Do you love amazing views? Do you love amazing architecture details? The next place you should visit is–surprise! Walgreens.
Walgreens recently moved 40 steps from its cramped quarters above the Billy Goat into the first and second floor of the landmark Wrigley Building next-door.
Despite challenges with the layout, the store is absolutely amazing to walk through.
Initially the entrance is overly subtle. You might even miss it walking by. No signed is attached to the outside of the building. Instead a Walgreens logo hangs in one front window, and a golden-painted “W” is displayed above the revolving doors on the side.
The lack of merchandise in the front store windows might lead one to believe there is nothing inside. But oh the beauties that are to behold inside on the second floor. You just have to get beyond the sparse entrance.
The layout of the store is really strange‚Äî-not just because I’m not used to it, but when you enter, your initial first thought is, “hmm, there’s really not that much at this Walgreens.” I guarantee you that tourists will walk into there and then walk right out, because they think that it’s just a dinky-nothing-there Walgreens. Walgreens works, because when you walk in, you see all the vast array of aisles. This particular Walgreens has nothing when you walk in.
Walking deeper into the store beyond the front registers you first encounter three or four sushi chefs were busy cranking out sushi creations. All these new Walgreens employees. It’s kinda crazy. It makes me concerned for this Walgreens location. I’m not sure that Walgreens will get more traffic to support all the additional employees. One kind Walgreens employee informed me that the old location got two shipments a day. This one is so busy it gets five shipments a day. They really want to make sure all their product is constantly restocked so people can rely on this location for their sun tan lotion and M&M fix.
Walking past the sushi aisle, you’ll get to the heart of what everyone wants at any Walgreens, the candy aisle. Unfortunately, one of the most important candies was missing. Dark chocolate peanut M&M’s. The regular chocolate peanut M&M’s was also out of stock. But they do have frozen yogurt machines with EIGHT flavors:
- French vanilla
- Triple chocolate
- Birthday cake
- Cookies n creme
- White chocolate mousse
- Sea salt caramel pretzel
- Tropical sorbet
- Strawberry sensations
Grab a frozen yogurt, then sit outside in Pioneer Court or by the river walk by Trump Tower.
Perhaps you want some beer, wine, or hard liquor. Hit up the “Beer Cave” with magical sliding doors. At first walking down the aisles, I didn’t realize the “Beer Cave” existed until suddenly doors opened up to a magical room full of beer, beer, and more beer. Did I remind you we are inside a Walgreens?
Perhaps you can appreciate the fine details of remodeling. Check out the embossed patterned wallpaper throughout the store. Much better than the white-wash job Target did in the history Carson Pirie Scott building.
Once you are done adoring wallpaper, you’ll encounter something more amazing on the second floor. Ride the escalators up and watch the architecture of the beautiful courtyard unfold. Views like this on the second floor of the Wrigley Building have never been seen before by the general public.
This second floor is reason enough itself to become a tourist attraction in Chicago. Have fun comparing the views outside the windows with the products being sold in the store.
The beauty products section just so happens to be facing the plaza by Trump Tower and the Chicago River. Beauty products next to the beautiful river plaza.
The north side of the second floor holds one of the greatest aisles in American store history. This uninterrupted aisle runs parallel to the Plaza of the Americas with its 45 country flags. Since this aisle is on the second floor, the large windows put 18 of the country flags with direct view. The bright colors of the flags complement the bright colors of the construction paper being sold in the aisle.
Walk further down the aisle and you get to the bright fun colors of gift bags next to the waving flags.
With Independence day coming up, the season aisle has American flags being sold. So fitting to see American flags inside the store with the assortment of country flags outside.
Walking down the seasonal aisle in Walgreens was always fun as an indicator for the time of year. Now the fun factor is ramped up in this greatest store aisle ever in America.
The aisle ends with the tourist section, extremely fitting that the view is out onto Michigan Avenue with tourists standing around looking at the street performers and beautiful architecture.
The views out every window are amazing to see the artistry of detail in the Wrigley Building. Ornate flowers rim every window. Every few windows you’ll catch phoenixes with fruit. Delight in the sight of infants holding pedestals. Or horses intertwined in flowers. This sort of terra cotta architectural detail just isn’t done anymore. All outside the tourist section in Walgreens.
While the location for the tourist section is a fantastic complement to the views outside the windows, I miss all the touristy trinkets right by check-out. The trinkets are buried on the 2nd floor in the corner. I guarantee you that by the end of the year those tourist trinkets will be lining the walls by the checkouts at the front door. GOTTA CAPTURE THOSE TOURISTS!
I rather liked the compact Walgreens in the previous location. I was much more urban in style, very efficient. This store is so immensely spread out, that it almost feels suburban in style. Thankfully the surrounding windows always put you back into context of the city.
Walk over to the condom aisle, and admire the beautiful view of the Wrigley Building architecture. To your left is an aisle display with colorful packages of condoms, to your right is a window displaying with beautiful French Renaissance details inspired by Seville’s Cathedral. Nowhere in the world can you get such a contrast of the world’s beauty and pleasures.
The most important thing this new did not have on my first visit was my favorite cashier, Pilar. I asked if she was still there, and she is. She has off today. Phew. That’s a relief. A Walgreens without Pilar would not be Walgreens.