Chicago shopping

Top Choice Food in Near North & Navy Pier

Garrett Popcorn

People form long lines outside this store on the Mag Mile. Granted, the caramel corn is heavenly and the cheese popcorn decadent, but is it worth waiting in the whipping snow for a chance to buy some? Actually, it i…
Top Choice Books in West Loop & Near West Side

Open Books

Buy a used book here and you’re helping to fund this volunteer-based literacy group’s programs, which range from in-school reading help for grade-schoolers to book-publishing courses for teens. The jam-packed store …
Top Choice Books in Lake View & Wrigleyville

Chicago Comics

This emporium is frequently cited as one of the nation's best comic-book stores. Old Marvel Superman back issues share shelf space with hand-drawn works by cutting-edge local artists such as Chris Ware, Ivan Brunett…
Top Choice Toys in Gold Coast

American Girl Place

This is not just a doll shop – it’s an experience. Kids can create a completely customized doll that looks just like them, and even buy matching outfits. The cafe seats the dolls as part of the family during tea ser…
Top Choice Gifts & Souvenirs in The Loop

Chicago Architecture Center Shop

Browse through skyline T-shirts and posters, Frank Lloyd Wright note cards, skyscraper models and heaps of books that celebrate local architecture at this haven for anyone with an edifice complex; a children's secti…
Top Choice Music in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

Reckless Records

Chicago’s best indie-rock record and CD emporium lets you listen to everything before you buy. There's plenty of elbow room in the big, sunny space, which makes for happy hunting through the new and used bins. DVDs …
Top Choice Chocolate in Logan Square & Humboldt Park

Katherine Anne Confections

Hot chocolate in unexpected flavors like tea and cookies and brown butter is the fan favorite at this shabby-chic boutique. While you await your elixir of choice, watch owner Katherine Duncan and her troop of hip ch…
Top Choice Books in Wicker Park, Bucktown & Ukrainian Village

Quimby's

The epicenter of Chicago’s comic and zine worlds, Quimby’s is one of the linchpins of underground literary culture in the city. Here you can find everything from crayon-powered punk-rock manifestos to slickly produc…
Top Choice Food & Drinks in Lincoln Square & Ravenswood

Gene's Sausage Shop

As if the hanging sausages, ripe cheeses and flaky pastries lining the shelves at this European market weren't enough, Gene's also rocks a rooftop summer beer garden. Sit at communal picnic tables and munch hot-off-…
Top Choice Books in Hyde Park & South Side

Seminary Co-op Bookstore

At awesomely academic Seminary Co-op, you might run into a Nobel laureate or three. Local scholars adore this place, where you'll find no less than eight versions of War and Peace. The shop sprawls through a sunny b…