Guest post by Shannon of

My daughter has been wanting an American Girl Doll since last year. For her 7th birthday we decided to travel to their store in Chicago to pick out her doll in person. It is not too far of a drive from our Detroit, MI home.

My husband and I discussed our game plan before leaving. We hoped to arrive in Chicago early enough on the first day to visit the store, check it out, and pick out her doll. Then the next day we would go back for lunch and pick out clothes and accessories. That would give her a chance to sleep on what she really wanted. I had heard that the store can be overwhelming.

American Girl Place Chicago Water Tower Place

When we arrived at our hotel, our room was not ready so we decided to walk over to the store right away. We stayed at the Embassy Suites Downtown/Lakefront and it is about 8 blocks away from the American Girl Store. We entered the back of the store through the Water Tower Place. If I had to redo it over again, we would have entered off of Michigan Avenue as it is a grander entrance to the store.

American Girl Chicago Window Display

She wanted the Girl of the Year McKenna. I had read reports and noticed on the website that various things were backordered and that definitely had me worried. Fortunately almost everything that we wanted was in stock. They even had some items that were not available on the website including McKenna’s accessories, her warm up outfit, and her cast and crutches. We got her starter collection and they arranged to have her practice wardrobe sent to our home when it is available. Interesting side note: we arrived later in the afternoon on Monday and they only had the McKenna’s slippers for girls for sale. When we went back on Tuesday morning they also had the pajamas for girls available. They did have McKenna’s loft bed on display on the sales floor, but not the beam and bar. Neither one was available for sale.

McKenna Display at American Girl Chicago

The woman checking us out on the first day really made getting McKenna special for my daughter. She asked her if she was her first doll and would she like her out of the box. Then she gave her some suggestions for using the box at home as a doll bed and decorating it with markers, just like she used to do when she was younger.

The next day we went back for lunch. I was very glad that I got reservations as it was a full setting. They seat at specific times, so check in early to check in and get your table number. At 12:30 they opened the doors and let everyone in. McKenna got a special seat to sit in and a cup and saucer. My daughter was slightly disappointed that she was not also served play food.

Lunch was a lot of fun and the Cafe is decorated adorably. Even the women’s bathroom is fancy! It seemed like all of the waitstaff was having fun with their jobs. Lunch was four courses with lots of choices for the main course.

American Girl store display spring 2012

After lunch we finished up our shopping and then headed back to the hotel to play with all of our new purchases. I think that a yearly visit to the store is probably in the cards for us now. It was also pretty neat seeing all of the girls carrying their dolls around Michigan Avenue. It was a real conversation starter with other kids and people at our hotel too.

Thanks for this great report, Shannon! It looks like you had a wonderful time and have many years of doll fun ahead of you!