mall itself is gigantic. In my experiences, you can find good deals both on Michigan ave. and in suburban malls.