Closed for the holiday: Retailers shut down in Chicago for Thanksgiving ahead of Black Friday

Despite closed stores, many Chicago restaurants are open to welcome guests on the holiday
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Millions of Americans are used to the tradition of dipping out of the house on Thanksgiving to catch Black Friday deal, but this year that's not a choice with just about every retailer shut down in Chicago Thursday afternoon.

While some people think that's just fine, tourists are having a pretty uneventful day.

With not a shopping bag in sight, people are taking in their Thanksgiving holiday with a stroll down Michigan Avenue, but they don't have much to do.

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"I mean, for heaven's sake there are 365 days in the year, Thanksgiving, other holidays, other celebrations -- it's a good thing that they're closed," said Philip Burton.

Just about every retailer is shutdown nationwide, a trend that could become the norm going forward.

But even with the stores closed, companies, like Target, said they still need workers in on Thanksgiving evening to prepare for Black Friday shopping in the morning.

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Liam Nork, who is visiting from Connecticut, will have to wait for that after leaving the city empty handed Thursday.

"It's actually kind of upsetting because I'm here in Chicago with my girlfriend, and we want to go shopping but we're just walking around trying to find what's open," he said.

They join other tourists with the hope of trying to create a new holiday tradition.

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"We rode a train from South Bend to kind of walk around Chicago and see things, and maybe do a little window shopping, but we can't find hardly anything open," said Marty McIntosh.

That family at least walked away with a stomach full of Giordano's, which is one of many restaurants open for the holiday. In fact, restaurants are relieved to welcome customers back inside after a takeout-filled Thanksgiving last year.

"Ham sandwich at home last year," Burton joked.

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"Now we can really celebrate Thanksgiving because it's about being together," said Lulu Noguier, owner of Bistronomic.

Bistronomic is one of many restaurants serving a Thanksgiving spread, with 400 guests booking a reservation.

"It's always nice to be able to go someplace, and sit down and have somebody bring food to you," Burton said. "Especially on a day like this."
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