Best Chicago Indie Shops for Christmas Gifts in 2014

Ask almost anyone where to go shopping when you visit Chicago and you’ll likely be directed to the Magnificent Mile which does offer some great shopping if you’re in the market for national and international brands. However, if you want to get into the heart of Chicago’s retail scene, venture into Chicago’s neighborhoods where you’ll find loads of handmade and local finds that will make anyone on your Christmas shopping list thrilled to receive.

In the downtown area, head to the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Shop on Michigan Avenue where it will be easy to satisfy the architecture and design buffs on your list. Just a few blocks west of the Mag Mile is P.O.S.H. best known for its vintage and hotel silverware finds.

Heading north of downtown is fair trade shop Greenheart which features beautifully displayed handmade gifts from around the world. Not far from the Loop is Abbey Brown Soap Artisan with decadent bath and both products handmade on the premises.

If you have access to a car or don’t mind a 30-40 minute train ride north, check out Hazel in Ravenswood.

A little more off-the-beaten path yet totally worth the visit is REP CHI, a darling gift shop on the city's northwest side that features unique Chicago handmade gifts from price points as low as $5.

With so many great independent stores offering local and handmade items, it’s easy to find something special and unique for everyone on your Christmas list in Chicago.

Lincoln Park

Vinyl addicts will find Rotofugi a little slice of heaven with its diverse selection of vinyl figures. Since opening up shop in 2004, it has become one of the world's premier sellers of designer toys from artists all over the world including...  Read More

Ukranian Village

Paperish Mess is new to the retail scene as it recently celebrated its one year anniversary in Ukie Village but with so many fans of the gift shop/art gallery, it sounds like it has developed a cult following. Pieces by local artists, handmade...  Read More

Owner Nicole Northway is an artist by trade and created her space as a place where anyone, whether artistically inclined or not, could come and find gifts, jewelry and accessories from local artists. Prettily packaged scented candles and hand...  Read More

Interspersed within new pieces are vintage tableware sets from estate auctions and hotels that have long passed their glory days. But walking into P.O.S.H. isn't like walking into a thrift shop. Rather, it's like walking into a well-merchandised...  Read More

Wolfbait & BGirls carries the wares of more than 150 local designers which is pretty remarkable considering it's, maybe, 500 square feet of retail space? That's of little matter to those who crave local goods at reasonable prices including...  Read More

Shopping with a conscience is possible at Greenheart Shop, one of Chicago's fair trade stores located in charming Old Town. From jewelry to women's apparel, home accessories, toys as well as chocolate and coffee, expect to find high quality...  Read More

North Center

Hazel is the kind of place that although it's not huge (it's not small, either), you may spend more time than you think browsing because there are so many things here to see and it's so well merchandised. The owner handpicks everything from the...  Read More

Walk into Abbey Brown's quaint wood-framed storefront and you'll be greeted with the heavenly scents of the specialty soaps handmade right there on the premises. Using olive oil and infusing homegrown herbs and botanicals with pure essential...  Read More

Portage Park

The gift shop is tiny and it's easy to drive by since it's on busy Milwaukee Avenue on Chicago's northwest side but do yourself a favor and pull into that empty parking lot (free parking!). Inside, the place is loaded with handmade Chicago gifts...  Read More

Chicago Architecture Foundation Shop
Photo courtesy of Megy Karydes

Chicago is known for its architecture and there is no better place to find unique gifts that celebrate the city's buildings that the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Shop. Find books, clocks, watches, jewelry, scarves, home décor and apparel...  Read More


Meet Megy Karydes

Megy Karydes has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and most of her life in Chicago. While she’s traveled extensively internationally, visiting each of the 50 states is on her...  More About Megy

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