The Merchandise Mart, Chicago

The Merchandise Mart, also known as TheMart, is a historic commercial complex built by Marshall Field & Co. in 1930. TheMart covers 4.2 million square feet of floor space, so it had been the largest building in the world until 1931. The building is a landmark of Chicago's architecture and one of the world's largest commercial buildings. It is a hub for trade and commerce and serves as a home to various businesses, showrooms, and offices.

The building has a unique history that dates back to the Great Depression, during which the Chicago River was also reversed to ease traffic congestion around the city. Today, it houses over 600 tenants from various industries, including architecture and design, technology, and fashion. The building is also home to theMART, a premier event space in the Midwest that hosts over 25 trade and consumer shows annually, as well as numerous corporate and social events.

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Why should you go?

  1. Architecture. The building's design is an attraction in itself, featuring Art Deco style with a massive interior that can hold over 20,000 people.
  2. Shopping. TheMart is a premier shopping destination for anyone interested in interior design, architecture, and fashion. The building's 25 floors are home to over 200 showrooms that offer the latest trends and innovations from all over the world.
  3. Event space. TheMART hosts a variety of trade and consumer shows throughout the year, such as the Chicago Auto Show, the National Restaurant Association Show, and the International Home + Housewares Show.
  4. Food and drinks. The building has numerous cafes, bars, and restaurants, offering visitors a wide range of food and drink options. You can enjoy a meal or drink with a stunning view of the Chicago River.
  5. History. The Merchandise Mart has a unique history that reflects the growth and development of Chicago during the 20th century. Take a tour of the building and learn about its origins and the role it played in Chicago's development.
  6. Art. The Mart has several art installations throughout the building and a collection of contemporary art from local and international artists.
  7. Location. The Mart is located in the heart of downtown Chicago, making it easily accessible by public transportation and within walking distance of other attractions such as the Chicago Riverwalk, the Magnificent Mile, and Millennium Park.
In summary, The Merchandise Mart is a must-visit destination in Chicago for anyone interested in architecture, design, fashion, and culture. With its unique history, stunning architecture, premier shopping, and event spaces, visitors will have an unforgettable experience that reflects the vibrant spirit of Chicago.

Best places to visit near the Merchandise Mart

The Merchandise Mart in Chicago is located in the heart of the city, surrounded by many popular attractions and destinations. Here are some of the best places to visit near it:

  • Chicago Riverwalk
This is a beautiful promenade along the Chicago River, with stunning views of the city skyline. It is just a few minutes' walk from The Merchandise Mart.

  • Millennium Park
This famous park is home to the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as "The Bean," as well as many other public artworks, gardens, and event spaces.

  • Art Institute of Chicago
Located a few blocks from the Merchandise Mart, this world-renowned museum has an impressive collection of art from all over the world, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.

  • Willis Tower
This iconic skyscraper is one of the tallest buildings in the United States and offers stunning views of the city from its observation deck.

  • Navy Pier
This historic pier offers a wide range of entertainment and attractions, including a Ferris wheel, a children's museum, and an IMAX theater.

  • Magnificent Mile
This upscale shopping district features a wide range of designer boutiques, department stores, and restaurants.

  • River North Gallery District
Many of Chicago's finest art galleries can be found in this neighborhood, displaying contemporary and modern art from all corners of the world.

  • Lincoln Park Zoo
This free zoo is home to hundreds of animals from around the world, including big cats, primates, and sea lions.

  • Wrigley Field
This historic baseball stadium is home to the Chicago Cubs and offers a great experience for sports fans. It is a short train ride from The Merchandise Mart.

  • Grant Park
This large park is home to many of Chicago's biggest events, including the Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza music festival.
  • 1
    What's the best way to see the Merchandise Mart?
    • Take a guided tour. The Merchandise Mart offers free guided tours every weekday at 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM. These tours last about an hour and provide an overview of the building's history, architecture, and tenants. You can also book a private tour if you have a group.

    • Attend an event. The Merchandise Mart hosts various events throughout the year, including art exhibits, trade shows, and festivals. Check their website to see what's happening during your visit.
  • 2

    Is the Merchandise Mart, Chicago, worth visiting with kids?
    One of the main reasons to visit the Merchandise Mart is to explore its architecture and design. The building is an Art Deco masterpiece and is considered one of the largest commercial buildings in the world. Children can appreciate the grandeur of the space and learn about the history of the building.

    Additionally, there are some shops and restaurants within the Merchandise Mart that could be of interest to children. For example, the FoodLife food court offers many dining options, including pizza, burgers, and tacos. There are also several toy stores and gift shops within the building that children may enjoy browsing.