The Merchandise Mart is massive, cavernous really. At 4 million square feet, it’s fairly easy for the casual passerby to lose themselves in this place. I don’t even know if I can write this article because I’m too fascinated with its enormous size to even talk about anything else intelligently right now. I mean, it had it’s own freakin’ zip code until 2008!
Now that I’ve got that out of my system, there are some excellent reasons to visit the Merch Mart this month. It all begins with their sample sales, but as usual here, I’m going to talk about food too (because food is awesome, let’s be real).
Here are 6 reasons to visit the Merchandise Mart this month:
1) The Casual Outdoor Furnishings Sample Sale
May 6th-8th 9 am – 5 pm
The first of the three events happening this month, the Casual Outdoor Furnishings Sample Sale is the real deal. What are you going to find here? There are 19 showrooms participating in the sample sale, and you’ll be able to get up to 75% off of, you guessed it, outdoor furnishings. To top it off, there’s free admission, and it’s open to the public, so if you just want to browse you’re free to do so.
2) Chicago Apparel & Accessories Sample Sale
May 7th-8th 9 am – 5 pm
Like the aforementioned sale, we have the Chicago Apparel & Accessories Sample Sale to back it up. There are 30 showrooms participating in this one, so it’s definitely a bit larger than the other. This one is cool because it includes apparel, handbags, jewelry, and children’s wear all priced at or below wholesale prices.
3) Chicago Apparel & Accessories Market
May 31st-June 2nd
Look familiar? It is. This is basically a much larger version of the sample sale in the form of the market. The Mart goes all out for this one, offering complimentary food & drink, but we’ll get to that part further down the list. This is the large trade show version of the smaller scale sample sale. Bet you can’t say that five times fast.
A word of caution, this one is open to trade only, so don’t plan on just showing up unless you’ve either got a good excuse or some kind of “in.”
4) You Can Do it All
Even when there’s nothing going on at the Mart, there’s something going on at the Mart. It’s not all showrooms and merchandise either. There are beauty shops, a food court, workout facility, a post office, and an entrance to the CTA. You can get your shoes shined, take a cooking class, purchase fabrics & home tiles, and even send a letter to a friend. And from what I hear, you’re able to walk around the trade only areas by simply asking, “Is it okay if I look around?” Don’t quote me on that one though.
5) Casual Fridays
Couldn’t get enough of the Outdoor Furnishings Sample Sale? That’s A-OK, as the Mart will be holding Casual Fridays, an inspiring outdoor furnishings shopping event that includes tropical drinks (and knowledgeable staff to help you out of course).
Casual Friday drinks aren’t even the tip of the iceberg. There’s a wine reception on May 31st from 3-5 pm on the 9th floor. There’s complimentary coffee and breakfast on the same day (and the following day, but that’s considered next month. Enjoy the bonus info).
As the people who work nearby will tell you, food is always a great reason to visit the Mart. There’s a Billy Goat Grill here, along with the Chopping Block, and Intelligentsia Coffee Bar – not to mention all of the chains, a convenience store, and some healthy options.