TheMart, as the Merchandise Mart is now called, is the world’s largest commercial building. Spanning two city blocks, the 1931 behemoth has its own zip code and gives most of its copious space to wholesale showrooms for home furnishing and design professionals. Many are on floors 6, 14, 15 and 16, if you want to browse. The first two floors are mall-like with eateries and clothing shops. At night, theMart becomes a psychedelic canvas for video art projected on the exterior.

The eye candy is called Art on theMart (, and it’s a very cool public light show done with 34 projectors set up along the Riverwalk. Times vary, but it happens for two hours sometime between 5pm and 9pm Wednesday through Sunday (except no show during January and February). The website has the schedule. The best views are from the Riverwalk.

Also outdoors on theMart’s river side is a collection of heads on poles that rise up like giant Pez dispensers. This is the Merchant’s Hall of Fame, and the creepy busts depict famous local retailers such as Marshall Field and Frank Woolworth.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Chicago attractions

1. Richard Norton Gallery

0.02 MILES

Located in theMart amid all the home design showrooms, this gallery specializes in colorful impressionist, modernist and historical Chicago-focused works…

2. Monument with Standing Beast

0.33 MILES

French sculptor Jean Dubuffet created this piece, which some call 'Snoopy in a Blender.' The 1984 white fiberglass work looks a little like inflated…

3. Marina City

0.35 MILES

The twin corncob towers of Marina City are an Instagram favorite for their futuristic, cartoony look. Bertrand Goldberg designed the 1964 high-rise, and…

4. Museum of Broadcast Communications

0.36 MILES

This museum of radio and TV nostalgia is pretty sparsely populated. But if you have a hankering to see old Bozo the Clown clips, or the camera that taped…

5. Art Works Projects

0.43 MILES

Art Works is a nonprofit organization that uses the arts to educate about human rights issues. The group's small office does double duty as a makeshift…

6. Picasso's Untitled

0.43 MILES

Pablo Picasso's abstract work, which everyone just calls 'the Picasso,' is the granddaddy of Chicago's public art. The artist was 82 when the work was…

7. Daley Plaza

0.43 MILES

Picasso's eye-popping untitled sculpture marks the heart of Daley Plaza, which is the place to be come lunchtime, particularly when the weather warms up…

8. Miró's Chicago

0.46 MILES

Joan Miró’s 1981 work The Sun, the Moon and One Star, known now as Miró’s Chicago, sits across the street from Daley Plaza. Miró hoped to evoke the …