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5 Retail Corridors To Fulfill Your Holiday Shopping Needs

All across Chicago, retailers are feeling the season as they gear up to make the bulk of their annual sales. But trekking to State Street and Michigan Avenue can be a drag, especially when thousands of shoppers have the same idea.

Savvy shoppers can scratch items off their wish lists by staying close to home, in any of these five neighborhood retail districts.

1. Six Corners

Six Corners, Chicago
Six Corners' namesake intersection at Cicero and Milwaukee avenues and Irving Park Road.

A century ago, Six Corners was Chicago's largest commercial district outside of the Loop, and it is still anchored by a mix of national credit and independent retailers. The Marketplace at Six Corners is anchored by a Jewel-Osco and the last Sears department store in operation within the Chicago city limits. The surrounding area has seen new retailers open in the past year, and Six Corners benefits from being near the densely populated Jefferson Park and Portage Park, and the Kennedy expressway.

If there is a weakness in Six Corners it is uncertainty over if that Sears store will survive. Same-store sales declined 15% as the company struggles to regain liquidity. Experts believed Sears would not even make it to the holidays.

2. Andersonville

Clark Street, Andersonville, Chicago
Clark Street is Andersonville's main retail artery.

This North Side neighborhood, once home to Chicago's Swedish community, underwent a face-lift in the past 20 years. The Swedish influence is still felt but Andersonville's Clark Street and Foster Avenue became an epicenter of mom-and-pop and upscale retail, national credit chain restaurants and independent restaurants and bars.

But the density of restaurants in Andersonville may be unsustainable, and landlords continue to lean on hospitality as a way to fill empty storefronts. The independent businesses are also behind the curve competing with e-commerce.

3. Little Village

Little Village, Chicago
Little Village's 26th Street anchors the second-largest retail district in Chicago.

The largest commercial district outside of downtown is a cash cow for the city's coffers. Little Village generated $900M in sales in 2015, has an active business group in the Little Village Chamber of Commerce and is home to over 1,000 chain and independent businesses.

The drawbacks to shopping in Little Village? The two-mile stretch of 26th Street that is home to the shopping district can get very congested with traffic during peak shopping hours, and although the Pink Line "L" route serves the neighborhood, it is a lengthy walk from a station to Little Village.

4. Halsted Triangle

New City, Chicago
NewCity is at the epicenter of the Halsted Triangle.

Twenty years ago, the Halsted Triangle was home to factories and manufacturing plants. Not anymore. As manufacturing left the city, developers like Structured Development began repurposing old sites into a mix of retail and multifamily that serves Lincoln Park and Old Town residents. Developments like New City and Lincoln Park Centre are now among the highest trafficked retail districts on the North Side, and the Halsted Triangle benefits from expressway access and having the North/Clybourn Red Line subway station in the heart of the district.

But the traffic congestion is a major obstacle, even with amazing access to public transit, and may have been a contributing factor to New City retail starting slow out of the gate when it opened in 2015.

5. Ford City

Ford City Mall, Chicago
Ford City Mall serves Chicago and the southwest suburbs.

Shopping malls have scrambled to reinvent themselves and respond to the challenges of e-commerce as retail continues to bifurcate. Ford City Mall, in the Southwest Side West Lawn neighborhood, wiped the slate clean and reprogrammed the asset with a mix of retailers to serve the neighborhood's demographics.

One big drawback to Ford City is a lack of public transit options. CTA and Pace suburban buses serve the mall but the closest train or light rail is the Midway Airport Orange Line station, two miles away.