Best places to shop for holidays gifts in Chicago

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.

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.

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

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

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

HoliDose Market
Photo courtesy of Photo by Jamie Bartosch

Mark your calendar and buy your tickets in advance for this one-day market (this year, it's on Dec. 11), which is the holiday version of the popular weekly Dose Market. HoliDose is packed with fun items from local entrepreneurs and small...  Read More

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

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

The Museum Shop of the Art Institute
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of The Museum Shop

A collection of art-inspired items, from wall art to stationery, is sold at this large gift shop inside the world famous Art Institute of Chicago. There are two shops, actually - one near the Michigan Avenue entrance of the museum, and one at...  Read More

Shopping on Michigan Avenue
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of City of Chicago

A two story American Girl Doll store? Or a chic Prada boutique? It's all here and more, along the mile-long shopping strip along Michigan Avenue known as "The Magnificent Mile." In the area between the Chicago River and Oak Street, there are...  Read More


Meet Jamie Bartosch

Jamie Bartosch is a lifelong Chicagoan who thinks her hometown is the greatest city in the world. She is an award-winning newspaper reporter, a freelance travel writer, and the mother of two great kids.